What exactly does "commercial fiction" mean? I wish to query an agent with my science fiction MS and the submission requirements of said agent read "Literary Fiction | Mystery | Commercial Fiction | Fantasy | Thrillers/Suspense." Do I read "commercial fiction" to mean common genres such as romance, science fiction or what have you? Or does "commercial fiction" refer to something specific?
I'm targeting said agent because of a specific book she repped that leads me to think she may like mine. But I've run into the "commercial fiction" wall before in Jeff Herman's book and don't know if that knocks her off my list or not.
If you write science fiction or fantasy, you want an agent who says those specific words in "what I'm looking for". SFF is commercially viable but it's not "commercial fiction". Commercial fiction is mainstream, page turner stuff. Think Nicholas Sparks. Think Jodi Picoult. Think Dan Brown. Think "sales rather than review strength."
Agents who want to read work in a genre will say so: mystery, sff, romance, western. If that's what you write, look for those words.
Commercial/literary, upmarket, downmarket, all refer to types of mainstream fiction, which despite some websites interesting ideas is NOT a genre.