Literary, Commercial and Genre Fiction?

One of the first things I discovered while researching agencies (apart from new writers not doing their homework; see last week’s post), was a phrase I wasn’t sure of—LITERARY FICTION. I’ve seen it before, and I’m a little embarrassed to say I didn’t know what it meant, but it was nothing a little research couldn’t clear up. I feel it’s important to understand the difference types, as some agents don’t represent all type of fiction, and knowing which ones they do will go a long way in not getting you a form rejection .   

COMMERCIAL FICTION is probably the most popular and what most authors try to write. It’s the ‘high concept’ kinda deal, that publishers are looking for, with one think in mind—to make money. Period. All commercial fiction is geared to this. These novels are full of high action, suspense, that keep you coming back for more.  If I’ve made a mistake somewhere, please let me know.

LITERARTY FICTION, as opposed to COMMERCIAL FICTION is more issue driven than anything else. Literary Fiction deals with the problems of society. These stories depict the struggles of the characters with emphasis on prose. The first agency I looked into only represented Literary and non-fiction, so naturally anything I sent them, would be rejected.

Here is a great link on the difference between the two. It explains it better than I. You have to scroll down a bit, but his definition really makes sense.

GENRE FICTION is scifi, fantasy and anything along that line. Most writers I know write Genre Fiction. I I’m sure there is COMERCIAL GENRE FICION, I’m thinking Twilight falls into this category, as well as Harry Potter.

You know, even after writing this, I’m still confused.


About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal it to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing or working with crystals, she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and very loud music.

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