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Writing Glossary at a Glance M to P

Mainstream: Fiction writing that does not fit into another fiction genre. This area of fiction is often written with more emphasis on characterization than the other fiction genres.

Mass-Market book: These are the smaller paperback books you see sold in supermarkets, drugstores as well as bookstores. They reach a larger market then books of other genres.

Masthead: This is where the names and titles of the staff of a publication are listed. You will find this on one of the first pages of a magazine.

Midlist: These are books that make up the biggest part of a publisher's list of books. They are made up of nonfiction and non-genre fiction books. These are books that will sell well, but are not expected to be blockbusters.

Ms, mss: an abbreviation for manuscript or the plural, manuscripts.

Multiple Submissions: When you submit your manuscript to more than one publisher or magazine at a time looking for one of them to accept it for publication. Greeting card companies and filler type magazines encourage writers to do this. Until recently, most magazines and book publisher's would not accept multiple submissions. Today some are beginning to. It is recommended that you always indicate that you are submitting your manuscript to other publishers or publications when you do this. By notifying everyone it will stop any possible misunderstandings later on. This is the same as the term Simultaneous Submission.

Net Royalty: This is the royalty figure paid to a writer after the publisher has taken out the costs of all wholesale discounts. It is usually expressed as a percentage.

On spec / On speculation: An editor will agree to look at an article sent in by a writer without guaranteeing that they will publish it. Editor's do this when they don't know the writer or the writer is new.

One-Time Rights: This is when a periodical agrees to publish a writer's article on time. The author is then free to sell the same article to other noncompeting publications for publication at the same time.

Op-ed: Opinion type of an article that a newspaper publishes in their editorial section. It is usually 600 to 1,000 words in length.

Outline: This term has two meanings today. First a writer can use an outline or a sketch to help them write their book. Second, it can be used in a nonfiction book proposal. When used in this way it is usually less than 15 double-spaced pages long. It usually has chapter headings with a description of the chapter below. This is also called a Synopsis when writing a nonfiction book proposal.

Payment on Acceptance: Payment is sent to the writer when the publication accepts the story or article.

Payment on Publication: This is when the publication accepts the writer's story or article and pays them after it is published. Most articles and stories are published months after they are accepted so this can delay your payment until then as well.

Pen name: a Pseudonym or made up name a writer uses on their published work.

Plagiarism: If you use another writer's work and claim it as your own.

Print-on-Demand or POD: These are publishing companies that print an authors manuscript as orders come in. Instead of traditional publisher's who print “runs” of a book first, then try to sell it. POD companies can offer free typesetting and printing services and charge a per book fee to the writer for each book ordered. Others run like a Subsidiary publisher.

Proofreading: This is the very careful editing of a manuscript to catch and correct errors in the content. It also finds gaps and holes that need to be filled in. This is different than Copyediting.

Public Domain: These are works whose copyright have expired. Sometimes writers add their work to the public domain instead of copywriting it.

Published or Get Published: This is when a book is published by a publishing company and not the author or writer.

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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