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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Deciphering the Code - A Beginner’s Journey to Publishing - Guest blog by Terrie Thorpe

Today I'll be handing over my blog to another writer as part of a continuing "how to" series on publishing. I will be interweaving these columns with my author interviews to help my readers learn and grow in their writing craft. And now here's Terrie and her thoughts on publishing.

It’s been three years since I finally decided to get serious about submitting my stories and articles for publication.  Being a web-a-phobic, I began with what I knew about research, visiting the public library. I found a plethora of how to’s on publishing, but none explained the terminology. It’s a secret language of editors and publishers that I needed to learn.

At first, the phrases boggled my mind. What in the world we’re they referring too?  It’s been a few years since my journalism days in high school, but those terms didn’t even strike a chord in the file cabinets of my mind.

Diving deeper into this new terminology, I begin by relating this new language to things I already knew. It wasn’t long before I began to decipher the code. Submitting articles to a publisher is similar to looking for a job, which I am quite familiar with. The terms started to fall into place, it was easy to equate publishing terminology with job-related terms such as:

Publisher: The person or organization that buys, prints, and pays for your work- Similar to your employer or organization who employs you.

Editor: The person who reviews your work and matches it with their product line – Similar to a supervisor or manager who does the interviewing to see if you are a fit for the company

Genre: The type of audience you want to reach – Similar to your field of expertise.

Query Letter: The letter of introduction to the editor describing what you are writing and why it should be of interest to them –Similar to a job seeker submitting a cover letter to an application.

Guidelines: The specific requirements to submit your work for consideration – Similar to a job listing detailing the scope of the job, hours and days of the week they are seeking.

Agent: A professional that connects your work to an editor or publisher – Similar to an employment agency that finds work for you, for a fee.

Simultaneous Submission: Submitting an article/story to several publishers for consideration – Similar to sending a resume to several employers.

Subsidy Publishing: A company that will publish your work, but you pay all the costs – Similar to self employment, you’re the boss, but absorb all the risks and costs.

Proposal: Marketing package for a book that describes your story, audience, competition, your credentials- Similar to a resume which describes your interest in their company, work history and education.

POD: Print on Demand. Rather than paying for books to be printed in advance, they are only printed when ordered by the consumer. Similar to ordering food at fast food outlets which don’t make it until you order it.

ISBN: The International Standard Book Number is a unique numeric indentifier for a book. Every book sold needs to have one. Similar to your credit card number which is unique to you and the banking company.

TOC: Table of contents. This shows your prologue, each of your chapter headings, and bibliography index if needed with a non-fiction. – Similar to writing a term paper.

This is the short list in the beginner’s journey into the publishing world. There is still a good deal to learn about the legalities of publishing and your copyright protection under the law. Learning the basics of any career can be an exciting adventure. After discovering the Rosetta stone, it’s not such a scary place after all.

Terrie Thorpe lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of 22 years. Is a member of, ACW and other writing organizations.  Here's the link to her blog.

Am I Really Saved? Answering Questions of Christians - her book is available through (


  1. Interesting guest post. Sometimes all the terms in the writing world are confusing, especially to a new writer. Your explanations are right on, Terrie.

    Thanks for inviting Terrie to post, Christine.

  2. Thank you Beverly! It's my pleasure to help clear the smoke away for those new to writing. Christine is a blessing to me. I look forward to other guest blogger lineup she's worked so hard on :)

  3. Can't wait for more of your series, Christine. Thanks, Terrie!

    1. Just dropped by your site as well and read your interview. Hope you'll come by for other interviews and tips as well.