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Writing Glossary at a Glance Q to Z


Query / Query Letter: A one-page letter a writer sends to an agent, editor or publisher to offer their book, article or story for publication. There is an accepted format for this letter. You can find it in writing books that cover this aspect of writing. This letter should showcase the writer's best writing.

Remainders: These are deeply discounted copies of a book that are sold. Many publishing contracts indicate the author will not receive royalties on these sales because the price is discounted too close to the publisher's wholesale price.

Reporting time: This is the time it takes for a publisher, editor or agent to get back in contact with a writer regarding a query, proposal, or manuscript they sent to them.

Royalties: Payments made to an author on the sale of their book by a publisher. Today it is common for a publisher to pay an author between 4-15 percent of the retail cover price for hardcover books, and 4-8 percent of the retail price for paperbacks.

SASE: Stands for: Self-addressed, stamped envelope. It is required if a writer wants their manuscript returned if a publisher, agent or editor decides not to publish it.

Self-Publishing: This is when a writer publishes his or her book themselves. They either do all the work themselves or hire out the services that a publisher would normally do. Today self-publishing is beginning to be seen as a legitimate alternative to being traditionally published.

Serial: Magazine, Newspaper, or newsletter that is published periodically on a set schedule.

Sidebar: A piece of information or writing that is a companion to a newspaper or magazine article. It highlights important information or gives more detail.

Simultaneous submission: The same as multiple submission. When a writer submits his or her manuscript to more than one publisher or publication at the same time. 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.

Slant: An emphasis given in a story or article. Sometimes a periodical will ask for a slant in a story or article to match their editorial theme.

Slush pile: A large stack of unsolicited manuscripts. Editors and Agents put these on a low priority to read or look at. In today's publishing changes, it is best for nonfiction writers to send queries and book proposals out before they write the full book. This ensures there is an interest to publish before all the time consuming writing is done.

Subsidiary rights: These are secondary rights for publishing your manuscript. They include:

Audio rights
Book club rights
Character rights
Condensation rights
Dramatic rights: TV and Film rights
Mass-market paperback rights
Merchandising rights
Translation rights

There are too many to list them all here. A writer should consult an attorney in the publishing industry to be sure their subsidiary rights are earning royalties whenever possible.

Subsidy publisher: A publisher that charges the writer to typeset and print their book. The subsidy publisher then markets the book at their own expense. The writer earns a percentage of the sales price as a royalty payment on all sales. Some Print-on-Demand (POD) publishing companies work this way.

Synopsis: A one or two page outline or summary of a nonfiction, book or fiction novel. In nonfiction it is requested in a book proposal.

Tearsheet: These are the pages an author cuts or tears out of a magazine where his or her article has been published. The author then makes copies of the printed article to use as clips and samples of his or her writing.

Trade book: Generally describes a book that is published to sell in bookstores and bought by libraries. It is either hardcover or a larger sized paperback.

Treatment: An outline of a television or movie script. General sizes: 10-15 pages for a ˝ hour TV show, 15-25 pages of an hour TV show. 25-40 pages for a 90 minutes movie, 40-60 pages for a full length movie.

Unsolicited manuscript: Any manuscript that is sent without an editor's request or permission.

Vanity publisher: This type of publisher charges a writer a lot of money upfront to print their book. Most do not offer editing services. Today, some vanity publishers try to look and sound like a subsidiary publisher. Many put small ads in the classified sections of popular newspapers. The ads sound like a publisher looking for new manuscripts to publish. When they reply you have to pay to have your book printed or “published” as they call it. It is necessary today to do a lot of research before you hire a company to print your book if you are self-publishing. If you choose to go with a vanity publisher, you will not be able to have your book reviewed by the best reviewers. That can cost you a lot of sales. This is also the most costly way to self-publish. Now that we have POD, you can steer clear of vanity publishers.

Word count: This is the total number of words in a manuscript. A publisher, agent or editor will tell you in their writer's guidelines how many words they are looking for. The word count ranges today are: Nonfiction articles 250 to 2500 words. Nonfiction book 20,000 to 100,000 words.

Writer's Guidelines: Periodical and book publishers put out an official statement on what they are looking to publish. They call these official statements writer's guidelines. A write should send a SASE to the managing editor requesting their writer's guidelines before submitting an article or book proposal. Many publisher's have their writer's guidelines posted on their websites today. If they do, you are free to copy, print or download them.


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



Bluedolphin Crow is the writer for BellaOnline's Nonfiction Writing Site. Why not circle her on Google+?




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