Collective Nouns for the Book World

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Paul Whybrow

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Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
There are a lot of amusing and beguiling collective nouns for creatures, such as a parliament of owls, a murder of crows, a charm of goldfinches, a clowder of cats, a kindle of kittens, a murmuration of starlings, a sloth of bears and an ambush of tigers.

Collective nouns for professions are less common, but they do exist. Should you have a group of butlers, they'd be known as a draught. Jurors are collectively known as a damning, while the rise of portrait painters in the Renaissance, who sometimes painted flattering representations of their wealthy clients, led to them being called a misbelief of painters. Personal relationships have resulted in less than happy collective nouns: a group of husbands is an unhappiness, while wives are an impatience.

After knuckling down to another campaign of querying recently, I found myself wondering about what to call writers, agents, publishers and readers en masse.

We are a colony of writers on Litopia, offering one another support, but I came up with a few collective nouns for specific groups in the world of books:

* Writers working alone—a loneliness.

* Rejected writers—a frustration.

*
Traditionally published authors—a smugness.

*
Self-published authors—a hopefulness...or maybe a defiance.

*
Literary agents—an elusiveness.

*
Publishers—a haughtiness.

*
Editors—a punctiliousness.

*
Professional book critics—a fickleness.

*
Online book critics—a bitchiness.

*
Readers—a diffidence.

Any more ideas?

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