GLOSSARY OF WRITING TERMS
There are many terms and abbreviations that we writers use that can seem bewildering to new authors; a special language gifted to only those in the know . . . Not true! We've simply said everything wrong, and been utterly confused as newbies, until a more experienced writer took us under their wing and filled us in on the 'writer's code.'
Here are a few of the abbreviations and words, and their subsequent meaning.
*For Children's Book Writer's*
YA - Young Adult (referring to the targeted age group of the work, typically 14-17, complex subject matter, inbetween 25,000 to 55,000-words in length.)
MG - Middle Grade ( 8-12 or 10-14, inbetween 15,000 and 35,000-words. Many are longer, or shorter, there is no hard and fast rule for word length in middle grade novels. )
CB - Chapter Book (2nd thru 4th grade, short, easy to read chapters with more detailed plots)
PB - Picture Book (preschool, little text, usually under 1000 words with illustrations.)
High-lo - High interest, low reading ability (material for new readers, usually adults)
*General Writing Terms*
Advance - Compensation paid to an author once the book is contracted, prior to it being published.
Bio - A brief paragraph, usually under 100 words, that tells about the writer.
Byline - Author's name that appears with published work.
Cover letter - Brief, one page letter used to introduce the work being offered.
Clips - Samples of an author's published work (a writer will often include these in a query or sales pitch to an editor. The clips are usually from newspapers or magazines.)
Dummy - Mock-up of a book with page breaks included, illustrations and text.
Galleys - The first typeset of a manuscript before it's been divided.
Genre - A general classification of writing. ex: romance, mystery, science fiction, fantasy etc.
Hardcover - Hard, cloth over cardboard bound book, with a paper dust jacket.
Kill fee - Fee for an article that was assigned to an author, but then cancelled.
Midlist - Titles that are not expected to be big sellers for a publisher, usually mainstream books.
Newbery Medal Award - Prestigious award given annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished contribution to American children's literature.
On spec - When an editor expresses interest in an article or idea proposed to them by an author, and agrees to consider the piece once it's finished.
Outline - Summary of a book, usually organized chapter by chapter, in a scene by scene manner.
Query Letter - Usually a one page letter to an editor to 'pitch' your book, with the intention of grabbing their interest so that they will request to see the finished piece.
Simultaneous submission - When an author sends the same manuscript to more than one publisher at the same time.
Slush pile - The pile of unsolicited manuscripts at a publishing house.
Synopsis - A comprehensive summary of the book sent as part of a book proposal, often accompanying the query.
Trade book - A paperback or hardcover book which usually covers a special interest, and is marketed directly to the layperson.
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