Freelance Writers Guide to the Lingo

As you become a Freelance Writer, you will start to find yourself surrounded by an array of jargon and ‘lingo’ that is the first language of magazine staff and editors.

Here are 10 terms, in alphabetical order, that you might benefit from being aware of:

  • BACK OF THE BOOK (BOB):  Short articles/copy that appear in the final third of the magazine.  These are usually shorter than features, but longer than the small articles at the front of a magazine (see FOBS).

  • BOOK:  The magazine.

  • CLIP:  Examples of your work, such as photocopies of published articles (or copy).

  • COPY:  Your article.

  • EDITORIAL CALENDER:  A map of the upcoming issues of a publication, including themes and specific planned features.

  • EVERGREEN:  An evergreen article/copy is one that can be printed any time and is not dependent on time of year, news headlines, events, etc.

  • FILLER:  Content that is used to fill blank spaces in a magazine.

  • FRONT OF BOOK (FOB):  Small, snappy, newsy articles intended to draw the reader in.

  • LEAD TIME:  The time between having your pitch accepted and completion of the production process (i.e. to see your copy on the shelves in December, you probably need to start pitching in June, depending on magazine lead times).

  • QUERY:  Your pitch.

More to follow at a later date.

Categories: Writing/Publishing


8 replies

  1. Thanks, Nicola, I’d never come across some of these before.

  2. I never realised clippings meant actual bits of paper! I always imagined writers just said what they’d had published where – that’s what I do with fiction. I suppose it makes sense though as if you just pitch an idea rather than a finished piece, the editor won’t know what your writing style is like.

  3. Hi Patsy. When I first started out, I thought clippings were perhaps links to previous work. However, they are photocopies – to prove that they are in that particular magazine. It is all a learning experience.

  4. This is helpful Nicola, thank you – I need all the help I can get in trying to pretend that I know what I’m talking about! Hehe.

  5. Don’t we all, Vanessa! Good luck with your writing 🙂

  6. Thanks…this is very useful! 🙂


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