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What Does That Mean? Literary Definitions: Vol. 4

Ever come across a publishing term and wasn't sure what it meant? (Who hasn't?) This series will give you some clarity on literary definitions.

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.

See Volume 3 here.

Literary Definitions: Vol. 4

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 book signing 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).

See Volume 5 here.

12 Weeks to a First Draft

Dive into the world of writing and learn all 12 steps needed to complete a first draft. In this writing workshop you will tackle the steps to writing a book, learn effective writing techniques along the way, and of course, begin writing your first draft.

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What Is a Cli-FI Novel in Writing and What Are Some Examples?

What Is a Cli-Fi Novel and What Are Some Examples?

The literary landscape is as changing as our physical landscape—and one genre gaining momentum is looking to start conversations around that change. Author Marjorie B. Kellogg defines what climate fiction is, and offers some examples that suggests the cli-fi novel has been around for decades.


Writer's Digest 90th Annual Competition Winning Non-Rhyming Poem: "Anticipatory Grief"

Congratulations to Melissa Joplin Higley, Grand Prize winner of the 90th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Here's her winning non-rhyming poem, "Anticipatory Grief."

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 587

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write an On Blank poem.

What to Say When Someone Wants to Kill You | Power of Words

What to Say When Someone Wants to Kill You

Author Gregory Galloway shares an intimate moment in his life that taught him the power of words and reveals why he became a writer.

Writing About Real People in Historical Fiction: What Is Factual and What Is Imagined

Writing About Real People in Historical Fiction: What Is Factual and What Is Imagined

When writing about real people in a real time, how do you distinguish between what is true and what is imaginary? Patti Callahan discuss how to write about real people in historical fiction.

the fisherman

The Fisherman

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about a fisherman.

Jenny Bayliss: On the Power of Second Chances

Jenny Bayliss: On the Power of Second Chances

Author Jenny Bayliss discusses the process of writing her new romance novel, A Season for Second Chances.

A Few Tips for Writing Personal Essays

A Few Tips for Writing Personal Essays

Here are a few tips for writing personal essays from the Publishing Insights column of the March/April 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Dispel vs. Expel (Grammar Rules)

Dispel vs. Expel (Grammar Rules)

Let's look at the differences between dispel and expel with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.