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How to write commercial fiction

Writing books for a commercial market 

What does ‘commercial fiction’ mean and how can you ensure your novels appeal to the masses? This newsletter contains advice from top Commissioning Editors, so if you’re hoping to keep readers turning pages, read on... 

WEBINAR: Use out of copyright works to inspire new ideas (FREE for members) 

19 August 2020. Join Melissa Addey for the final part of her ‘Getting New Ideas’ series, this time focusing on how you can take inspiration from old texts, to inspire something new.  



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MASTERCLASS: Writing great commercial fiction Darcy Nicholson (FREE for members) 

Editorial Director at Sphere (Little, Brown) Darcy Nicholson reveals how to make an idea capture the attention of agents, publishers and readers. 



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AGENTMATCH: Updated agent profiles (Exclusive for members) 

We’ve just added an interview with UK literary agent Clare Pearson to her AgentMatch profile and updated the genres listed on US agent Amanda Jain’s profile to include Arts, Narrative Non-Fiction, Science, Politics, society & current affairs, Other non-fiction, Food and Cookery, History, Mystery, Women's fiction, Science fiction, Historical fiction, Genre romance, Fantasy, Literary Fiction. Phew! 


What does ‘commercial fiction’ mean? 

Confusingly as ever, you’ll often see ‘Commerical Fiction’ labeled as ‘book group fiction’ or ‘reading group fiction’. So what does all this mean?  

In a nutshell, ‘Commercial’ fiction refers to books that are written to entertain the masses – such as reading groups. It’s the opposite of ‘literary fiction’, where the focus is on beautiful writing and style. Commerical fiction is driven by story and memorable, engaging characters.  

Examples of Commerical Fiction are things like ‘Gone Girl’, by Gillian Flynn or ‘One Day’, by David Nicholls. They sometimes also fit into defined sub-genres such as romance, thrillers, horror etc.  

This is not to say that Commercial Fiction is any less ‘worthy’ than literary. Brilliant writing can equally mean beautiful language and a well-put-together plot. Literary fiction is often loved and revered by the few, whereas Commercial Fiction is consumed by the masses. Literary books are things and beauty, often in hardback – whereas Commerical books are often brought in paperback by the thousands.  

So – are you writing commercial fiction, or literary fiction? Does your book focus on language and style, or plot and character? Sign up for free and share your thoughts in the Townhouse here.  

Sarah J x 

Plus, don’t miss: 

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