What is Upmarket Fiction and Should You Be Writing It?

There are a lot of genres out there. From speculative fiction to chick lit, historical romance to erotica, literature can be categorized in so many ways. Often when you’re seeking an agent, they will specify what genres they are looking for and while many will state specific areas of interest like the ones above, there is another term you may see.

Upmarket fiction.

You may even see it paired with a familiar genre. Upmarket science fiction. Or upmarket contemporary romance.

What is upmarket fiction?

It really isn’t a genre so much as a classification. You aren’t going to find a category in Amazon titled “upmarket” because it’s more of a characteristic than a category.

Upmarket fiction is used to describe a book that has a literary feel with commercial appeal. It means that the writing is outstanding, but accessible. The characters focused, but the plot sharp.

On the two sides of the scale you have literary and commercial. Literary fiction can often be considered highbrow, but stuffy. Sophisticated, but slow. It often isn’t considered as “sellable” to the general public.

Commercial fiction on the other hand is considered less refined, but are total page-turners. These books are frequently the ones you’ll find in airport bookstores and standing in line at the grocery store.

Though both have the potential to be so much more than their classification would suggest, the term “upmarket” is the bridge that unites the two.  See More . . . 



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