If you follow your favorite authors on FB, their blogs, or Twitter you might hear them toss around words like HEA, SWAG, WIP, pantsing. What does it all mean? For those not familiar with author jargon–I’m here to help!
Author Lingo Glossary
ARC – Advanced Review Copy. An early pre-published version of an author’s book that is sent out for review.
Ebook – An electronic book that is read on some sort of computer device as opposed to print. Ebook does not mean self-published. An ebook can be published by Random House or HarperCollins, by an established ebook publisher such as Ellora’s Cave or Loose Id–or can be self-published. Ebook only refers to the electronic format.
HEA – Happily Ever After. The ending of a romance when the hero and heroine end up together forever.
HFN – Happy For Now. The hero and heroine of a romance end up together, and it’s happy, but their future is not set in stone.
Indie—Independently published. Typically used to describe one who is self-published. Some people use this term to refer to e-book publishing houses as well.
K—the number of words in thousands that an author has written. If an author says she “did 3K,” she hasn’t run a race, she’s written 3,000 words on her manuscript. K is a metric term meaning 1,000 (Kilo).
M/M—A romance between two males. In general, this is a romance between two gay men that is targeted to a heterosexual female audience.
M/F/M, M/M/F – A ménage a trois. M stands for male, F for female. The order of the M & Fs is significant. M/F/M indicates the men have sex only with the female. M/M/F indicates there is sexual activity between the males as well as with the female.
NaNo, NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. Every November writers can sign up and pledge to write 50,000 words during that month. That’s a lot of writing!
New Adult – Fiction that is aimed at adults in their early 20s. The characters are about that age and face the issues that adults that age deal with. Not to be confused with Young Adult, which features teenagers.
Novel – a work of fiction that is at least 50,000 words (and generally longer. A typical novel would be about 70-80K).
Novelette—A story that is between 7,500 word and 20K. Less than 7,500 words would be a short story.
Novella—A short novel, ranging from 20,000 words to about 50,000 words (although some people put the upper limit at 40K).
Pantser—One who does not plan out their story in advance before writing. Stands for writing by the seat of one’s pants.
Plotter—One who does plan out a story in advance. Often in great detail.
POV—Point of View. The perspective of the story though the eyes of one character. POV does shift from chapter to chapter or scene to scene, but in general it is considered poor writing to shift POV within a scene. Sometimes inexperienced writers shift POV without realizing they are doing it.
Smexy—A romance that is considered to be “smart” and “sexy.”
SWAG. An author’s promotional items. Stands for Stuff We All Get.
WIP – Work in Progress. The story the author is writing.
YA – Fiction targeted to a “young adult” audience and/or is written with young adult characters. Young adult is a euphemism for adolescent, although many adults read YA. Twilight is YA novel. Fifty Shades of Grey is not.
Finally, I’d like to demystify word count/book length. Authors frequently talk about the length of their books in terms of how many words it is. But how many pages is that? The problem is that the number of pages varies depending on the physical dimensions of a print book, the font size, and leading (space between the lines). A paperback, large trade paperback, and hardback will all have different pages lengths. And an ebook? There is no page length. So word count is a more accurate measure of book length. But readers think in terms of pages. So how do you get a gauge of length?
By converting word length to manuscript pages or how the work would appear on 8 ½ by 11 inch paper. One manuscript page holds 250 words. So divide the number of words by 250 to get the number of pages.
10K ÷ 250 = 40 pages (novelette)
30K ÷250= 120 pages (novella)
50K ÷ 250 = 200 pages (novel)
What other author terms you would like demystified?