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20 Terms Every Freelance Writer Should Know

April 20, 2018

With so much information readily available, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole when researching a career in freelance writing. Factor in a whole slew of unfamiliar terminology and a new freelance writer can be quickly overwhelmed. I have been writing for a few months now and still today, I ran across a term that was new to me. When learning something new a glossary is always a good place to start.

Glossary

Byline – A line at the beginning of a written piece that names the writer of the article.

Consumer Publication –  The magazines on the newsstand and their online counterpart.

Copy – Written text intended for publication.

Copywriting – Writing text for use in advertising and marketing.

Dummy Copy – Also known as filler text. Dummy Copy is text that has the characteristics of language, but it does not make sense to the reader. A placeholder.

Evergreen – Content that will always be relevant.

FOB/BOB – Front Of Book/Back of Book – Short articles published in the front or back of the magazine.

Feature Article – A newspaper or magazine article that takes an in-depth look at a particular topic.

Hook – The introduction to a written piece that is intended to grab the reader’s attention.

Kicker –  Conclusion of the article. The purpose of which is, to sum up the piece and leave the reader with something to think about.

Kill Fee – Fee paid to the writer if the assigned article doesn’t make it to publication due to space, breaking news etc. Usually a percentage of the total payment that is initially agreed upon.

Lead/ Lede – The opening paragraph of a written work that summarizes its main ideas.

On Spec – On speculation. Writing something without the guarantee of publication.

Op-Ed – Opposite Editorial. Also called an opinion piece. The purpose of which is to present another point of view or an answer to another piece within the newspaper.

Over The Transom –  A piece that the writer was not asked to write. The writer sends it in with the hopes of getting it published.

Pitch – A proposal in which the writer presents the idea for an article and why they are the best person to write it.

Query –  A letter that is written to an editor to discern interest in an idea or article.

Slush Pile – Group of articles or query letter that have been rejected.

Well – The middle of the publication where longer, in-depth pieces can be found.

White Space – White space between words and paragraphs.

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