Know the Lingo
By Lea Schizas
There is nothing more confusing
to a writer than reading guidelines and not understanding some of the lingo. Although some of the definitions below are self-explanatory,
I’ve included them for clarity to those who weren’t sure.
All rights – this means
you give up the rights to that article to the buying editor.
An Article – this is usually
a nonfiction piece of writing on any topic – like this article you are reading.
Bio – it’s not biosphere
or biology but your very short biography (write up) as a writer. Check out my biography found at the end of this article to
get an idea.
Clip – this is simply samples
of work published in print – newspapers, magazines.
Deadline – self-explanatory:
the date you must hand in your writing assignment.
Editorial Calendar – many
magazines and online ezines set certain themes/topics they request for the whole year. It gives you a heads up what to write
Filler – not filler up
but 1 – 3 paragraphs of writings that venues use to fill in their space. Take a look at Reader’s Digest to get
an idea: humor, jokes, etc.
First rights – not to your
first born, but first rights given to a magazine to publish your piece exclusively. In other words, they will be the first
ones to showcase it for a specified time as agreed upon.
Guidelines – that all important
page where editors tell you exactly what they’re seeking, how to format, where to send, and to whom. Sway from these
guidelines and you risk rejection.
Hook – a hook is the opening
statement in an article or the beginning of your story, the part that hooks your reader to want to continue the read.
Kill Fee – this is not
an actual mobster fee but a fee offered by some magazines when your article has been accepted but for some reason never gets
Masthead – although it
sounds like something belonging on a ship, it’s not. A masthead is where the names of the editors, writers, cover artists,
etc. are found in the beginning of any magazine/ezine.
MS – simply put: manuscript.
If you see MSS: manuscripts
Multiple Submissions –
this is when you send more than one article/story to the same editor. Read their guidelines carefully because many frown on
On Spec – when first starting
off writing articles, many editors might want to see you work (on speculation) and judge whether or not to use it.
Pays on acceptance – something
a writer loves to hear. This means as soon as an editor agrees to accept your work, you will get paid once the contract is
send, signed, and delivered back to them.
Pays on publication – better
than nothing but pays on acceptance is always best. This means payment will be issued once your article has been published.
Query – the dreaded part
for most writers. Think of the query as your sales pitch to get an editor/agent interested in seeing your work.
Reprints – self-explanatory.
Reprints are articles that have previously been published. There are some magazines and ezines that accept reprints for lesser
Second rights – articles
that have previously been published and the first right time frame has elapsed, can now be offered to others as reprints.
Sidebar – these are either
graphs, charts, or/and informational boxes you see on the side of an article. They are like ‘sidekicks’ to support
the basic article.
Simultaneous Submission –
this is something many editors frown on so please make sure to check their guidelines. This is when you send one work to several
editors at the same time.
Now that you know the lingo,