Monday, August 11, 2008

A slew of words, unlike the slough of despond, delights

A very informative post by Rachel Toor in The Chronicle of Higher Education website about publishing vocabulary.

Are there any words or phrases you've heard bandied about that you don't know? Or that you think might have a special publishing meaning? Fire away!


Dwight's Writing Manifesto said...

Was it despond? I thought it was "slough of despair." I like "despond" better.

~~Wiki wiki Pilgrim's Progress.~~

Ooops. I'm wrong again. Slough of Despond. I bow to the infallible Miss Worldy Wisewoman.

Janet Reid said...

yea, one thing I know is despond, lemme tell ya!

spinney said...

What a terrific list! But what about the code you see on publishing deals: "a good deal," "a very good deal," etc etc! What are we to glean from those words in code?

dylan said...

Dear Ms. Reid,

Is it acceptable to ask a question only distantly related to the current blog entry? Is there an industry stand in terms of what is meant by Word Count? Do most agents (that is to say, you) mean the MSWord-generated number, or the Pages x 250 words tabulation? Thanks, dylan

My apologies if asking this here and now makes me an a-hole.

dylan said...

Or if writing 'industry stand' instead of 'industry standard' makes me one, too.

jwhit said...

One I read today on OWW is PFM. I had to ask. Don't know if it's industry standard, but it was defined as: Pure Freaking Magic, with the F substitution optional for another famous F-word.

Re the code, nice deal, good deal, etc., Publisher's Lunch email define's them thusly:
"nice deal" $1 - $49,000
"very nice deal" $50,000 - $99,000
"good deal" $100,000 - $250,000
"significant deal" $251,000 - $499,000
"major deal" $500,000 and up

Steve Stubbs said...

Oh, I learned lots of publishing jargon from the Miss Snark blog that is not shown in that glossary. How about:

Majorly Sucky
Clue Gun
Clue Cannon

To which I could add a few acquired elsewhere:

Self-Pubbed (as a standard of quality)
Stinking Load of Crap
Justified (preferred over left alignment for MSS.)
Crayon Printer
Italic Sylfaen Font Type (recommended for every MS submission)
Upper Left Hand Corner (the preferred place on a query letter for a nude picture of yourself. Or anyone else whose picture you might have around.)

And my favorite of all:

Hiliterarious (an assessment of the author's ability to manage the English language.)

The one major term missing from that glossary is one I am still trying to figure out. What is that thing called an SASE that agents want with a query letter? Does anybody know?