Understanding Publishing Terms

What is a Traditional Book Publisher? A company that buys the rights to your manuscript.

Don’t want to sell the rights to your book? See small press publisher, subsidiary publisher or self publishing.

What is Subsidy Publishing? A subsidy publisher shares publishing costs with the author. The publisher typically markets the book through online retailers. An author must bear at least some of the cost of copyediting and printing the book.

What is a Vanity Press (Vanity Publisher)? A Publisher who publishes books financed solely by their authors. The author sometimes retains the copyright.

What is a Query Letter? A brief introduction and book summary from an author, used to solicit interest in a book from an agent or editor.

What is a SASE? A Self Addressed Stamped Envelope for return of a written response whether accepted or rejected or return of requested manuscript. The postage must be enough to cover the cost.

What is a synopsis? A short blurb detailing the story without giving away the plot. It is the back blurb, an enticing blip that encourages the reader to buy the book and read it.

What is the Manuscript? A complete version of your book (often as an electronic text file) as prepared by the author. The term manuscript refers to both textual and graphic elements of the book. Editors and authors make preproduction book alterations to the manuscript. The finalized manuscript is used to produce a set of book pages.

What is an Unsolicited Manuscript? A Manuscript sent to a publisher who did not request it. These usually find themselves in the trash or the slush pile.

What is the Slush Pile? Unsolicited manuscripts a publishing house receives. They may one day be looked at but the likelihood is slim.

What is a Literary Agent? A Person who functions as intermediary for an author in transactions with the publisher.

What is a Publicist? A publicist promotes a book and its author through various services, from writing press releases to scheduling book signings.

What is an Advance? Monies paid to secure the author deal. The publisher deducts any royalties from sales until the advance is paid back.

What are Royalties? The percentage you are paid from book sales.

What is the ARC? An Advanced Readers Copy, books sent out for review purposes.

What are Subsidiary Rights? Subsidiary rights are found in publishing contracts. They include foreign language, film and television, paperback, audio, book club, serial rights, and other rights. “Second serial rights” follows publication.

What is a Virtual Book Tour (VBT)? A virtual book tour is an online “blitz” promotional campaign for a book. The tour may include teleseminars, podcasts, webinars, radio interviews, guest blog writing, and other tactics for reaching target audiences over a specific time frame.

Are there other terms I should know? Yes! But these will get you started.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply