Freelance glossary, writer's glossary, after the byline, writing. writing for beginners

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.


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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