Jul 10, 2010

Publishing Terms

A List of Publishing Terms

I made this list (yeah, another list) of all the publishing terms I know. Most of them are pretty basic. If you have anything to add to this list please feel free to comment.

A picture by deviantart artist m0thyyku

Advance- An advance payment that an author gets when a publisher decides to publish their work.

Agent - A person who will represent your book and helps you get it published. An author never pays an agent—they get a percentage of your book earnings.

Book Proposal- A proposal that an author sends to a publisher about their book. It usually includes the first few chapters and an outline.

Contract- A contract that basically says that the publisher has permission to publish the sell your book.

Copy Editing- Editing that focuses on grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.)

Copyright - Legal rights that an author’s work can not be reproduced without their consent.

Critique- A critique is an evaluation of your manuscript on plot, character, and overall structure.

Development Editor- The development author works with the author on revisions. They pay attention to pacing, plot, and structure.

Draft- An manuscript that is in the process of being edited until it becomes a final draft.

Editorial Board- A group of people who decide that they will publish your book. People from the sales and marketing department are a part of the editorial board.

Manuscript- Another word for your book. It’s also called MS, and MSS.

Proofreading - The final copy of your manuscript, that cleans up any noticeable errors before it get printed.

Query Letter- A letter that is sent to an agent asking for representation.

Revisions- Changes made to the manuscript, usually they are big changes.

Slush Pile- Manuscript that a publishing house receives that are unsolicited and not represented by an agent. Those books get put in a big pile of manuscripts called the slush pile.

Submissions- A manuscript sent by an agent to a publisher.

If one of these are wrong, or if you have anything to add please feel free to comment. :)

Happy writing,



  1. helpful things to know--and a lot of folks don't! Love the book photo, btw~ :o)

  2. Nice list, Ezmirelda! I have a couple to add:

    Royalties: the portion of each book sold that goes to the author--these typically apply against the advance until the book 'sells through'

    Sell through: when enough royalties have been earned that the publisher has been paid back for their advance (this is sometimes a marker used to gage the reliability of the author for future sales--whether former books sold through)

  3. @ Tart- Thanks for adding the ones I missed! I had royalties on in initially but then it somehow got cutt off.


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