This is the first part of a two-part blog series that goes into the common jargon used by publishing professionals. It will help you to quickly understand what your publisher or literary agent is talking about.


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Advance reading copy (ARC)

A copy of a book that is sent out to reviewers, booksellers, and other professionals in the industry for promotion.


A lump-sum paid by the publisher to the author before the book is published, often against book royalties of future sales.


A compilation of short stories, poems, or essays written by multiple authors. There is usually a focus on a particular genre or theme.

Author platform

An author’s presence on online platforms. This includes social media profiles, email newsletters, and author websites.

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Back matter

The final pages of a book after the main content has ended. This includes an index, glossary, bibliography, Acknowledgements, and etc.


The previously published works of a single author that remain in print and can be purchased by customers.


A short but engaging description of a book typically located on the back cover.

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A kind of book editing that is focused on correcting grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors, but also continuity issues and flaws in plot, characterisation, and more.


Legal protection that prevents the copying or reproduction of creative works without the creators express permission.

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Developmental editing

A kind of editing that is focused on improving flaws in a manuscript’s structure and content.

Digital advertising

Using digital platforms, including social media, email newsletters, and websites, to advertise books.

Digital publishing

Publishing a book in a digital format instead of print. These digital formats include eBooks and audiobooks.

Distribution channels

The locations where books are available to readers. This includes online retailers, bookstores, and libraries.


The way in which books go from the publisher to retailers  to readers.


Digital Rights Management (DRM) is software that protects digital books against unauthorised copying and distribution.

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EBook conversion

The process of turning a print-ready book or a basic manuscript into an eBook.

EBook distribution

Getting eBooks into to online retailers and libraries.

EBook reader

A device or software that allows its users to access and read eBooks.


The broad term for the process of reviewing, revising, and improving written manuscripts to prepare them for publication.


A statement written by a reputable and relevant author or expert that supports and recommends the book to readers.

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Front matter

The pages at the beginning of a book before the main content, including the title page, half title page, copyright page, dedication, contents page, and more.

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Funding rewarded to authors intending to financially support promising writers while they focus on completing their writing ventures.

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Hybrid publishing

A kind of publishing service which is a combination of aspects from both traditional publishing and self-publishing.

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A specialised area of a larger publishing company that is focused on a particular subject, target audience, or genre.

Independent publisher

A publisher that is separate from a larger corporation, conglomerate, or publishing house.


International Standard Book Number (ISBN) are unique identification numbers which are assigned to each edition of a published book, allowing for tracking and effective cataloguing.


International Standard Music Numbers (ISMN) are niche identification numbers specifically dedicated to the music industry.

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The specific words and short phrases that are used to describe a book’s content and topic. They are often used to boost Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and online marketing efforts.


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Library market

Selling books to libraries and other similar institutions.

Line editing

A kind of editing that works to improve the style and language of a manuscript.

Literary agent

An industry professional who will represent an author when negotiating publishing contracts and other deals with publishers.

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Manuscript evaluation

The assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of a manuscript, often undertaken by either editors or writing coaches.

Manuscript format

The custom guidelines from a publisher to assist the author in correctly formatting their manuscript. This includes the correct font, spacing, margins, and more.


A hand-written or typed work that is yet to be published as a book.


Detailed information about a specific book, such as the title, subtitle, author name, and synopsis. It is used to increase searchability of the book online.

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