Romy's Blog

Publishing Terms for Beginners: P

In this month's post in the series of Publishing Terminology, we have a bumper crop of words, all starting with the letter P.

Pantser - a writer who 'flies by the seat of their pants', meaning that they don't plan the story ahead (or plan very little).

Partial - a common term for a partial submission to an editor / agent, consisting of a query letter, synopsis and sample pages (usually the first three chapters).

Permissions - acquiring the right to use part of an existing copyrighted material (eg. poem, book excerpt, music lyrics) within another work, usually for a fee.

Plot - a succession of events or actions in a story.

Podcast - an audio broadcast available on the Web to the public for free downloading.

Pre-empt - a pre-auction offer from a publisher. Auctions are usually run by literary agents on behalf of their authors.

Point of View (POV) - narrative style in which the author writes in first person, third person, or omniscient POV. POV also refers to the author's choice of which character the reader experiences the story through.

Print on Demand (POD) - a publishing arrangement in which books are printed only once the orders are placed. Used by smaller traditional publishers and by self publishers.

Proofreading - a final read-through of the manuscript, usually focused on cleaning up any typographical errors (typos) before the manuscript is typeset. Incorrect grammar, punctuation, spelling or word usage is also checked.

Protagonist - the main / leading character (hero or heroine) or one of the major characters in a fictional work.

Purple prose - text that is so extravagant or flowery as to break the reader's flow and draw excessive attention to itself. Characterised by an excessive and often unnecessary use of adjectives, adverbs and metaphors.

Can you think of any other terms starting with P that should be included here? Heard a term, and you're not sure what it means? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.

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