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Writing and Publishing - What You Need to Do


Know the lingo: a words biz primer

Every career field has its own specialized language. If you want to work in writing and publishing, check out the following terms and definitions.

A sum of money paid in advance of writing, either as an installment against a writing fee, or against future royalties earned by the author.

An online website for entries or postings from an individual (or a group of individuals), often written on a particular topic or theme, in contrast to magazines. Blogs are usually presented in reverse chronological order (i.e. with the most recent entry at the top).

A property right that arises initially from authorship alone. In Canada, formal registration is not required. An author has copyright in any original literary work, whether or not it is published, except in some cases where the author has been employed to write the work. Copyright in a work remains with the author or his/her heirs for the life of the author plus 50 years, unless copyright is assigned (by sale or gift) to someone else.

A person who examines the organization, logic, argument, sentence structure, grammar, spelling or punctuation in a written work; who collects works on a particular subject for a volume on that subject; or who writes editorials in newspapers or journals.

A category of writing, such as poetry, fiction, non-fiction or drama.

A multimedia tool such as a website that allows users to select the order in which they read, view and listen to the information by clicking on hot buttons and hypertext that links one set of information to another.

Literary agent
An individual who represents an author in his or her dealings with publishers.

A book or magazine that appeals to a wide audience.

Mass market paperback
A soft-cover book intended for a general audience that is of a standard size and printed in large quantities.

The publishing of books and other media by the authors of those works, rather than by established, independent publishers.

Structural editing
To examine a piece of writing with the intent of determining the strengths and weaknesses of its organization and arguments, and making suggestions to correct those weaknesses.

Track changes
A feature in Microsoft Word that allows one person to make changes in a document that someone else has written, and to show – or track – what changes they have made.

Trade paperback
A soft-cover book that is slightly larger than a mass market paperback, and is intended to be sold in bookstores.

Web design
Design and administration of content – text, video, sound, photographs, etc. – for the Internet.

An electronic magazine that is hosted on the Internet rather than in print. Unlike a blog, which is published ad hoc, a webzine tends to be published on a regular basis (weekly, biweekly, monthly). Webzines also maintain an editorial control system whereas blogs do not.

Writers’ guidelines
Guidelines for submission of an article, book-length manuscript and other written work to a prospective publisher (usually specific to the publisher).

An inexpensively produced, self-published, underground publication. Those published exclusively online or are called e-zines, short for electronic zines, and are often distributed by e-mail.