Ever come across a publishing term and wasn’t sure what it meant? (Who hasn’t?)
The Buried Editor and I are
pairing up to start a series to
help define some oft-used
terms in the publishing world.
Here’s Volume Four:
All rights – (n.) Just like it sounds. When a publication or publishing house purchases all rights from you, they own it all. You can’t sell it again, or use the characters again, etc.
BEA: stands for BookExpo of America – (n.) The premier American book conference. Publishers and independent booksellers converge every year to discuss the new season’s books and to network. This year’s expo is at the end of May in Los Angeles.
E-book reader (or e-reader) – (n.) An electronic device that allows a user to view both electronic versions of books or manuscripts. A very wonderful device for editors and agents since they can now carry hundreds of pages of manuscripts in a little eight-ounce device.
i.e. – an abbreviation for id est, Latin for “that is to say” or “namely.” The phrase is used to clarify a point, as in this example: “Enclose a #10 (i.e., business-sized) self-addressed, stamped envelope with your submission.”
Kill fee – (n.) A fee paid to a writer who has worked on an assignment that, for some reason, is not published.
For example, you’re contracted to write an article for a magazine and you turn it in. The article itself is satisfactory. But then the editor calls you and says they are changing the focus of the upcoming issue and they can’t use your article as part of the package anymore. They have no more need for it, so they pay you a kill fee (approximately 25% of the original promised price) and all rights to the article revert back to you. Your best bet is to try and sell it elsewhere. Kill fees are rare.
Novella – (n.) A relatively short work of prose fiction comparable in length to a long short story or novelette, approximately 30,000-50,000 words.
Prepublication tour – (n.) A tour arranged by the publisher for the author before the release of the author’s book. Unlike a normal author tour that centers around booksigning opportunities, these tours are a chance for the author to meet booksellers and the media. They often center around trade shows like BEA.
To Query – (v.) The act of asking very nicely in the sweetest most professional way possible if you can pretty please submit your manuscript for the publishing house to review.
Simultaneous submission – (n.) A submission where the writer submits his work to multiple editors or agents at the same time. Submitting to more than one agent is common (and encouraged). Some agents will only review queries or manuscripts exclusively; however, they should be upfront about this quirk in their online writers’ guidelines, and they should have a limited amount of time to be the only ones reviewing your work (one month, for example).
Stand by Me, by Stephen King, was
originally a novella, as were his stories that
inspired the films Apt Pupil and
The Shawshank Redemption.