Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Author

Author Speak

Authors Requesting a Favor

There’s been a lot of drama surrounding Ellora’s Cave (EC) since August 2014 and I will not speak to that. My books were reverted at the cost of my unpaid royalties so I’m out but there are some authors who are not. Those authors have a request to their readers.

**** Shiloh Walker on Twitter, pointing out her blog post request ****

**** Denise A. Agnew on Twitter ****

**** Lacey Thorn on Facebook ****

**** Titania Ladley on Twitter ****

**** Ann Jacobs on Twitter ****

**** Regina Carlysle on Twitter ****

**** Barbara Huffert on her website ****
Note: As of 10 Dec 2015, the two below screencaps are the front page of her website. Because this is not a blog post or a tweet, this announcement can be removed at any time to make room for other announcements.

Note: This list is not exhaustive by any means. As more requests come my attention, I will update. The screen captures above are linked back to their sources, which are shared on public platforms. The authors did not ask that I compile this list. I’m doing it on my own because I have too much free time on my hands.

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Author Speak for Readers: Book Lengths

Sometimes readers get confused by the terminology authors use to describe the length of their book. Authors measure books in word count, not page count because page count can be manipulated by changing the font, font size or margins (as any college student can tell you).

The general rule is that one standard page in a mass market print book holds 250 words. That is a rough estimate, but to give the non-authors reading this post a general idea, I’ll use that as a standard of measure when calculating word count to page count.

Author Speak: Book Lengths

mass market = This term refers to the physical size of the book, not the number of pages or its distribution (though it used to indicate the distribution as well). This is the standard book size to which everyone is familiar.

trade paperback = This term refers to the larger 6×9 (or thereabouts) titles usually put out by small press publishers when they take their books to print.

Note: Mass Market costs less to the reader, but more for the publisher to produce because the print run (number of books created) has to be high, like up in the thousands. Trade paperback costs less for the publisher, but more for the reader because the print run is shorter.

Before I start the next section, I have to say that these numbers are ROUGH estimates and will cross each other. There is no set rule anywhere about word counts. It changes from one publisher to the next, though they all try to stay in the same ballpark.

Short Story = Between 1000 to 15,000 words (4 to 60 pages) – In high school, my English teacher described a short story as any book that could be read in one sitting. For a person like me who will devote an 8hr day to reading a novel cover to cover, that definition just isn’t accurate any longer.

Novella = 10,000 to 50,000 words (40 to 200 pages) – Why such a big overlap with Short Story? Who knows. It might be partially due to the slowly fading category of Novelette (mentioned below).

Novel = 45,000 to 100,000+ (180 to 400+ pages) – I would note here the average novel (standard size) is usually between 80,000 to 100,000 words. When publishers (especially Big6) are looking for a Novel, they are targeting that range.

There is also the term Novelette, which fits between Short Story and Novella, but no one in my acquaintance uses it so I think the word is dropping out of the vernacular… so far as Romance is concerned.

You know the counts, now here’s the significance. Many authors (myself included) report our writing progress on blogs and social networks. In an ideal 8hr day (no interruptions and the words are flowing), an author can put down between 5000 to 10,000 words. Again, it depends on the author. Some will do less. Some will do a lot more.

But the majority of us have real life with which to contend, so a daily (or however often) word count of 1000 to 3000+ words is doing well. I aim for 5000 words but am happy if I can hit 3000 words. If I hit 8000 words, I’m overjoyed and probably starving and dehydrated because I didn’t stop writing to nourish myself.

Author Speak for Readers: A What?

Today’s author speak is a post about the things authors say that makes readers think we’re nuts. We are but these words and phrases just reenforce that fact.

Author Speak: Come again. A what?

plot bunny = One of my favorites and I use it often. This term refers to a story idea that appears out of nowhere and won’t leave the author alone until they give in and write it. It’s called a bunny because story ideas like this multiply fast.

pantser = There are two types of writers. This is the first and it’s first because I am one. The term refers to an author writing by the seat of their pants. The author doesn’t know where the story is going until it gets there.

plotter = This is the second type of writer. This term refers to authors who outline every detail of the book (or the majority of the details) from word one Chapter One to “The End.” And yes, most times they use an actual outline.

sub or subbed = Short for submission or submitted. Refers to the manuscript that is ready to be handed over to an agent/editor for consideration or the act of having handed over the manuscript for consideration. Depends on context.

climax = In a sex scene, it means orgasm. When an author uses it in reference to a book (unless they are talking about a sex scene), it means the high point of the book — the pivotal moment.

edits = This can refer to content edits or line edits. It is a noun referring to the situation, not a verb. Content edits are the first set of edits an author receives from their editor. It tightens up the story, trims the “fat,” and fixes the grammar to the house style. Content edits can be a single round (editor hands it to the author, the author makes changes, and then sends them back) or several rounds (usually no more than three). Line edits are when a second editor goes through the story checking for anything the content editor and/or author might have missed.

ARC = Advanced Reading Copy – Always capitalized. I didn’t include this with acronyms because it goes with this set of words. As the name implies, it is a copy of the book in advance of its release. In the case of Big6, an ARC is usually a partially edited copy of the book meant to drum up enthusiasm for the coming title.

finals = No, the authors aren’t doing exams. This refers to the book’s finished format. For an e-author, it means the final book formats — PDF, HTML, ePub, LIT, etc.

house style = Most publishing houses conform to CMoS (the Chicago Manual of Style), which is a large encyclopedia of grammar. Sometimes CMoS has an either/or situation where either grammar or punctuation form is acceptable. A publishing house will choose, for consistencies sake, to use only one of the forms for all their books.

Author Speak for Readers: Industry Terms #1

It’s time for another author speak post. This time around are words and phrases that deal with the industry, or job of writing/being an author.

Author Speak: Industry #1

Big6 (soon to be Big5) = This term refers to the main six (soon to be five) publishing houses: Simon & Schuster (Pocket), Hachette Book Group (Grand Central and Orbit), HarperCollins (Avon), MacMillan (Tor and Forge), Penguin Group (Jove, NAL, and Ace), and Random House… which Penguin and Random will soon be merging, hence why I said soon to be five.

Note: I have no clue why Harlequin and Kensington are not considered part of the Big6, but they aren’t.

Small Print Press or Small Press = This phrase refers to… well… small publishing houses. This is not a knock against their size or how many books they put out. If Big6 is equivalent to Wal-mart then small press are the “family-owned, local” stores. Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Changeling Press, Loose Id, Siren-Bookstrand, etc. Pretty much any e-pub is a small press.

query = A prepared set of documents meant to sell a title to a publishing house or agent. Usually included is a query letter, synopsis, and a partial manuscript or the full manuscript.

query letter = Say this phrase and most authors cringe. This letter (usually a single page) is a quick intro of a book with a sales pitch the author hopes will intrigue an agent or publisher enough for them to ask to read the manuscript. Some publishers and agents only want a query letter and will accept or reject a manuscript based on it.

synopsis = A two to five page summation of the ENTIRE book. Yes, including the ending. The synopsis is written for the benefit of the publisher/agent, not the general public. It is meant to show setting, character and plot development, and the story conclusion. Basically the Cliff Notes before a busy agent/editor commits to reading the full manuscript.

blurb or back cover copy = A two to five paragraph explanation of the book meant to entice readers into wanting to read the rest of the book. Basically a movie trailer for a book.

partial = This refers to a short excerpt from a manuscript that agents or editors request in order to judge if they want to read more of the book. Industry standard is the first three chapters or the first fifty pages (double-spaced, one-inch margins, standard font). Some agents/editors ask for more, some less.

agent = The liaison or middleman between an author and a publishing house. For authors to be accepted at a Big6 publishing house, they must first sign with an agent. The agent sells the book to one of the publishers in Big6 and helps negotiate contract terms.

logline / log line or tag line = A single sentence (sometimes two sentence) hook meant to sum up the book’s plot in a way that catches the reader’s attention so they want to read more. Usually the italicized sentence before the blurb starts.

backlist or book list = A list of the author’s published works. Usually called a Bookshelf when people visit an author’s site. Amongst authors, it’s known as a backlist.

Author Speak for Readers: Abbreviations #1

Yup, I’m changing my line up yet again. Just trying to keep you all on your toes. 😛

I decided to do author-speak for readers. Every professional has its own language. People in that professional tend to forget that everyone else in the world has no idea what they are talking about. The same goes with authors.

Once we learn the lingo of the job, it’s hard to use any other terms. As such, a reader might get lost talking to us. So the next few Thursday are going to feature author-speak explained. Some of it might be “duh” and some of it might be “oh, is that what that means.” Hopefully everyone will get something worthwhile out of this.

Let us begin…

Author Speak: Abbreviations #1

ms = manuscript – Referring to the document file of the written story (finished or unfinished). Usually written in lowercase.

mss = manuscripts (plural)

POV = point of view – The character’s perspective within the story. Also know as the character’s voice in the narration.

WIP = Work(s)-in-progress – The story currently under production. Readers (and authors) have a TBR pile. Authors have a WIP pile.

SRE = Strong Romantic Elements – a story where the central focus is not the romance of the main characters, however there is a love relationship present and the characters have an HEA/HFN.

HEA = happily ever after – the story ends with the main characters living… well you get the picture.

HFN = happy for now – those authors a little more realistic/cynical in their writing will sometimes leave the main characters with a happy for now ending. Things might change a few years down the line, but the book has ended while they are still happy, in love, and together.

TBA = to be announced

* In Story Descriptions *

MF or M/F (same thing) = male / female – a story featuring a man and woman in a relationship

MM or M/M = male / male – a story featuring a gay (male) couple.

MMF or M/M/F = male / male / female – a story featuring a menage relationship where the two heroes are in a sexual relationship with each other as well as the heroine.

MFM or M/F/M = male / female / male – a story featuring a menage relationship where the two heroes share a sexual relationship with heroine but not each other.

MFMF or M/F/M/F = male / female / male / female – a story featuring two MF couples in a relationship together where the men do not engage each other sexually and neither do the women. Usually husband/wife-swapping.

MMFF or M/M/F/F = male / male / female / female – a story featuring two heroes and two heroines who are in sexual relationships with all members of the group. This type of story could indicate two established couples getting together as in MFMF or simple a group of four getting together.

Note: The order of the letters is important. MFM and MMF (or FMF and FFM) are NOT the same or interchangeable.

And I’m not going to go into the lesbian equivalents of the above. The definitions are all the same except with women instead of men.

And that’s the end of the first batch of abbreviations. As I remember/recall more, I’ll add them to the next Abbreviations post.

Hope this helped.