The L-Word

Author:
Publish date:

Hi Writers,
To follow up on my previous post, I wanted to comment further on the term "literary" as in a "literary novel."

First, I want to say that I love smart, character-driven literary novels. They are what I gravitate to for my own leisure reading.

So please don't get too angry with me when I share that labeling your book "literary" will, in the minds of many agents, brand your book as being dark, depressing, boring, overly intellectual, mid-list, unsalable, (insert your own adjective for not-money-making here), etc.

When our annual competitions winners (see below) called their novel manuscripts "literary" you could almost see the agents' eyes roll up to the ceiling. As Peter Rubie put it: "When you call your novel "literary" you put yourself on a really difficult level—up against Annie Proulx, Philip Roth and the like."

But what did get the agents revved-up were terms mentioned in my post below, for example "crossover novel" (catchword meaning: a character-driven novel that might actually sell to a mass audience), or book club novel (catchword meaning: somewhat intellectual, culturally relevant, might actually sell to a mass audience if it catches on with the book club set). Much of this is industry jargon, but it's certainly worth knowing if you're trying to pitch a novel.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this but please don't shoot the messenger, I've got a busy schedule this month.

Keep Writing,
Maria

Alexander Weinstein: On Writing a Thematic Short Story Collection

Alexander Weinstein: On Writing a Thematic Short Story Collection

Author Alexander Weinstein discusses how he came to select the theme of his new short story collection, Universal Love, and what it was like to see those themes reflected in the real world.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a blank me poem.

4 Tips for Writing about Family Grudges

4 Tips for Writing about Family Grudges

Author Samantha Downing discusses the techniques she used when writing her literary novel He Started It, which focuses on family secrets, old grudges, and lots of scores to settle.

W.A. Winter: On the Joys of Writing Crime Fiction

W.A. Winter: On the Joys of Writing Crime Fiction

Crime and suspense author W.A. Winter discusses why he decided on fiction over true crime for his latest novel, The Secret Lives of Dentists, and how writing this book brought him joy.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 20

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a Love and/or Anti-Love poem.

Stationery vs. Stationary (Grammar Rules)

Stationary vs. Stationery (Grammar Rules)

Learn the differences of stationary and stationery on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Erik Larson Quote

Liminal Spaces: A Profile of Erik Larson

WD gives a peek at the daily routine of Erik Larson and the writing process behind his bestselling narrative nonfiction in this Nov/Dec 2020 profile by Zachary Petit.

Jennifer Boresz Engelking: On Giving Readers a New Appreciation of History

Jennifer Boresz Engelking: On Giving Readers a New Appreciation of History

Debut author Jennifer Boresz Engelking discusses what led her to write her historical nonfiction book Hidden History of Lake County Ohio and how research gave her a new appreciation for her hometown.