The language of writing

So I’ve been thinking of querying agents with my MG SF ms this week, but I’m not sure if my MC is the right age? Any advice?

Does the above sentence make sense to you? I’ve been reminded a couple of times this week that not everyone reading this blog has been obsessed by writing and publishing for the past almost-ten years, like me! And sometimes even I get confused by the different terminology. So I thought I’d do a little breakdown of some of the commonly used terms and abbreviations on this blog to help out those less familiar readers!

Querys/querying: a query is sort of like a cover letter for a CV – except in this case, your CV is your novel. For fiction, the query often includes the title, genre, age range (if a children’s book – no need if it’s for general readers) and word count, an enticing blurb (like you might read on the back cover of a book) and a little bit about the author. It is normally the first piece of writing a potential agent or editor will see from a writer, which is why writers spend so much time worrying about it!

ms – short for ‘manuscript’

MG – short for ‘middle grade’ – an age range for children’s books, generally 8-12 years old

YA – short for ‘young adult’ – another age range for children’s books, generally 12-18

ARC/proof/galley – a marketing tool used by publishers, an ARC (advance reader copy) is an uncorrected bound copy of the novel that gets sent to key reviewers to try to build anticipation for a book before its official release date. In the UK, they’re more commonly known as proofs.

SF/F – short for ‘science fiction and fantasy’ – two of my favourite genres!

WIP – short for ‘work in progress’

HC – short for HarperCollins

RHCB – short for Random House Children’s Books

The Absolute Write forums have an even more complete list than this, if all the publishing terminology needs even more deciphering!

And, for those who prefer a bit more epicness in my posts, here is the new Game of Thrones Season 2 trailer:


2 thoughts on “The language of writing

    • amymcculloch says:

      Oh, I forgot about POV! That’s a good one 🙂 We’re bad in-house as well, like AIS (advance information sheets), KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), TCM (total consumer market) – it never ends!

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