The difference between a graphic novel, a trade paperback (TPB) and comic books:

Graphic Novel term
Before I started writing my graphic novel, I was working as a Molecular Biologist in a Medical Laboratory. To say the least, it was a complete career change. I saw looks of confusion from my old co-workers, when I explained my new world. As it turns out, some misinterpreted, “graphic novel” for “erotic story.” It wasn’t too long before my old lab, believed I was off writing the next Fifty Shades of Grey. Now don’t get me wrong, graphic novels are aimed at adult readers and often have mature themes. But many also contain universal themes, such as darkness vs. light, companionship, or fear of failure.

Graphic novels are similar to comic books. Both tell a story using words and images. With monthly releases, comic book stories unfold over a series of issues. A reprint of several comics into a book is called a trade paperback (TPB). In contrast, a graphic novel covers one (complete) story. This uninterrupted form allows for a more fluid type of storytelling.