Romy's Blog

Publishing Terms for Beginners: F

Today's post in my regular monthly series on publishing terminology looks at words starting with the letter F. And no - that word you're thinking of isn't one of them!

Fair Use - the legal principal that portions of copyrighted materials may be used without permission of the copyright owner (or a payment to the copyright owner) provided the use is 'fair and reasonable, does not substantially impair the value of the materials, and does not curtail the profits reasonably expected by the owner'. This includes verbatim quotes used for criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, amongst others.

Film option - an Option Agreement is a contract that allows a producer (studio, production company or individual) to obtain the film rights to a book, play or screenplay for a period of time with the goal of making it into a film. This does not mean that your book will be made into a film. About 99% of optioned material never makes it into production! (But it can be a rather nice extra bit of income for the author)

Folio - the actual page number printed at the top or bottom of each page in the final printed version of a book.

Form letter - a letter template used by agents and editors to send generic, automatic letters or emails (usually rejections) to authors.

Foreign rights - in a publishing agreement, this is the legal right to publish and sell your work in a foreign country, including but not limited to the right to translate your book into foreign languages.

Foreign rights agent - a literary agent who specialises in selling the books their agency represents to foreign markets (ie. every market excluding the home market).

Formatting - the process by which the design team (or self publishing author!) lays out the manuscript to create correctly laid out book pages.

Frontlist - a term used by publishers and booksellers, this refers to the books they are releasing in the current season and which are featured in their latest catalogue.

Front matter - Everything that goes before the opening chapter of the book - title page, table of contents (TOC), dedication, copyright notices etc.

Can you think of any other terms that start with the letter F that should be included here? Have you heard a term (starting with any letter of the alphabet) that you're unsure of? Share your comments and questions below.

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