A Book Blogger’s Guide to Acronyms, Terms and Slang

Posted February 24, 2017 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Let's Discuss / 74 Comments

Last week I posted about OTPs and several people said that they didn’t know the acronym. It occurred to me that there are LOTS of book blogging terms that aren’t particularly obvious. When I first started out as a blogger, I often stared in puzzlement at words or acronyms that meant nothing to me. Heck, even nowadays I still run across terms I’m not sure about. I thought it might be fun to try to gather together as many of these as I could and explain them … for those of us just starting out or anyone who’s not sure what some of these mean!

Bookish Relationship Terms:

OTP: One True Pairing (that couple that you will root for till the end of time)
FM: Fated Mates (the couple that’s fated for each other)
NOTP: (Pronounced No-TP) Basically the opposite of an OTP. You do not want this couple together!
BROTP/Bromance: A friendship (between guys) that you adore!
Ship: If you ship a couple, it means that you want them to get together (comes from the word “relationship”).
HEA/HFN: Happily Ever After/Happy for Now
Book Boyfriend/Girlfriend: The fictional boy (or girl) you only wish could be your real-life love.
Insta-love/Insta-lust: The phenomenon that happens all too often in books when the couple meets and instantly falls in love (or, sometimes, lust).
Love Triangle: When the main character can’t decide between two romantic partners—most frustrating when this is drawn out for multiple books in a series.
Slash Fiction: A type of fan fiction where two same-sex characters are paired together (often guys). Sometimes slash can just refer to the imagined pairing of two same-sex characters (not necessarily within fan fiction).
OMYM/OWYM: Older man, younger woman/Older woman, younger man

Other Reading Emotion Terms:

The Feels: This means that you were overwhelmed with emotion when reading the book often meaning that lots of different emotions were involved. It’s high praise to say that a book gave you all the feels!
Book Hangover: When a book leaves you emotionally drained. Often this leads to the reader not being able to jump right into another book and sometimes leads to a …
Reading Slump/Blogging Slump: Feeling uninspired to read and/or blog. Or sometimes just a slump where you read a string of underwhelming books or post a bunch of unimaginative posts.
Mood Reader/Free-Range Reader: Someone who typically picks up a book based on their current mood or just picks up whatever they feel like in the moment. In contrast, many bloggers have reading schedules (either based on ARCs to review or challenges).

Reading/Reviewing Terms:

TBR: To-Be-Read. The books that you plan to read, sometimes imminently (or sometimes just all of the random books you’ve ever wanted to read). Often refers to the shelf on Goodreads
DNF: Did not finish. (A book you started to read but couldn’t get through.)
RTC: Review to come
Binge-Read: Reading all (or many) of the books in a series in a row.
Spoiler: Anything in your review/discussion that reveals important details from a book.
TSTL: (Too stupid to live) A hero or heroine who keeps making really bad decisions, almost gets killed, and doesn’t learn from their mistakes.
Cliffie: A cliffhanger. (When the book ends in the middle of a dramatic moment and you have to wait till the next book to find out what happens.)
CW/TW: Content Warning/Trigger Warning (A warning about content that might trigger some people.)

Character/Plot Terms:

MC/FMC/MMC: Main character (book is told from their POV). FMC refers to female main character and MMC refers to male.
POV: Point of view (the perspective that the book is told from).
POC/BIPOC: People of color/Black, Indigenous, and people of color
Daphne: A female character who has to be rescued all the time (in reference to Daphne from Scooby Doo)
Mary Sue: A character who is too perfect and/or too good (which, strangely, originated from a Star Trek parody story).
Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A type of female character depicted as vivacious and appealingly quirky, whose main purpose within the narrative is to inspire a greater appreciation for life in a male protagonist.
Twist: An unexpected event in a book—typically one that changes the direction of the plot or characters dramatically.
Info-Dump: When the author gives you lots of background information all at once via narration or dialogue.
Bechdel Test: Refers to the way that women are represented in a book. A book is generally said to have “passed” if the book has at least two female characters who talk to each other about something other than men.
Unreliable Narrator: A narrator whose POV is not trustworthy (could be due to lying, misinformation on the part of the MC, mental health or memory issues, etc.).
Morally Gray: A character who straddles the line between being likable and unlikable, or villainous and heroic. This person often has more bad qualities than good, but the reader can see the positives peeking through.
Cinnamon Roll: A really sweet and lovable character.
Grumpy/Sunshine: A pairing of a generally grumpy character with a sweet, happy character.

Genres/Age Ranges:

PB: Picture book.
MG: Middle Grade (typically geared toward ages 8-12).
YA: Young Adult (typically geared toward high school-aged readers—or features main characters in that age range).
NA: New Adult (typically geared toward college age or just out of college—or features main characters in that age range).
Contemp: Contemporary fiction, meaning that it takes place in modern day and generally doesn’t have any magical, sci-fi or fantasy elements.
SF/SFF: Sci-Fi or Fantasy.
PNR: Paranormal Romance (usually adult).
UF/Paranormal: Urban Fantasy is, again, typically used to describe adult titles. YA and under is more often referred to as paranormal (or contemporary fantasy).
DR/DROM: Dark romance (Romance with dark and undertones and/or trauma. Usually spicy.)
Magical Realism/Contemporary Fantasy:
A book that is set in the real world with a magical or fantastical twist. (Some would say that the term magical realism should only be associated with books of Latin American origin.)
Verse Novel: A novel that is written in verse (poems). Must have a complete narrative arc (so, not a poetry collection but an actual story written in verse).

Format/Publishing Terms:

ARC/Galley/Uncorrected Proof/eARC/DRC: These are all terms that refer to an Advanced Reader’s Copy—a (typically unfinalized) copy of the book that publishers provide to reviewers before the publication date. eARC and DRC (Digital Review Copy) both refer to electronic copies of a book.
Physical Copy: (Often in reference to an ARC) Means that you have a hardcover or paperback version of the book, not an ebook.
Finished Copy/FC: The book in its final, published form.
PB: Paperback.
HC: Hardcover.
New Release: A book that has been released recently (usually in the current calendar year).
A book that was released before the current calendar year.
OOP: Out of print. This book is no longer being published, so you’ll have to get a used copy!
Self-Published: Published by the author (often via Amazon).
Traditionally Published: Published by one of the major publishing houses.
Indie/Small-Press: Published by a small independent publisher.
ISBN: International Standard Book Number. A unique number that identifies a published book.
MS: Manuscript (the copy of the book that’s actually written or typed by the author).
WIP: Work in progress (a book that the author is currently working on).
Blurb: The synopsis that you find on the back of the book and sites like Amazon and Goodreads.
Street Teams: A team of bloggers and/or readers who enthusiastically promote an author or a series. Sometimes street team members get special perks from the author like first dibs on ARCs.
Pre-order Incentive/Campaign: A special offer where the author or publisher sends out special gifts to people who have pre-ordered a particular book. I have a list of current pre-order incentives on my blog that’s updated weekly!


Meme: According to Merriam-Webster a meme is defined as “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” In the book blogging world, it’s typically a link-up centered on a theme where lots of bloggers participate and link up to a master post. There are lots of these. Here are just a few that I could think of:

  • TTT: Top Ten Tuesday – A different bookish top ten list every week.
  • CWW/WoW: Can’t Wait Wednesday (used to be Waiting on Wednesday) – Lists an upcoming book the blogger is looking forward to.
  • Sunday Post: A weekly wrap-up.
  • StS: Stacking the Shelves – Books that have been newly acquired.
  • It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?: Tell what you’re reading that week.
  • Teaser Tuesday: List a teaser sentence from the book you’re currently reading.
  • That’s What He Said Thursday: Share a line from your current book boyfriend.
  • Cover Characteristic: Features a different type of cover element each week.
  • Feature & Follow Friday: A meme that encourages following back.

Tag: Usually a post with a list of quick categories or questions around a theme. The blogger puts up their post and then “tags” other bloggers, encouraging them to complete the list as well.
Blog Hop/Giveaway Hop: A linky that is designed so that participants “hop” from blog to blog visiting many of the linked posts. (Often this is done with a giveaway, so that there is a link-up of lots of blogs participating in a giveaway and people can hop to all of them to enter many different giveaways).
Buddy Read/Readalong: When a group of two or more people read a book at the same time so they can discuss it as they go.
OTSP Secret Sister: A monthly bookish secret sister project put together by a few bloggers as part of their “On the Same Page” feature.
Reading/Blogging Challenge: A challenge to read a certain number of books that meet a certain criteria or to accomplish some type of blogging task. I have a HUGE list of reading challenges on my blog!


Blog Tour: An organized publicity tour for a book where multiple bloggers post about the book on their blogs. Usually tours take place over a short period of time (typically two weeks or less), often near the release date. Blog tours often include a giveaway (but not always). Tour stops might include:

  • Spotlight: A tour stop that just gives basic information about the book such as cover, description, release date, author info, buy links, etc.
  • Guest Post: Where the author writes a short guest post about a topic relevant to the book that’s included in the tour stop.
  • Interview: An interview with the author (usually questions are written by the blogger).
  • Excerpt: A tour stop that includes an excerpt of the book.
  • Review: A tour stop that includes a review of the book.

Cover Reveal: An organized reveal of the cover for an upcoming book where the cover is featured on blogs and in social media.
Book Blitz: This type of tour typically includes a giveaway and lots of spotlight posts (sometimes all on the same day or over just a couple of days up to a week) but features no reviews, guest posts, interviews, etc.
Social Media Blitz: A tour that is organized just to be featured on social media (just spotlights).
Top Post of the Day: If a tour company says that the tour post needs to be your top post of the day, that means that it should be the last thing you post that day (most tour companies ask that you post by a certain time, say 10AM, so that would mean you couldn’t put up any other posts after 10AM on that day).

Bookish and Social Media Abbreviations/Terms:

NG: NetGalley (a site that provides digital review copies).
EW: Edelweiss (another site that provides digital review copies).
GR: Goodreads (a site where you can post reviews and more!).
FB: Facebook.
BookTube: Bookish vlogs (video blogs) posted to YouTube.
Bookstagram: Instagram feeds that are dedicated to pictures of books.
TBD: The Book Depository (you’ll see this abbreviation on international giveaways a lot).

Book Conferences:

There are TONS of book conferences out there, but these are the ones I hear bloggers talking about most:

ALA: American Library Association (Technically this is the name of the organization, but when bloggers say they’re going to ALA, they’re talking about the organization’s bi-annual convention.)
BEA/BookCon: Book Expo America (which is now being renamed to just Book Expo, I believe). Book Expo is the main conference, which is only open to industry professionals (including bloggers, though that’s being limited a bit more than it was in the past). BookCon takes place immediately after BEA and is open to the public.
RT Booklover’s Convention: This is the Romantic Times convention, which focuses mostly on adult romance (though it’s branched out into more YA in recent years). It has lots of break-out sessions for aspiring writers, bloggers, and readers and also features author signings and tons of fun parties and activities!
Apollycon: Jennifer Armentrout sponsors this conference.
YALLFEST: A YA Conference that happens yearly in Charleston, NC.
YALC: the UK’s Young Adult Literature Convention.

Other Random Terms:

Blogosphere: The blogging community as a whole. The book blogosphere would be the community of book bloggers.
The anniversary of your first blog post! (Lots of different spellings for this one.)
Shelfie: A mixture of “shelf” and “selfie”—basically a picture of your bookshelves.
Book Spine Poetry: Creating a poem from the titles of your books. Often done using a pictures of all the books stacked up to show the poem.
Fan Fiction: Fiction written by fans that uses a published author’s world and/or characters.
#ownvoices: The Twitter hashtag that was created to promote books written about marginalized groups of people that are written by authors who belong to those groups. Basically promotes diverse books being written by diverse authors.
Listicle: A piece of writing or other content presented wholly or partly in the form of a list (such as Top Ten Tuesday).
Affiliate Links: If a blogger uses affiliate links, and you make a purchase after clicking on their link, the blogger will get a small commision. Always a nice way to support a favorite blogger!
Auto-Buy Author: An author that you love so much that you will buy (and read!) every single one of their books, no matter what it is.

Book Title Abbreviations:

We book bloggers are busy people and we can’t be expected to constantly type out long book titles, right? Besides, when Twitter’s 140 character limit is involved titles like A Court of Thorns and Roses are just darn impractical! So, what do we do? We abbreviate them, of course! ACoTaR is a really common one I see all the time (notice that the words that aren’t capitalized in the title often aren’t capitalized in the abbreviation either). But this abbreviating can be seen all the time, especially in comments or when the name of the book has already been mentioned once. Usually this treatment is reserved for long titles, but sometimes we just get plain lazy—I’ve seen people abbreviate two or three word titles this way from time to time.


Looking for more literary definitions? Check out this Glossary of Literary Terms over at Notes in the Margin!

Whew! Any of these new to you? I’m sure I’m missing some important terms and abbreviations here. If you think of any that I should add to the list, let me know in the comments!



74 responses to “A Book Blogger’s Guide to Acronyms, Terms and Slang

  1. It’s so funny how, when you’re part of a group, you forget or don’t even realize that you have all these terms and slang words and whatnot that other people don’t actually understand. You just get so used to using them and seeing them and hearing them all the time. This is awesome though! And I’m sure it’ll be helpful to a lot of people. I didn’t know BROTP was a thing lol. And I also never actually knew the difference between a tour and a blitz, so thanks for that 🙂

    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted: Book Review: Black-Winged Tuesday (The Tuesday Series Book 1) by A.B. Rayn
  2. Awesome post! This is definitely super helpful, especially for newer bloggers. I’ve been blogging for two and a half years and there was a couple that’s I wasn’t sure about. Like the OTP thing I only discovered when you posted about it the other day, and is it bad that I’ve never been entirely sure what middle grade fiction is? I had assumed it was for a lower age than YA, but didn’t know for sure! I hadn’t come across the term until I started blogging, it was just like ‘children’s books’, and ‘YA books’ as far as I knew!

    Laura recently posted: How To Make Time To Read
    • It’s funny how terms will crop up and totally throw you off. I vaguely remember being surprised by the MG term when I was a new blogger too. Now we can feel all wisdomy and stuff. (Right? Yep, comments like that make people want to learn from my wisdom for sure. LOL!)

  3. I did the same thing! As a newbie blogger there were a LOT of acronyms I didn’t know. This is very handy. 🙂 Seeing all these together though I have a new appreciation for the blogger “language” we all seem to share. I remember being particularly puzzled by “shipping” for a while!

    This should be on a “how- to” for new bloggers… 🙂

    Greg recently posted: Sunday Post #183
  4. This is great! Everyone should read this before venturing into the book blogosphere- half the time I feel like I am not even speaking English anymore when I am talking to bookish people, or writing a post or whatever. (The worst though is when you start saying these things in real life, to people who have NO IDEA what you are talking about- I do this wayyy too frequently 😉 )

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: Big Books Are Scary: My Thought Process
  5. I remember in the beginning of my blogging days, I had to ask so many questions about these abbreviations. I think it’s great that you’ve made a list.
    There are two more abbreviations I can think about for your : TSTL (too stupid to live) is a hero or heroine who keep making really bad decisions, almost gets killed, and doesn’t learn from their mistakes. There is also Cliffie which means cliffhanger, and many people loathe those.
    On another note, are you coming to RT in May?

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted: Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts #105 – Under Pressure
    • Those are great ones to add! Thanks!!

      As far as RT goes, I was going to go, but then I realized that ALA is going to be in Chicago this summer and just decided to do that instead. I can’t justify the expense of going to a far-off conference when there’s an awesome one close by. I really did love RT, though, and I definitely want to go again. Maybe 2018 … 🙁

  6. Jen

    So I always wondered where “ship” came from, wow, that made me feel ridiculous that I never figured it out ?. And I had to Google what OTP meant last year, cause I was completely clueless lol. Fabulous and ever so helpful post, Nicole!

    Kinda random, but I saw that RT Booklover’s Convention is coming to Reno in 2018! I’m SO excited since that’s about 50 minutes away from me, well without snow. Have you been to that convention before?

    • RT is AMAZING! If it’s close to you, you definitely need to go. I was seriously considering going this year, but ALA is going to be in Chicago, so I feel like I should just attend that instead, since it’s a major conference and the costs would be so much lower. I haven’t been to ALA before, so I don’t know exactly what to expect but Shannon (It Starts at Midnight) went to the midwinter one and said it was fabulous, so I’m giving it a try.

      Here’s the deal with RT—it’s much more laid back and relaxed than something like BEA. I would randomly bump into authors in line or around the hotel and chat with them. That almost NEVER happens at the more industry-type conferences. Plus, the atmosphere at RT is just plain fun! There are lots of games and activities where you really interact a lot. It is more adult romance focused (so some of the games and activities are funny in a sex-centric sort of way). Oh, and there are tons of different panels, which I really loved. I definitely hope to go to RT again—I was thinking maybe in 2018, so … 🙂

  7. Omg….it’s like we speak another language. ?? I didn’t even realise how many they were but like I use these ALL THE TIME. And woah it’d be so confusing for newbies! I’m so glad you did this post, Nicole!!

    The acronyms kill me though…especially if I’m a bit out of the loop. I’ve been seeing people raving about THUG on twitter and I was like “well I better look that up some time” but then I realised it was The Hate U Give. ? Which honestly isn’t that long of a title to type out, c’mon peoples! I was so confused haha. I think ACOTAR is like the only way people refer to A Court of Thorns And Roses now though. It’s super famous for the acronym so that’s fair.?

  8. A very comprehensive list, and I understand the need for acronyms in Twitter posts. Thanks! However, standard writing conventions require that you define the acronym or abbreviation the first time it is used in a document. Then, in the same document, you can use the shortened version from then on. It really ticks me off when I can’t figure out an acronym.

    Annette Mills recently posted: Stacking the Shelves: Always More Books!
  9. This is a very helpful guide to understand all the different abbreviations and words that many book bloggers use. It’s definitely an excellent resource for those who are new bloggers and also for bloggers who have been blogging for awhile. I didn’t even know some of the abbreviations that are listed in this guide so I am sure everyone can learn something new from it.

  10. I think I learned OTP and “ship” before I started blogging, from reading Tumblr posts on Pinterest. Which seems silly. I had to work out “slash” on my own though. I think it’s because it would be described as M/M (em slash em) or F/F? And I hadn’t heard of ARCs before blogging. I guess any specialty area has its own jargon!

  11. I didn’t know some of these terms. Namely, I didn’t know TBD, MS, PNR and HEA, but I knew the concept once it was explained. When I read BROTP (I knew what it was before reading it), why isn’t there an equivalent term for two girls? If there is, I haven’t heard of it. There isn’t a nice way to throw some version of “sister” in front of OTP, so I can’t imagine what would work.

  12. This is super helpful. I remember when I was new how I would always google the meaning of these book blogging terms and acronyms. Slash, RTC, TSTL, Daphne and Mary Sue are new to me though. I learned something today!

    • I am VERY late to this comment but thought I’d still try to ask around to see if anyone knew of these acronyms. Most of the suggestions I got weren’t book-related (EOB can mean End of Business or Explanation of Benefits, but neither of those would be found on a book blog). I thought of End of Book? And then someone suggested End of Book Series? But those are guesses. Sorry I couldn’t help more!

  13. Arthur R Weise

    Elric: Song Of Black Sword (HB) *OP (Eternal Champion)
    Elric: Song Of Black Sword (HB) OP (Eternal Champion)
    I have seen the OP designation lately on a few books I buy from Amazon. Do you know what it means and why one has a star and one doesn’t.
    Thank you

  14. Marie Munday

    Thank you for this great post! I have known the acronyms YA and NA for some time, but my problem is how to find Mafia Romance novels for older adults, age 50+. So many of the protagonists are teenagers, and I’d prefer to read about more mature characters. Many books on Amazon and GoodReads don’t specify any age group, so you can only find out by reading the book. Thanks in advance for your advice.

  15. Thank you for this great post! I have known the acronyms YA and NA for some time, but my problem is how to find Mafia Romance novels for older adults, age 50+. So many of the protagonists are teenagers, and I’d prefer to read about more mature characters. Many books on Amazon and GoodReads don’t specify any age group, so you can only find out by reading the book. Thanks in advance for your advice.

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    • I missed this, and I have no idea if you still need this info, but OP is generally short for “original poster” so you’ll see it in forums like Reddit or social media. Not generally used in blogging or specific to books, but if you saw it in some sort of forum, that’s probably what it meant.

  17. Rita

    any chance you would know what: BAGBALTPTICOYF acronym is? I found this in a book I just picked up: Blood Oath.

    • isabel lee

      i came here to ask the same question, but i think i may have figured it out: be a good boy and lick this pussy till i come on your face (not completely sure if it’s correct, but it sounds right)

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