A tongue-in-cheek glossary from U.K. editors, publishers, authors and agents
By Janice Harayda - www.janiceharayda.com
The U.K. publishing industry has its own subset of words and phrases that deflect embarrassing or inconvenient realities. A few appeared in my American-accented “40 Publishing Buzzwords, Clichés and Euphemisms Decoded” and “More Publishing Buzzwords,” which gathered highlights from witty translations submitted at the Twitter hashtag #pubcode last year. Other examples of the British talent for indirection surfaced yesterday in a new wave of definitions at #publishingeuphemisms. Here are some of the best of those late arrivals (a list that excludes a few tweets that gave off an intentional or unintentional whiff of those posted in 2011), followed by the decoder’s name.
“ahead of its time”: “It bombed” Julie Bertagna, author of Exodus and other young-adult novels
“All our focus is on the paperback”: “The hardback tanked” Jonny Geller, literary agent
“eminently marketable”: “This author looks fit” Catherine Fox, author of Angels and Men, Scenes From Vicarage Life and other books
“an exciting new children’s author”: “edited to within an inch of its life so no parents can possibly be offended” Iain Paton, writer
“for fans of [insert bestselling author name]”: “Normally eat smoked salmon? Try some tinned” Rhian Davies, judge for CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger.
“has worked as a gravedigger, ambulance driver, and llama-shearer”: “had a gap year” Christopher Wakling, author of The Devil’s Mask and other novels
“Here are all my corrections!”: ”(Except all the ones I’m going to email you everyday until sign off date.)” Cathy Hurren, production editor and MA student
“I’m hard at work”: “I’m on Twitter” David Hebblethwaite, critic and blogger
“’I'm under such pressure for space”: “It didn’t deserve a review on my page” MaryB (@marysbookstuff on Twitter), “many hats.”
“in their own words”: “in the ghostwriter’s words” Iain Paton, writer
“Just a couple of tiny changes needed”: “I’m about to send you 27 pages of edits.” Jill Mansell, author of A Walk in the Park and other novels
‘”literary-commercial cross-over”: “Has a plot but not too many adverbs” Nina Bell, author of Lovers and Liars and other novels
“The manuscript is nearly finished”: “I’m up to chapter 3” Karen Wheeler, former fashion editor of a British newspaper and the author of Tout Sweet: Hanging Up My High Heels for a New Life in France and other books.
“The new Tom Clancy”: “Jane’s Military technical specifications with occasional action” Iain Paton, writer
“No woman has nipples like strawberries: “I don’t get out much” Martin Pilcher (Igor Zap), writer
“The novel never quite reached the huge potential of its promise”: “Your pitch letter was better than the book” Jonny Geller, literary agent
“Sorry but our list is currently closed”: “We are too busy chasing celebrity deals to bother with hoi-polloi” Carole Matthews, author of Wrapped Up in You and other books
“There is such excitement in-house”: “My assistant loved it” Jonny Geller
“This novel really challenges convention”: “including spelling and basic grammar” Phoenix Yard Books, an independent children’s publisher
“This doesn’t fit in my current list”: “The restraining order is in the post” Cath Bore, writer
“We’re not sure a head shot will work on the jacket”: “Look in a mirror” Christopher Wakling , novelist
“We’ve changed the pub date to give the book the best exposure”: “We’ve f*cked up the schedule.” Jane Judd, literary agent
“You seem to have fallen through the net”: “We don’t send cheques unless we’re forced to.” Rosy Cole, author of The Wolf and the Lamb
“Your novel isn’t right for us at this time” = “or any time luv” Cath Bore
Janice Harayda has been the book columnist for Glamour, the book editor of the Plain Dealer, and a vice-president of the National Book Critics Circle. One-Minute Book Reviews is ranked one of the top 40 book blogs by Technorati and top 40 book-review blogs by Alexa Internet was named one of New Jersey’s best blogs by New Jersey Monthly.
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