Glossary

This list will grow until I can’t add no more. Enjoy!

All the ways to describe a book by audience:

  • board book – Illustrated. Hard “board” format. Meant to take abuse. Could probably survive weapons of mass destruction like toddlers.
  • emergent reader – extremely simple and fully illustrated books with teeny-tiny word counts. Meant for children just beginning to read. An example? Check out any book in this Candlewick series Brand New Readers.
  • easy reader (leveled reader, early reader)– for kids beginning to read. I CAN READ books fall in this category. Typically 50% text, 50% illustration. Page counts are fairly standard (32 pages, 48, etc.,)
  • chapter book, transitional chapter book – the book that’s not a full-blown novel or a picture book. Often series books. Examples Franny K. Stein, Geronimo Stilton. Written for young kids who can read on their own. Typically 2nd-4th graders. Depends.
  • middle-grade novels – meant for an 8 to 12-year-old audience. Example: Millicent Min, Girl Genius
  • novels -what you first think of when you hear the word “novel”. Novels are usually geared toward middle-grade and teen audiences since those are the folks that can handle a book that long.
  • picture book – filled with pictures! 32 pages. Some are 48, some in between. A kind of book you’d read to your child. Not a book a child would necessarily read on their own. Usually written for ages 4-8. Example: Cowboy Camp.
  • teen or young adult novels– meant for a 13 and up audience. Example: Storky: How I Lost My Nickname and Won the Girl
  • tween book – probably a middle grade novel, but further defines the age group to something in the 10 to 12-year-old audience

Common ways to describe books:

  • action adventure – think spies, superheros, journeys to exotic lands
  • chick-lit – think girly books, pink, boys, boys, and boys
  • commercial – has universal appeal, accessable, suitable for the masses, tons of marketing potential (e.g., movies, licensed products like toys, etc.,). Think money, money, money.
  • contemporary – today, now, set in current times
  • fantasy – think made-up worlds, dragons, wizards – many elements are “make-believe”
  • gothic –think vampires, gargoyles, cathedral, darkness
  • historical fiction –stories set in the past that usually have to do with a historical event like the Plague, Holocaust, Japanese internment
  • literary – like fine wine, deep, high quality, not everyone may “get it”, has a certain importance or meaning
  • mystery/suspense – whodunnits, major points are left unknown until the end
  • paranormal –think ghosts, mediums, psychic powers
  • problem novel – think “Whoa, now there’s an issue!” Typically a book that tackles something pretty big like dead mothers, anorexia, rape, racism, child abuse, etc.,
  • series, sequels – books in a series typically go on forever, like until the series popularity dies. Think Animorphs, Magic Tree House. Sequeled books will have a story arc that branches across the books. Like Harry Potter.

Words to describe the book market and/or publishers:

  • trade – books sold to bookstores like Barnes & Noble and independents. The best in quality. Higher price points. Hardcover and paperback.
  • mass market – books usually printed as paperbacks with cheaper quality paper and sold at lower price points. Books you might find at a drug store, Walmart, gas station (glamorous!).
  • school and library – this one kind of speaks for itself but keep in mind trade books are also sold to schools and libraries. But there are many school and library books that are not sold to “the trade”. Kind of explains why you don’t find teacher materials or textbooks at B&N.

Submission stuff

  • author bio – a couple of graphs MAX about who you are
  • cover letter – formatted like a business letter. It’s purpose is to put something official-looking on top of your manuscript if the editor or agent has requested your work.
  • outline – a chapter-by-chapter summary of your book- few sentences per chapter, max. Almost always reads like a run-down of events. That is not to say you can’t make it interesting!
  • partial or partial submission – a submission to an editor or agent where only a part of the manuscript was sent. Like three chapters or first twenty-five pages.
  • query letter – formatted like a business letter. It’s purpose is to briefly pitch your work to it’s intended recipient (be it agent or editor). Can be sent alone or accompany manuscripts.
  • synopsis – a ONE page summary of your book – beginning, middle, and end. Written in third person, present tense. The synopsis should be interesting to read and clearly spell out what happens in the book without belaboring it.
  • slush pile – where your unsolicited manuscript goes when you send it off to a publisher.
  • SASE – self-addressed stamped envelope
  • SASP – self-addressed stamped postcard

Acronyms and Psuedonyms:

  • Blue Board – Verla Kay’s message board
  • CP – critique partner
  • CWIM – Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market
  • HP – Harry Potter
  • MC – main character
  • MG – middle grade
  • ms, MS, mss – manuscript or manuscripts
  • PB – picture book
  • SASE – self-addressed stamped envelope
  • SASP – self-addressed stamped postcard
  • SCBWI – Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
  • YA – young adult
  • Yellow Board – Write for kids message board

Order WRITING FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS: A CRASH COURSE

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