I love Twitter. Not only is it a brilliant distraction when you're facing 200 pages of editing, but it also provides interesting little tidbits from sources around the world. Today I found this, courtesy of agent Janet Reid.
These are my favourite bits.
ADVANCE: A secret code signalling to the marketing department whether or not to promote a title.
AGENT: An intellectual property and contract law specialist who is unable to pass the bar.
AUTHOR: A large class of individuals (approximately three times as numerous as readers) serving a promotional function in book marketing or providing make-work for editorial interns.
AUTHOR BIO: A piece of creative writing whose length varies inversely with the attractiveness of the person depicted in the AUTHOR PHOTO.
AUTHOR PHOTO: Pictorial fiction. Authors always choose photos that emphasize that quality in which they feel most deficient.
AUTHOR’S DISCOUNT: A penalty charged authors who are unable to wheedle sufficient masses of free copies, purportedly for the purpose of promotion, from their editors.
BOOK DISTRIBUTION: An elaborate system testing the commitment of readers by making sure they cannot obtain specific books too easily.
BOOK REVIEW: A recycled press release offered to publishers by newspaper and magazine sales departments as an inducement to advertising.
COMMERCIAL FICTION: The notion of publishing as a way of making money.
COMP COPIES: A publisher’s entire inventory, according to the urgings of his friends and colleagues.
COPY EDITING: A phase of publishing that requires little or no budget, is considered of slight importance, and may be omitted at the option of the publisher.
COPYRIGHT: A concept invented by lawyers as a hedge against unemployment.
DEADLINE: An item that exists to be renegotiated and revised. In his famous paradox, the Greek philosopher Zeno proved that deadlines can never be met.
EDITOR: A writer with a day job.
FANTASY: An author's sales aspirations.
FOREIGN MARKET: The part of the country outside New York City.
FOREWORD: A blurb that is placed between the covers of the book to compensate for an unmarketable author.
FRANKFURT BOOK FAIR: An annual international exhibition of artwork on paper.
MAINSTREAM FICTION: The pretense that there is a group of readers who can be reached through writing that is sufficiently unspecific as to exclude no one.
NOVELLA: A short story that has not been edited.
PRINTER'S ERROR (PE): An error made before a book goes to print.
PUBLICATION DATE (PUB DATE): A sliding holiday based on the phases of the moon.
REJECTION LETTER (FORM): A condensed restraining order serving to justify requests for SASEs.
REJECTION LETTER (PERSONAL): A formulaic literary genre, premised on justifying not reading or misreading a manuscript, in which the narrator grossly exposes both deep character flaws and an absolute blindness to them.
ROYALTY: The glamorous heads of large publishing houses, also known as GLITERATI.
SALES REP: A roaming bookstore employee retained as a buffer against publishers and authors.
SELF-PUBLISHING: Tattoo art.
SHELF LIFE: Bookworms.
SHORT STORY: A story that is seldom short enough.
SPINE: Once an essential aspect of any book, spines are no longer found in the publishing industry.
UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY: A biography in which there is no trace of original writing by an author.
UNIVERSITY PRESS: A business predicated on obtaining materials from scholars without compensating them in order to sell the same materials at high prices to scholars.
UNSOLICITED MANUSCRIPT: A manuscript that can’t sell because it includes too few salacious solicitations.
WORK-FOR-HIRE: Migrant labor.
WRONG FONT: Comic Sans.