New Writing/Publishing Terms – What Do They Mean?

women's fiction
To further my mission to become a successful published author, I’ve been delving more deeply into the online world of writing and publishing (mostly through blogs and Twitter), and have learned a lot, especially about agents, query letters, and great new books to read. Along the way, I stumble across unfamiliar terms, so I decided to post some of them here for the edification of newbies like me and for the amusement of pros who’ve probably known them for years.

Agent/publisher time – This always means U.S. East Coast time, as in, if an agent tweets, “We’ll be answering questions on #askagent at 2pm,” s/he means 11am PST. (I learned this the hard way.)

ARC – Advanced Readers Copy. (By the way, I recently and happily won my first free ARC, Hide and Seek, by Jane Casey.)

#askagent – highly informative twitter hashtag for writers wishing to ask agents questions in real time

HEA – Happily Ever After

Klout score – the reach and engagement of your social media platforms

OTP – One True Pairing. Yeah, it’s a romance thing.

PB – picture book

SimSubs – simultaneous submissions, as in when a literary magazine allows writers to submit stories also being shopped to other publications.

TBR – to be read (as in, “I’m really excited to read the books on my TBR list.”)

TSTL – Too Stupid to Live (in regards to the characters that are just, well, stupid, or weak)– added by blogger Michelle 

Upmarket – literary fiction with commercial potential.

WF – women’s fiction. 

Okay, tangent alert: what is it about the label WF that is so wtf? While I’m usually one who blindly grab books off fiction shelves regardless of genre, I do appreciate the need for genre classification and have been known to look up genre tags to see if a book is something I might be interested in.  However, “women’s fiction?” Really? Human conditions portrayed in literature by men are never categorized as male fiction, so why the sweeping label on women’s fiction that does the same?

I find the sweeping genre classification of the last term, WF, somewhat troubling, so I explore that here a bit beyond a simple definition. I’d be interested to hear your views on it, too. Feel free to share any other writing/publishing acronyms you’ve run across.

Author Randy Susan Meyers intelligently explores this question in ‘Women’s Fiction?’ ‘Men’s Fiction?’ ‘Human Fiction?’ I highly recommend it.

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6 comments

  1. This is a great list! There were a few that I hadn’t heard of, like “SimSub” and “HEA.” I don’t know why, but I really like using “OTP,” as well as “ship.” It’s just fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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