Literary fiction

150 150 Siobhan O'Brien Holmes

This is a tough one to define, so I’m going to let the fabulous Mary Kole do it for me: ‘Books that are literary tend to focus on a main character and his daily sagas, often with a larger plot, but not a larger-than-life one. The issue with these types of stories is that a lot of editors will call books without an obvious sales hook ‘quiet’. These are often the books that win awards like Newberry Medal and Honour Books.’ (p11) In other words, literary novels are extremely well written and emotionally resonant and often character driven, but don’t have an obvious ‘hook’ to grab publishers and readers from the outset like a mystery thriller or post-apocalyptic fantasy might. They are the opposite of ‘commercial’ fiction and aren’t as likely to become bestsellers, despite awards, because they have a more narrow audience.

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Siobhan O'Brien Holmes

Siobhan O'Brien Holmes is a developmental editor working with middle grade and YA authors. She specialises in speculative and genre fiction, particularly horror, fantasy, mystery, sci-fi and anything with a dash of magic or macabre. She is a member of the SfEP, EFA, ACES, British Fantasy Society, Horror Writers Association and SCBWI. She has an MA in Novel Writing and an MA in Children's Literature.

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