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)
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: Happily Ever After
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).
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.)
MC: Main character (book is told from their POV).
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.).
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/F: 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).
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).
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.
New Release: A book that has been released recently (usually in the current calendar year).
Backlist: A book that was released before the current calendar year.
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!).
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).
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.
Blogoversary: 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!