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Writing Glossary at a Glance A to B

Every new writer struggles in the beginning to grasp the seemingly endless list of writing terms and definitions. You read them in articles and books on writing. You hear them at writer's conferences and workshops.

Here is a glossary to help you get over the terminology hump. I found when I first began writing years ago, that by writing each new term out in a journal helped me a lot. I was able to organize it alphabetically. When I heard the term again if I still did not remember it I could find it quickly. This helped me to learn the terms and the different ways they were being used.

I will update this list each year to include the newest writer's vernacular. Remember if you have questions please shoot me a quick email or post your question in my forum. Enjoy!

Glossary A through B

Advance: An amount of money a publisher pays an author when they sign a contract to publish the author's book. This amount is deducted from royalties from the sale of the book. Advances can be paid in one lump sum, in two installments and sometimes in three installments.

Article: Nonfiction writing for a newspaper or magazine.

Assignment: When an editor asks a writer to write for an agreed upon fee.

Auction: Usually conducted by an agent when one or more publishers are interested in publishing a writer's book manuscript. Auctions can run for a few hours or a few days.

Back matter: All of the material found at the end of a book. It can contain one or more of these: appendixes, bibliography, glossary, index, notes. See also: Front matter.

Backlist: A list of books a publisher still has in print. See also: Front list; Midlist.

Book packager: A company that puts physical books together. They sell the completed book package to publishers and do not sell directly to the public. They work with: authors, writers, editors, graphic artists, and printers.

Book proposal: A specific list of items you send to a publisher before your book is written to see if they have an interest in publishing your book. This is primarily for nonfiction books. Book proposals include a chapter list, chapter summaries, sample chapter or two, market analysis. Here is a great book to help you with this: Fast-Track to Writing a Book Proposal – a Review

Byline: The authors name as it is listed on a published story or article.


You can find all of the Writing Glossary Articles here:

Writing Glossary at a Glance A to B

Writing Glossary at a Glance C to F

Writing Glossary at a Glance G to L

Writing Glossary at a Glance M to P

Writing Glossary at a Glance Q to Z



On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction


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