Commercial and Literary Fiction – Where Does Your Novel Sit?

How would you describe your novel? What genre is it? And would you class it under commercial or literary fiction?

I have been contacting publishers of late for my second novel. A rather time-consuming process where some publishers can take anywhere from 6 months to a year to look at the manuscript. Now, I consider all this part of the process of writing.

In one submission I was asked an important question that for some reason I hadn’t really thought about before (and something I probably should have…) – Is the novel commercial or literary fiction? I class the genre I write in as psychological thriller; however, genres can fit into one or the other, or in some cases both (rarely).

What is the difference between commercial and literary fiction? The main answer is one is plot-driven, focusing on fast-paced action scenes, twists and turns, with strong characters interwoven with the strong plot.

The other is more about meaningful connections with the characters – focusing on their motivations, dreams and desires. The plot requires a bit of digging to get to the actual crux of the story.

It is an interesting question that forces the author to really focus on the kind of audience they want to attract. Ironically, whether it is a rejection or not, this submission has helped me as an author fine-tune where my novel sits. 🙂

For the further breakdown of literary and commercial fiction, you can check out this link:

The Annabella Cordova series fits pretty well into commercial fiction. It is a clearly defined world, the main character undergoes trials resulting both in success and failures, a distinctive plot that incorporates actions and thrills. I don’t rely on conventional methods though to get the story across, there are sub-plots and multiple POVs that provide a close examination of the characters.

However, primarily, my novel is meant to entertain – to excite, thrill, horrify, and challenge your perspective.

Published by sharlene25

Sharlene Almond is the author of the genre-bending Annabella Cordova series, and a New Zealand travel book Journey in little Paradise. She has written a range of health, writing and body language articles; contributing as a guest writer on other blogs. Over the last ten years, Sharlene has attained qualifications in Body Language, Criminology, Journalism, Editing, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Pet Care, and Animal Behaviour. While setting up an online nutritional business, she is studying to specialize in Medicinal Cannabis and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sharlene is also currently editing her second Annabella Cordova novel, with two others in the works. To support her online business, Sharlene sends out a trimonthly newsletter covering health, body language, writing, and even articles centered on health topics for your pet.

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