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*The compositions herein are not to be copied, reproduced, printed, published, posted, displayed, incorporated, stored in or scanned into a retrieval system or database, transmitted, broadcast, bartered or sold, in whole or in part without the prior express written permissions of the sole author Tory Williams. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited and is an infringement of National and International Copyright Laws.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Important Terms For Newbie Writers

Recently while observing a thread at one of my favorite writers' forums, I came across an arrogant commenter who insulted a "newbie" writer. Said arrogant commenter accused "newbie" writer of being stupid and lazy for not understanding a few of the literary terms mentioned in the thread. Ugh! The hairs on my arms lifted and my eyes began to twitch. I felt pithy toward the "newbie" writer because I, too, have been in similar situations where I didn't understand the terminology used. And I'd be willing to bet my signing advance check (gotta have dreams, right?) that YOU have, too!

For a brief moment, I stared at the computer screen and contemplated jumping in on the thread. I mean really? Why would anyone reply with such a harsh comment? Argh!!! But as I counted to ten..then twenty...then thirty, I knew exactly how to handle this situation. Instead of sticking my nose in where it didn't belong, I decided to use my children's SACRED naptime to compile a glossary-type-post as a resource for other "newbie" writers. Why? Because I love helping people (especially underdogs in the writing community) and I believe that it is WRONG to insult "newbies" simply because we are unfamiliar with terminology. Yes, I do believe that wisdom is earned, but you can't gain wisdom w/out asking Who? What? Where? or Why?

Well, enough ranting and raging for one day, right? Plus, I really want to get started with chapter four of new WIP.

In closing, the following website is fabulous for researching literary terms. I encourage you to bookmark it under favorites:

Thanks for stopping by Head In The Clouds. Have a wonderful Tuesday, everyone! Tory

*Acquisition Editors- The person at a publishing company in charge of reviewing and rating incoming manuscripts for possible publication and then supervise the publication process.

*Advance- A sum paid to the author in anticipation of royalty earnings.

Agent- A person or company which acts as a liaison between the author and the publishing house for a fee based on sales of the book. Money is NOT paid to the agent until money is received FROM the publisher. Never use an agent who requests up-front money from the author. (KathyC -

*American Booksellers Association (ABA)- American Booksellers Association is a not-for-profit trade organization devoted to meeting the needs of its core members - independently owned bookstores with store front locations - through advocacy, education, research, and information dissemination

Antagonist-The principal character in opposition to the protagonist or hero in a drama or other literary work.

*Appendix- Supplementary materials printed at the end of the general text.

ARC- An acronym for "Advance Reading Copy" or "Advance Review Copy." This is a book that has been through editing, and occasionally copy editing, but may contain some errors and isn’t yet available for sale to the public. They are usually printed from first pass galleys several months in advance of publication to send to magazine and on-line reviewers so the book can be read and the review prepared in time for the release date. (KathyC -

Auction- When a book is sent out to various publishers and more than one is interested, the agent will start the publishers bidding against each other for the privilege of publishing the book. (KathyC)

*Back Matter- The section after the body of the text and may include the endnotes, index, bibliography, author biography, etc.

*Bar Code- A system of stripes and bars printed on the back cover of a book. Used universally in the book industry for automated ordering and inventory systems.

Beta Reader- Checks the manuscript to make certain that the draft is correct and verified before submitting to a literary agent.

*Binding- The process if affixing pages together in a single bound book.

*Blueline- The proof sheet(s) of a books revealed in bluish ink that shows exactly how the pages or cover of a book will look when it is printed.

*Blurb- Abbreviated, positive review of the book or the author often appearing on the back cover or in front matter.

*Book- A bound publication of 49 or more pages that is not a magazine or periodical.

*BookExpo America (BEA)- formerly known as the American Booksellers Association Convention & Trade Exhibit, is an education forum, a center of rights activity and the meeting place for the entire publishing industry.

*Books in Print- A database managed by R. R. Bowker of books in or about to print based on the ISBN numbers issued by them to the publishers.

*Camera-ready- Final artwork, including typesetting and graphics ready for reproduction in the final book production process.

*CIP- Cataloging in Publication. The bibliographic information supplied by the Library of Congress and printed on the copyright page

*Clip Art- Generic graphics that can be "clipped out" and used for illustrations. Available on the Internet and software programs for not charge.

*Content Edit- An edit of a book that checks the flow of the text, its organization, continuity and content.

*Copy Edit- An edit that checks for grammar, spelling, punctuation and other "typos."

*Copyright- Legal protection given to intellectual rights such written and published works in a variety of forms such as books, audio and software.

*Cover Art- the design of the book jacket, Design- Artistic process placing images and/or words into camera ready copy.

Crutch Words- They’re ordinary, innocuous words that reappear in your writing, unconsciously repeated out of habit.(

*Desktop Publishing- Book design, layout, and production completed on a personal computer by specific software.

*Distributor- A company that buys books from a publisher or other distributors and resells them to retail accounts.

*E-book- Electronic Book- A book published in electronic form that can be downloaded to computers or handheld devices.

*Editing- Changing or correcting the contents of a book in order to improve the final results or to fit a format.

*EIN- Employer Identification Number. Issued by the Federal Government to business for tax purposes. A Social Security Number may be used as an EIN in some businesses.

*Epilogue- Additional text at the end of the book, that provides readers with additional information on the subject.

*Final draft- The final proof after all other proofing and editing steps have been completed.

*Focus Group- A small cross section of people brought together to provide feedback on marketing ideas and products.

*Font- The typeset used in page design.

*Foreign Rights- Rights granted or sold that allows books to be printed and sold in other countries.

*Four Color Process- Using the major colors magenta, cyan, yellow and black to produce pictures in a range of colors.

*Freelance - An independent contractor hired to work on a book, design or marketing plan.

*Front Matter- The series of pages that appear before the body of text.

*Galley- The pre-publication copies sent to the author for final proofreading or to reviewers for pre-publication reviews.

*Genre- A specific category of literature, marked by a distinctive style form or content.

*Graphics- The non-type parts of a book such as drawings, illustrations, photographs, charts, etc. that are used to enhance the content of a book.

*Hard Copy- A print out of the manuscript. Imprint- The name of the publishing company on the title page.

*ISBN- International Standard Book Number- An identification number code uniquely assigned to every book and obtained from the R. R. Bowker company.

*Jobber- A type of distributor who provides books to that works on a smaller scale than wholesalers and provides mass market titles to airports, grocery stores, drug stores, etc.

*Library of Congress- The national library of the United States located in Washington D.C.

*List Price- The sales price printed on your book or the retail sales price.

*Logo- Identification mark used by an individual, business or organization as a representation symbol.

*Manuscript- The book in typewritten or word processing form.

*Marketing Plan- A book selling plan that includes a budget, synopsis of book, target audience, distribution, promotion, timeline and how you will create demand.

*Mass Market- A small format paperback edition usually sold in airports, grocery stores and drug stores.

*Mid-list- a title or author that does not become a bestseller

*Out of Print- a title no longer maintained in the publisher's catalogue or inventory

*Preface- The introductory portion of the book that usually explains why the book was written, what it is about or how to use it.

*Press Kit- Provides reporters, reviewers, bookstore managers and others information on the book. It includes a press release, author biography, book cover, testimonials, etc.

*Proofreader- Checks the manuscript to make certain that the copy is correct and verified before final printing.

Protagonist- The main character in a drama or other literary work.

*Publication Date- The date set, usually after actual printing of the book, that is announced to let the target audience know when the book will be available.

*Publicity- A marketing technique using free advertising outlets such as press releases.

*Publisher- The person or company responsible for the entire process of producing books. This includes overseeing the writing, editing, design, production, printing and marketing of the book.

Purple Prose- When you use lots of sparkly words to describe something. (Alyia Kallen Any writing that is undermined by its over-stylized and formulaic nature. (Wikipedia)

Query- A letter that SELLS a book idea to a publisher or agent. The letter is generally no more than one page, contains contact information, a short summary of the plot, and requests permission to send either a synopsis or a full manuscript of the book. (KathyC)

*Review- A critical evaluation of a book.

*Review Copy- A free copy given away to be reviewed.

*Royalties- percentage of the sales price earned by the author on sold copies. These are generally charged against the advance until it is earned out.

Social Networking- Communicating online through media outlets, such as, Twitter, Facebook, etc... in hopes of building a platform and self-promoting your project.

*Spine- The binding on the side of a book.

*Subsidiary Rights- Additional rights, such as foreign, audio, serial to publish a book in a different form. The American Library Association provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarians.

Synopsis- A summary of a book, often 2-5 pages long, which describes the plot, the characters and the resolution of the book. (KathyC)

*Trim- The final dimension of a book after the printer or bindery has cut it to size.

*Typesetting- A term that originally referred to the setting of lead type for printing presses or phototypesetting. With advancing technology nearly all "typesetting" is now done on the computer.

*Vanity Press- A waning term as the name implies a "Vanity Press" is a publisher that produces books with the author paying all costs and maintaining all ownership. Vanity Presses most commonly do not allow author input other than paper color and binding style.

*Wholesaler- A central order location that allows bookstores and libraries to order multiple titles from multiple publishers.

*Word of Mouth- Advertising generated by satisfied or interested readers who tell others about the book.

Work In Progress (WIP)-A piece of work (story) that is not yet finished.

Glossary of Publishing Terms, Noted *, Furnished by Kwame Alexander Author of:
Do The Write Thing: Seven Steps to Publishing Success


  1. Great post! I'm embarrassed now. Janet Reid just had a contest for ARC of YOU and I thought that was the title.

  2. No problem, Patty! I, too, am on the prowl for this contest. Good luck! Tory

  3. Tory,

    New to the blog... I have enjoyed reading your recent posts, and I especially appreciate the spirit of this one - being part of the solution. Not only is the information helpful - it's a reminder to some that "knowledge puffs up, but love edifies."

    Smiling... it also reminds me a little of my grandmother, who taught at Millry for 22 years... Once a teacher... always a teacher :-)

    And "always a teacher is a good thing."

  4. Hi, Andy! It was so nice meeting you at church this past Sunday! Thank you for saying "Hi," and for leaving such kind words on my blog.

    I have such high regards for your family (I thought of Mrs. Joann quite often during the creation of book #1. She was such an inspiration to me as a person, and as a writer!) As for your dad...well, he's pretty awesome, too!.

    I hope you visit again, soon! Tory