Monday, January 12, 2009

What are those effin' gees, anyway?

Recently at a work lunch, I started talking about geeky publishing terms that could be used for names of bars. Like, "Hey, you guys wanna go to F&Gs tonight?" or "There's a cool new place called TK."

Its possible that all of you already know what these mean, but I thought I'd outline a few publishing terms, with particular focus on sales materials, as right now our design department is working towards getting the cover designs finished for our Fall 2009 ARCs. What are ARCs, you say? Well, I'll tell you!

ARC=advanced reading copy. When speaking, I actually interchange saying it as the word "arcs" and saying it as the initials "A.R.C.s" fairly consistently, so I think saying it either way is fine. ARCs are the main sales materials we produce for our novels. They look exactly like a paperback book, and ideally will have the cover design on the front, although oftentimes the design is not final and will change either slightly, or in some cases, the final books will have a completely different cover. For example, we completely changed the cover of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass from ARC to final book after getting some negative feedback. (I would post the ARC cover, but I can't seem to find the image anywhere...I really loved the ARC cover, though!)

Galleys: this can actually refer to two different things that are related. One refers to page proofs, which is basically the manuscript when it's typeset and laid out in the design of the book. This comes after the copyedited manuscript. Galleys can also refer to ARCs, although oftentimes the difference is that galleys don't have the cover design--the cover is plain, usually uncoated paper. (I'm not sure if this is the same across the board in publishing.) Sometimes, though, ARCs and galleys are used interchangeably.

F&Gs=folded and gathered pages. The common publishing joke is that of an intern or newbie who, after working in publishing for a while, asks someone, "What are Gees, and why is everyone so mad at them?" F&Gs are our sales materials for picture books--it's basically the color proof for a book that has been cut, folded, and gathered so that it looks like an unbound book.

BLADs=Basic Layout and Design. BLADs generally look like F&Gs, but aren't the complete book. We make blads generally for longer illustrated nonfiction books, where you don't necessarily need to see the whole book to decide if you want to buy it. For example, we used BLADs to sell Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!, a Beatles biography we published last Fall. But we also used BLADs to sell the longer picture books by Jimmy Liao, The Sound of Colors and The Blue Stone, because doing full-length 80-page F&Gs would be too expensive.

TK=to come, as in "copyright information TK." It's used as a placeholder and reminder that you're waiting for additional material. Yes, I know, "To Come" should be TC, but it's not. Basically, from what I've been able to understand, it's an intentional misspelling meant to catch the eye. 

Are there other publishing terms/abbreviations that you've always wondered about?


Christine Tripp said...

HA, I remember being sent those F'nG's and not knowing what they were. It was my first illustration job and so far I had sent in the finished art for maybe 12 of the books in the series. An envolope came from Scholastic and when I opened it up all these "books" poured out... but they weren't books like I was expecting and for a moment I was horrified as I picked up one after the other and the pages kept falling out of them. Where were the nice shinny covers???:(
Then I read the letter... oh:)

Brian Floca said...

For years I thought F&Gs was "effigies." New Oxford American Dictionary says:

a roughly made model of a particular person, made in order to be damaged or destroyed as a protest or expression of anger : the senator was burned in effigy.

So that kind of made sense, right? At least the first half. Sometimes the second half.