Glossary of Publishing-related terms
Advance Review Copies (ARCs): Also known as galleys. These are prepublication editions of a book. They are generally used to generate reviews and publicity prior to the official release date.
Author: The creator or originator of any written work.
Alpha reader: The person or persons who are the first to read a completed manuscript. They offer feedback on the completed work as a whole, before it begins revisions.
Agent (literary/publishing): A professional representative of the author who, for a percentage of the profits, negotiates sales of rights for literary works.
Backmatter: Backmatter is additional information placed at the end of the book, such as: the appendix, bibliography, index, notes, and other references.
Beta reader: Like the alpha reader, this is a person or persons who read completed manuscripts and offers feedback. Unlike the alpha, a beta reader usually sees a manuscript after it has been through at least one revision.
Big 6: The six major New York publishers who dominate traditional publishing.
Blurbs (cover quotes): Endorsements of the book by well-known writers or celebrities. Often these appear on the book’s front cover.
Book doctor: Someone hired by the author or publishing house to improve a manuscript. Often used interchangeably with editor in the freelance market.
Book blog tour: A relatively new method of marketing an author’s book via online blogs. An author and their book will be scheduled at a variety of blogs for interviews, book features, guest posts, and chapter excerpts. This avoids the author needing to physically travel around the country, yet still gives them the opportunity to reach their audience.
Book trailer: A video “teaser” about the book. This can be in the form of an author interview or pictorial presentation of key plot points.
Blog: A blend of the terms Web and log. Blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as reviews on recently read books. Readers can interact with the owner of the blog via comments. This interactivity and “community” is an important aspect of blogging. It is also a useful tool for authors wanting to connect with readers. (See Book Blog Tour)
Critiquing partner/group: A person or a group of people who read and offer feedback and editing advice on some or all of an author’s manuscript.
Copyright: The author’s legal right to ownership of the work under federal copyright laws.
Cover art: The design of the book’s outer image.
Cover quotes (blurbs): Celebrity or author endorsements placed on the front or back cover of a book.
Draft: The various pre-publication stages of a manuscript.
E-book/Ebook (electronic book): A book published in electronic form that can be downloaded to computers or handheld devices.
Editor: A person whose job is to locate and correct errors in a manuscript. There are various types of editors, each with unique functions.
1. Substantive/developmental editor. This editor reads the book and tells the author what parts to tighten, what doesn’t make sense, what plot threads need to be developed, etc.
2. Line editor. This editor notes grammar issues, redundancies, punctuation issues, and awkward sentence structure.
3. Copy editor. This editor intensively edits for continuity as well as grammar and spelling.
4. Proofreader. This editor does a final read-through for obvious errors.
E-publisher: A publisher that focuses on publishing ebooks rather than printed books.
Fiction: A story invented by the author.
Freelance: Independent contractor hired to work in a variety of capacities on a book or article.
Galley: Bound edition of a work available for review and publicity purposes before publication.
Genre: Sales and marketing category into which the title falls (e.g. mystery, suspense, horror, how-to, self-help.)
Hardcover: A book with a hard cover.
Independent (indie) publishing/ Self-publishing: Often used synonymously, both terms refer to the process in which an author takes their manuscript from draft to printed book, incurring all cost involved in producing the work. Independent publishers generally take a more business-like approach, setting themselves up under a publishing name or label to produce multiple books, whereas self-publishers generally publishes under their own name and may or may not have multiple works to publish.
ISBN (International Standard Book Number): An ISBN is your publishing “social security number.” It is a 13-digit string of numbers that identifies the book and publisher.
Manuscript (ms): The unedited book as written by the author.
Non-fiction: Written work that is factual.
Offset printing: A printing method used to produce large volumes of high-quality documents at a single time.
Paperback: A book with a soft paper cover
Print run: Number of copies produced at a single time (used with offset printing).
Print On Demand (POD): A printing technology and business process in which new copies of a book are not printed until an order has been received.
Proof copy: A draft of the book sent out for review before and approval production.
Publishing format: The physical form in which books appear—hardcover, mass market paperback, trade paperback, ebook, etc.
Royalties: A percentage of the sales price earned by the author on sold copies.
Synopsis: A 200-400 word summary of the entire book.
S.W.A.G.: Stuff We All Get. A common term at conferences and tradeshows describing the freebies that are given away. It is also used to describe the bookmarks, posters, and other book-related promotional items.
Traditional publishing: A process that involves several steps to entice someone else to take on the cost of publishing an author’s manuscript. This involves but is not limited to: querying and signing with an agent, shopping a manuscript to editors, signing contracts, revising, and editing. In general, if successful, this process can take between 1-4 years from first draft to bookstore shelves.
Trade paperback: A paperback book that is generally 6x9 in size.
Vanity press (vanity publisher): A publisher who requires the author to pay for all of the publishing expenses. In return, the author receives a royalty on sales of each book.
Word count: The number of words in a work of fiction. They are broken down as follows:
Novel: Generally, a work of fiction that is above 50,000 words. (Often the genre dictates what is considered novel-length. 50,000 is the bare minimum.)
Novella: A work of fiction that is between 20,000 words and 50,000 words.
Novelette: A work of fiction that is between 7,000 words and 20,000 words.
Short story: A work of fiction that is under 7,000 words.
Flash fiction: A work of fiction told in under 1,000 words.
Read more in Go Publish Yourself! Available on Amazon Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/Go-Publish-Yourself-ebook/dp/B007415JD6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329547160&sr=1-1