Every now and again, it gets brought to my attention that not everyone is fluent in Pub Speak (like the time my friend told me I made about as much sense to her in an interview as her Orthopedic Surgeon husband would), especially of the ridiculously abbreviated Twitter variety. So, I figured I may as well make a quick reference sheet to be used as necessary! (And by quick, I mean quick – many of these are oversimplified and refer to only the barest bones of the meaning. Do your own research!)

MS/ms – manuscript (plural: MSS/mss)

WC – word count

MC – main character, i.e. the protagonist of any given work

LI – love interest, i.e. the romantic interest of the MC

PB – Picture Book

MG – Middle Grade, a category targeted to and featuring characters ages approximately 9-13

YA – Young Adult, a category targeted to and featuring characters ages approximately 14-18

NA – New Adult, a category targeted to and featuring characters ages approximately 18-25

Category – the targeted audience of a book; the most basic way books are shelved in stores and libraries

Genre – sub-divisions of categories indicating a book’s content, e.g. Contemporary (realistic), Fantasy, Historical

ARC – Advanced Readers Copy (promotional copies of a pre-final version of a book used to garner early reviews and sales to booksellers and librarians)


TBR – To Be Read, i.e. one’s “To Read” list

CPcritique partner

UF – Urban Fantasy

PNR – Paranormal Romance

HEA – Happily Ever After

HFN – Happy For Now (A happy ending to a romance that does not suggest the couple ends up together permanently)

OTP – One True Pairing

f/f – Female/Female romance

m/m – Male/Male romance

GFY – Gay For You (a controversial Romance trope common in m/m)

WoW – Waiting on Wednesday (a blog meme)

TTT – Top Ten Tuesday created by The Broke and the Bookish (a blog meme)

Trunk – To put away a manuscript you’ve been working on for the foreseeable future

Being/going on sub – the process of an agent submitting a writer’s manuscript to editors at various publishing houses

Querying – the process of a writer pitching agents with a “query letter” (essentially a cover letter for a book containing biographical information and a summary of the manuscript) in order to obtain representation

Form (rejection) – a rejection letter sent by an agent or editor which has not been tailored to its recipient

EQ/ER – Electronic query/electronic rejection

A partial – a request from an agent for a partial manuscript, usually either the first 3 chapters or the first 50 pages

A full – a request from an agent for a complete manuscript

R&R – Revise & Resubmit – a response from an agent or editor requiring a revision before making an offer will be considered

Ninja’d – Being privately solicited for a submission

NDA – Non-Disclosure Agreement

PM – Publisher’s Marketplace (a website which, among many other things, announces pub deals)

PW – Publisher’s Weekly (a magazine and website which, among many other things, announces pub deals)

Trad-Pub – To publish through a traditional publisher (v.), Traditional Publishing (n.)

Self, SP – To self-publish (v.)

CE – Copy Editor

Co-op – A marketing cost paid by publishing houses for prominent in-store placement in bookstores

Option – A right-of-first-refusal clause in a contract pertaining to an author’s next project

Exit clause – The clause in an agency contract that determines the requirements that need to be met in order for an agent and client to split

Pre-Empt – An offer from a publisher (generally larger/better than a typical offer) made in order to acquire a book without letting it go to auction

Auction – When publishing houses literally bid against each other in order to acquire a book

BEA – Book Expo America, an annual expo that takes place at the Javits Center in New York City at the end of May and features booths from publishers and booksellers, book signings, and pretty much everything else book-related you can imagine

RT – Romantic Times; an annual conference for Romance writers

RWA – Romance Writers of America; an association and annual conference for Romance Writers

ALA – American Library Association; two annual conference for writers and librarians

SCBWI – Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, an association for kidlit writers with two annual worldwide conferences as well as a number of regional events all year

Heard/seen other abbreviations/phrases you’d like very briefly explained? Throw them in the comments!