Every industry has its own language. Realtors must learn realty speak. Lawyers must learn legalese. Pharmacists have to learn names of drugs. Computer programmers and IT people must learn technical terms related to computers and programming.
It is hard to be a nurse or an engineer if you don’t know the language of your industry. Learning the words is akin to learning the concepts and allows you to talk in an educated manner with others in the industry.
The writing and publishing industry is no different; it has a language that is unique to the industry. If you are writing, publishing, and promoting books, learning this language is a necessity to survive and thrive in this field.
For example, if you are an author considering a contract from a publisher for your book or a publisher that offers contracts to authors for publishing a book, some common terms found in such contracts include:
- Kill Fee
- Libel Clause
- One-Time Rights
- Reprint Rights
- Translation Rights
Knowing what each of these words refers to and means is important in understanding what is being communicated in a publishing contract or query followup.
A new book by Sally E. Stuart titled The Writing World Defined A to Z sets out to define the terms new writers and authors should be aware of on entering the publishing world. The terms in the book mainly deal with actual manuscript and writing terms, as well as language used in publishing contracts.
A few examples include:
Book jacket: The paper cover on a hardback book.
Remainders: The published copies of a book that the publisher still has in its warehouse that are slow to sell, or those left over when a book goes out of print, are called remainders.
Slush pile: The stack of unsolicited queries, proposals, or manuscripts that have arrived at a publisher’s or an agent’s office.
Net Receipts: In most book contracts that you sign with a publisher, your royalties will be paid based on net receipts. The means whatever income the publisher receives minus his costs and any deductions given to retailers or wholesalers.
Head shot: Professional publicity photo.
The Writing World Defined A to Z is a wonderful resource for new writers and authors to learn the language of the industry. The book is geared toward authors who are looking to secure a contract with a publisher or write for magazines.
Be aware, however, this book does not include the language that those who are preparing to publish independently need to know in terms of book design and layout or printing. These two services—book formatting and printing—each have their own unique language.
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