Publishing Terms and Definitions
Whether you're a rookie writer or a veteran author, you'll need to know the language of the business. Chances are you've heard industry professionals use their insider vernacular, and much of it's been over your head. Well don't worry. This guide can serve as a handy primer for understanding the publishing industry.
Below are some more terms that you're likely to run across as you dive into the publishing waters. It's by no means an exhaustive list, but it's a pretty good start.
A term for the section, typically in the front of a book, in which an author will recognize or honor those that have played an important part in the completion of the book.
The group, typically within a traditional publisher, that determines what books that publisher will acquire.
Advance Print Run
The printing of a quantity of copies undertaken prior to a book's launch date.
Typically contained at the end of the book, an appendix includes additional material, such as tables or source material, that otherwise doesn't fit into a particular chapter.
Short for Web Log, a blog is an online journal. Blogging is act of writing or updating one's blog.
A file, typically in PDF format, that contains the entirety of a book's contents, sans the cover.
The most traditional form of retail – think Barnes & Noble. Typical "brick-and-mortar" book retailers also sell books through online bookstores.
An editor hired to edit both the content (subject matter) of a book, as well as its form (e.g. sentence structure).
Copyeditor (CE, Copy Editor)
Person who edits copy with the goal of correcting grammar irregularities and inconsistencies and of correcting punctuation, spelling, usage and style.
Copyright (Copyright Page, Copyright Notice)
The legal ownership of intellectual property such as printed material. The right to copy, repurpose or publish content of the copyrighted medium.
Aesthetic layout of a book cover.
Text line within a book that assigns credit to the owner of the copyright of the material it refers to.
Design (Book and Cover)
Layout, selection of font and font size and typesetting of a book. See Cover Design.
An editor who refines the organization of a manuscript rather than changing specific sentence or paragraph structure. A developmental editor also reorders blocks of text, including and up to reordering entire chapters. Developmental editors may also address tone, voice, addition or deletion of material, complexity of material and transitions among paragraphs and sections of the book.
In publishing, a distributor sells products or services to retailers, rather than selling directly to consumers.
Registered Web address or URL that often requires a small fee to prevent other parties from registering the same domain.
DPI (Dots per Inch)
Measurement of the graphic resolution of a graphic file, resolution of a computer monitor or potential printing density of a computer printer.
Electronic file format to which books may be published.
Promotional statement by someone recommending a book, often found on the dust cover or near the front of the book.
Footnote (FN, Endnote)
Footnotes reference citations and supplementary information and generally appear at the bottom of the page. Superscript characters are used to draw the reader's attention to a footnote. An endnote takes the same form as a footnote and is typically contained at the end of a book or chapter.
1) Process by which a design team lays out a manuscript to create book pages. 2) Text effect applied to characters to make them appear bold, italic, sheared or otherwise.
Broad category or kind of book, based on a book's subject matter. Examples genres include romance, fantasy, sci-fi, self-help and biographical.
A professional writer contracted by an author or publisher to write or cow rite a book. Typically the works of ghostwriters are unattributed in the final publication.
Listing of topics or subjects of words at the end of a book that guides a reader to the specific pages on which subjects they appear within the main text.
Pictures, illustrations, diagrams or other graphics contained within the interior of a book.
International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
A unique 13-digit number (10 or 13 digits prior to 2007) that identifies a book to retailers and other interested parties. The barcode.
An editor that performs a more stringent edit than a typical copy edit. Line editors critique a book's voice, tone and phrasing; and in the case of fictional works, the story's pacing, character development, handling of details and vocabulary of the period and place where the novel is set all for accuracy. A line editor also focuses on errors in grammar, punctuation and writing style.
An intermediary between author in and traditional publisher.
Complete text version of a book (often as an electronic text file) as submitted by the author. It encompasses both text and graphic contents of the book.
Promotional, publicity and advertising methods used to sell a book.
A smaller, more economical version of a book. Usually printed well after the hardcover and trade paperback versions, mass-market paperbacks are often sold in grocery stores and airports.
Legal agreement in which the publisher does not possess exclusive rights over the materials published in the author's book.
Common printing technology that applies layers one at a time. A reverse image of each color interfaces with the page via a roller. The roller presses against the paper applying the proper color of ink.
Mention made of a book in the media outside the context of a book review, for instance, a celebrity plugging a book on a talk show.
Online Bookseller (Online Retailer)
Bookstore on the Web, like Amazon or BN.com, which sells books and other publications to the customer at retail or discounted prices.
Advertising, selling or dispensing products through the Internet.
Out of Print (OOP)
Book no longer in a publisher's book inventory (and for which there are no republication plans).
Printed samples that look just like the final book pages. In page proofs, figures and other displays accurately represent their appearance in the final copy.
Arrangement between a Web site host and an advertiser in which the advertiser pays the host a set amount per click on that ad.
PDF (Portable Document Format)
Adobe Systems file format that can be precisely reproduced on different systems. PDF files are often sent to a printer.
Audio broadcast available for free downloading through the Web for play on a digital player or computer. Compatibility is not limited exclusively to Apple iPods, despite its name.
Publishing methods which permit for the printing of books in qualities as few as one.
Final PDF or image files of a book that have been are ready to go to the printer.
Final reading of typeset material to ensure that content matches the book's manuscript. Grammar, punctuation, spelling or usage issues are brought to the attention of the editor at this time.
Official date when a book is to be released to the public.
A professional who promotes a book, often by working with media. A public or media relations professional.
A series of public appearances, including but not limited to media interviews and book signings, made by an author to promote the impending or recent release of a book.
Books that are returned to the publisher after not having sold, often offered for later sale at a discounted price.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Amount of profit made after investment costs and other costs have been recouped.
Book returned to and refunded by the publisher after failing to sell on the bookstore shelf. Only the front covers of mass-market paperbacks need be returned to qualify for the refund.
Payment made to a book's author. Usually based on industry standard percentages of sales revenue.
Text at the top of a standard book page that usually contains book, chapter or section title information. A recto (right-hand page) running head usually differs in content from that of the verso (left-hand page).
Brief, one-page document or brochure that provides details and/or images from a particular book.
Unsolicited manuscripts submitted to publishing houses.
Smaller publishing house that releases books often intended for specialized audiences.
Document prepared during a copyedit, which enforces the standards and consistency of how numbers, abbreviations, word usage and punctuation are to be handled.
TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)
Compressed-file format for graphic images. The filename extension is .tif.
A trade paperback is bound with a paper or heavy stock cover, usually with a larger trim size than that of a mass-market paperback. Compare Mass-Market Paperback.
Publishing house owned and operated by a university. Such presses typically issue academic material, often including the works of professors at the institution.
Company, group or individual who purchases high volumes of books from a publisher at deep discounts and sells them to retailers at midlevel discount.