MS or MSS: shorthand for manuscript
Genre: category (mystery, adventure, romance, historical, fantasy...)
Slush Pile: manuscripts submitted to a publisher or agent that are typically ignored
Royalty Advance: a percentage of profits given to the author before the book is published
Pay-per-word: amount of money payed out per word, normally for a short story or article
Assignment: a requested story from publisher
Work-for-hire: contract, publisher's idea
Kill Fee: money paid when an assignment or work-for-hire is canned.
Pay on Acceptance: immediate pay
Pay on Publication: paid when published
Simultaneous Submissions: submitting a manuscript (querying) to multiple publishers at once
Ghost Writing: When an author writes a book for someone who has no experience writing a novel, such as a celebrity's autobiography. The author receives no credit and the celebrity's name goes on the cover alone.
Collaboration: Two authors work together to write a story, both receive equal credit.
As Told To: similar to Ghost Writing and a Collaboration project. The author writes the story for someone else, but receives credit.
Byline: the line that says, "by: _____________"
Cover Letter: The first page of your manuscript, includes title, name, word count, etc.
Query Letter: sent by an author to inquire from a publisher or agent as to their interest in a proposed story for publishing.
Book Proposal: follows a Query Letter upon a manuscript request. Explains in more detail the plot, marketing, and audience, etc.
S.A.S.E. "self-addressed stamped envelope." Normally included with a manuscript sent via snail mail.
P & L: profits and loss
MC: main character
Beats: action phrases included with dialogue. i.e. " 'No, you can't.' He ran to the door and closed it."
Back-Cover Copy: a short 2-3 paragraphs about the book on the back cover.