It’s finally here, awesome nerds! I have spent a month and a half working on this, and while it isn’t 100% done, it is close enough to be posted. There is still functionality to be added to the glossary, including page jumps and external links. For now, please use your browser’s “Find in page” function to jump to specific sections or related definitions.
If I have referenced something that isn’t familiar to you – Google is your friend!
These definitions were gathered from various places on the internet, and/or written by myself. Any errors are completely my own, and I welcome you to point them out by commenting or emailing me. ❤
If you would like to suggest an addition to the glossary, please comment on this post!
Affiliate Links: Links that bloggers, vloggers, and Instagrammers put in their content, leading directly to a website where you can purchase a particular item, resulting in a very small commission for the poster.
Antagonist: Typically the rival of the main character, though not always the villain. Opposite of protagonist.
ARC: Advanced Reading Copy. A publishing marketing tool.
Created months before a book is scheduled for release, ARCs are sent to other authors, journalists, bloggers, library and bookstore buyers, and even celebrities to generate hype and pre-orders. Most of the time they are a review tool to procure early praise for the novel. ARCs usually do not have the final cover art, or complete editing. It is good reviewing practice to not quote from an ARC because the passage you quote may change in the final copy. Often, the highly anticipated finale of a series will specifically not have ARCs, so spoilers will not be released to the wilds of the internet.
An eARC is an electronic Advanced Reading Copy.
Audiobook: A book that has been read aloud by someone – the author, a celebrity, or a professional narrator – and recorded. You get to listen to the story being told instead of reading the words on a page. (Still a real book.)
Backlist: A publisher’s list of older books that are still in print.
BEA: Book Expo America. The largest book convention in the United States, with a focus on book industry professionals.
Binge-read: Reading a lot of books in a relatively short amount of time. Usually used to refer to reading an entire series without reading anything else in between series books.
BIPOC: Stands for ‘Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’. If you know the person’s nationality, it is always better to use it rather than saying BIPOC.
Blog Roll: List of blogs that a blogger personally loves and/or recommends.
Blog Tour: A series of posts where multiple bloggers promote the same book on their blogs, usually in the weeks leading up to release day. These are often organized by a dedicated Blog Tour company who works directly with the publisher or the author.
Blogoversary: The anniversary of the founding of a book blog.
Blurb: Quote from a book critique that can be found on the back of a book.
Book Hangover: The feeling of not being able to read another book, because you’re still thinking of the last book you read. Can cause reading slumps.
Book Sniffing: The act of deeply inhaling the scent of paper. Creates feelings of calm, joy, and sometimes euphoria. Book Geeks can usually differentiate between types of paper (textbook, paperback, old or new etc.) and usually have a preference. Most often done in private.
Book Snob: One who condemns all literature that could be considered “popular” or mainstream. Especially hates young adult, and/or romance. Claims to have read obscure classics, and sometimes carries them on their person to prove said point. Makes irrelevant references to ancient literature during normal conversation. Disdains others choices in bookshelf layout, use of props (like glitter) in book photographs, or a reader’s choice to dog-ear their own books. May also think that physical books are the only real books. In short, an asshole. Don’t be a book snob.
Book Trailer: A short video using a mix of images, music, video, and/or voiceover, designed to create buzz for a book before it’s released.
BookCon: A convention that happens immediately after BEA, but is geared toward book geeks in general, and not industry professionals.
Bookstagram: The Instagram version of book bloggers.
BookTube: The YouTube version of book bloggers.
Calling in: The act of addressing someone’s problematic actions, with the aim of making them aware of the harm they have caused, educating them, and encouraging them to change their behavior going forward. Usually done privately, and always with care and compassion, this may create a conversation. See also: calling out
NB: Calling in takes a lot of emotional labor, and is not to be expected of any marginalized person. It can be a highly effective tool for allies to help each other do better.
Calling out: The act of addressing someone’s problematic actions, with the aim of making them aware of the harm they have caused, and the hope that they will apologize, and change their behaviour going forward. A no-nonsense and no-coddling approach. See also: calling in
Canon: Content that is officially part of the story.
Censorship: The act of suppressing, removing, and/or prohibiting content deemed obscene, politically unacceptable, unsuitable for the target audience, a threat to security, etc. from the media. (films, books, news, magazines, social media, etc.) Censorship can be conducted by various governing bodies depending on the type of media being censored, and governments also have the authority and ability to censor content to enable a bias. Censorship can also be used somewhat positively – to protect people from seeing potentially distressing words and images. Noncompliance with censorship measures often results in consequences, which vary greatly depending on the type of media, the governing body in charge, and the location of distribution of censored content. This term gets thrown around a lot after authors have been called out, which has resulted in the true meaning being misunderstood.
Classics: Describes literature that is widely acknowledged as having outstanding qualities, universal appeal, and can stand the test of time. Highly subjective.
Content Warnings: Used to indicate a particularly sensitive topic(s), and/or harmful content in a book to ensure a reader’s mental health and general wellbeing don’t suffer from reading said content without being prepared. What affects one reader will not affect another, which is why these warnings are vital. While some content warnings may also be spoilers, it is in the best interest of other readers to include them anyway. Content warnings have nothing to do with taking offence to the subject matter. Also called ‘trigger warnings’.
DNF: Stands for ‘Did Not Finish’. When you do not finish reading a book for whatever reason.
Dog-Earing: Folding the corner of a book page to keep your place. Completely acceptable to do to your own books. Please do not do this to books that you are borrowing.
Dust Jacket: The removable outer sleeve of a hardcover book. Often printed on glossy paper.
eBook: Electronic copy of a book. Still a real book.
End Papers: Found in hardback books, end papers have one half glued to the inside cover, and the other half is the first free page. Often beautifully decorated, sometimes with maps.
Epilogue: Text after the last chapter. Can be a continuation of the story line, a look into the distant future or a chapter on its own. Opposite of Prologue.
Erotica: Works of art, including literature, that deal substantively with erotically stimulating or sexually arousing descriptions. The term is a modern word that describes the portrayal of the human anatomy and sexuality with high-art aspirations, differentiating such work from commercial pornography. See also: smut
Fandom: A community that is collectively a fan of something or someone. Big fans. HUGE.
Feels: An intense wave emotion that often cannot be expressed, except with gifs or random keyboard smashes of letters.
Frontlist: A publisher’s upcoming and/or recently released titles.
FTC: The Federal Trade Commission. The FTC Act was created in an effort to prevent unfair or deceptive acts in business. As book bloggers, we can be considered marketers for books, and as such, parts of the FTC guidelines apply to us. While the FTC has no jurisdiction outside the US, it is good business practice to disclose your relationship with the publisher or author.
FTC Disclosure: An FTC disclosure is a way of revealing information about your post/review in an effort to maintain transparency and be as open and honest with your readers as possible. Sample: I received this book for free from [NetGalley and Publisher] in return for an honest review.
Genre: General term for the kind of book you are reading, usually defined by setting, theme, plot and writing style.
Guest Post: A post written for your blog by another person, such as an author or another blogger.
Hardcover: Type of book binding. The cover is made out of either heavy paper, leather or cardboard and covered with a detachable dust jacket. See also: paperback, pocket paperback
HEA: Happily ever after.
Hype: When a book is everywhere, and everyone is raving about it. Book Clubs are reading it, the movie rights have been bought, and even your distant relative (who never reads) has read it and said it’s wonderful. Generally leads to readers becoming wary of books not living up to their hype.
Imprint: A trade name under which publishers produce different kinds of works. Some imprints are for specific genres, while others are for YA books. A single publisher can have multiple imprints, and those imprints can have imprints. Everything is imprints.
Indie: Nickname for an independent or self-published author. May also refer to an independent bookstore, aka one that is not a part of a large chain.
Info Dump: Dropping a lot of background information on the reader all at once. See also Show vs. Tell
Instalove: When two characters hardly know each other, yet proclaim their undying love very quickly.
ISBN: International Standard Book Number. The number/barcode – usually on the back of a book – that makes it possible to identify your edition literally anywhere.
Live-tweet: Tweeting your reactions to a book in real time while you read it.
LGBTQQIA2+: Acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, Two-Spirit, and any other term that refers to a person’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation.
NB: This acronym has NEVER included letters to indicate straight, alloromantic, ally, or cisgender.
Love Triangle: Refers to the situation the protagonist finds themselves in when there are two love interests.
Marginalized: Any person or peoples who are subject to socioeconomic disadvantage (including severe under-representation in literature) because they are not white, Christian, straight, non-disabled, cisgender, or any combination thereof.
MC: Stands for main character
NA: Stands for New Adult. A reasonably new concept developed when writers and publishers realized that life doesn’t stop at 18. Typically features themes such as leaving home, work/career, sexuality, drug abuse, suicide, and navigating friendships after high school.
Naked: Don’t get all excited. This simply refers to a hardcover book when the dust jacket is off.
OwnVoices: Originally a Twitter hashtag coined by Corinne Duyvis, this term is meant to identify a book where the author shares one or more marginalizations with their characters. Readers and reviewers must be sensitive when critiquing a book with OwnVoices representation, as some authors are not public (or “out”) with their marginalization(s).
Pace: How fast the story progresses.
Paperback: Sometimes called softcover. In this type of bookbinding, the cover is made out of thick paper and doesn’t have a detachable dust jacket. These are generally still roughly the same size as a hardcover book, and use a heavier weighted paper for the pages. See also hardcover, pocket paperback.
Pen Name: A pseudonym adopted by an author. Sometimes used so authors can publish different genres with different styles.
Permalink: URL to a single blog post.
Plot: What happens in a novel. The story.
Pocket paperback: Sometimes called a mass-market paperback, these books are roughly 1/3 the size of a hardcover book. They are made as cheaply as possible using thinner paper for the cover and pages. See also: hardcover, paperback
POV: Point of view, usually referring to who is telling the story. A book can have multiple POVs.
Preorder: Ordering a book before its publication date. Preorder sales are a very important indicator to the publisher of a book’s success.
Problematic: A broad term referring to something that is harmful to marginalized people. In books, this can be glaringly obvious (using a racial slur, or having unchecked -isms on the page) or it can be done via more subtle microaggressions (such as the “bury your gays” trope). This term can also refer to a person (author) who says and/or does things that are harmful to marginalized people. Again, this can be blatantly obvious, or subtle microaggressions. When a marginalized person speaks out against a book or a person and says they are problematic, the best thing you can do is to listen to them.
Prologue: Text before the first chapter. Can be a chapter on its own, part of the story or taking place in it’s own timeline. Opposite of epilogue
Prose: The way an author writes. Can refer to vocabulary, style, pacing, or a combination of the three.
Protagonist: Main character. Not necessarily the hero.
Readathon: A community event where the goal is to read as many books as possible in a set amount of time. Often themed, and sometimes with special challenges.
Reading Slump: A time where you don’t feel like reading, or are unable to finish a book.
Retcon: Stands for ‘retroactive continuity’. This is when something is changed in an established narrative after it has been accepted as canon. Usually, it is because the creator has released new content that contradicts past content, but it can also be done by a statement. For example, when Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise, they issued a statement that retconned all Star Wars content (novels, comics, etc.) aside from the three original movies.
Self-publishing: The publication of a novel by the author, via a third-party publisher, rather than a professional publishing house.
Setting: Where the story takes place. Can refer to time and/or place.
Shelfie: A photo of a book geek’s collection as styled on their bookshelves. May or may not include the owner of said bookshelves.
Ship/Shipping: A “ship” is a romantic or sexual relationship (get it?) that you really want to see happen.
Show vs. Tell: Using actions or scenes in a novel to explain important information rather than just telling the reader the information.
Smut: Sexually suggestive writing. Not as detailed as erotica, but beyond PG-13.
Spoilers: A spoiler is a major plot point in a novel that is unknown to anyone who hasn’t read the book yet. Maybe a major character dies. Maybe a city is vaporized. Maybe the hero is actually the villain. While some readers seek out spoilers, a majority don’t like them, preferring to experience the story themselves. Your reviews should be free of spoilers. If you can’t review a book without disclosing spoilers, then you need to tag them accordingly, especially on social media.
Sub-Genres: Used in popular modern literature to denote smaller branches of a genre.
Swag: Items that relate to a specific book, usually given out as a part of promoting the book’s release. Examples include: buttons, stickers, enamel pins, artwork, keychains, book bags, bookmarks, and so much more!
Synopsis: A short, spoiler-free text describing what happens in a novel.
TBB: To-Be-Bought. Typically refers to your list of books that you want to purchase in the future.
TBR: To-Be-Read. Typically refers to your towering pile of unread books.
The Big Five: The five largest publishing houses – Hachette Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster.
Theme: 1. Topic of a novel 2. A blog’s visual design
Trigger Warnings: Used to indicate a particularly sensitive topic(s), and/or harmful content in a book to ensure a reader’s mental health and general wellbeing don’t suffer due to reading without being prepared. What affects one reader will not affect another, which is why these warnings are vital. While some content warnings may also be spoilers, it is in the best interest of other readers to include them anyway. Trigger warnings have nothing to do with taking offence to the subject matter. Thanks to many people not understanding that being triggered is a physiological response to past trauma, trigger warnings are more commonly called ‘content warnings’.
Trope: Commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés. Many tropes are problematic.
YA: Stands for young adult. Often mislabeled as a genre, YA generally has a protagonist aged 12-18, a faster paced story, and some sort of romantic element. Despite the name, this type of book is enjoyed by readers of all ages.
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Stay bookish, lovelies! ❤
This is so great! What a resource! This would be so helpful for new bloggers or even those who keep stumbling across some terms they haven’t been introduced to yet
[…] @ Bluestocking Bookworm launched her in-depth Book Blogger Glossary, a great resource filled with bookish terms for bloggers of any […]