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This is the second and final part of the 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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Net sales

The overall revenue publishers earn from the sales of a book after taking into account any sale discounts and returns.

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Offset printing

A high-quality and efficient way of printing large quantities of books using plates that transfer ink onto that paper.

Open submission

The ongoing call for writers to submit their manuscripts unsolicited to publishers or literary agents.


Used to describe a book that is has stopped being printed and restocked for sale online and in bookstores.

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Pen name / Pseudonym

The name an author choses to use on thier book instead of their real name to remain anonymous or establish a particular brand separate from others.

Print advertising

A kind of advertising found in print publications including magazines and newspapers.

Print on consignment

The  method of small-inventory book distribution where retailers stock only a few copies of a book and order more as needed.

Print proof

A printed copy of a book used to check for errors and product quality that is not evident in the digital files of a book. Typically reviewed by publishers and authors.

Print quote

The estimated cost of printing a book based on the book’s specifications and desired quantity.

Print run

The number of printed copies of a book in a singular, isolated production cycle.

Print-on-demand (POD)

The method of printing a book when a purchase is made and not keeping physical inventory of the book.

Print-ready files

Digital files of a book that have been quality checked to meet industry standards and are now ready to be printed, distributed, and read.


The kind of editing that usually takes place just before publication. It is focused on catching errors and inconsistencies that have been missed.

Public domain

Applies to works that no longer meet the requirements of copyright and can now be used and distributed freely.

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The sale of excess copies of printed books at a discounted rate.

Royalty statement

A document that an author receives from their publisher detailing the sales and overall royalty payment earned from book sales.

Royalty / Royalties

The percentage that the author receives from the sales of their book, paid to the author by the publisher.

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Sales territory

The geographical region in which a sales representative or distributor is responsible for promoting and selling their assigned books.

Serial rights

The rights to a book that is published in instalments, including in newspapers or magazines.

Simultaneous submissions

When an author has submitted their manuscript (published or unpublished) to more than one literary agent or traditional publisher at the same time.

Slush pile

The term for the collection of unsolicited manuscripts received by a literary agent or traditional publisher.

Submission guidelines

A set of instructions given to authors by a publisher or literary agent to assist in the proper submission of their manuscript.

Subsidiary rights

The rights licensed to other companies or organisations for additional publication or adaptation of a book, including film or TV rights.

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Trade book

A book that is intended to be read by a general audience and does not contain specialised or academic content.

Trade discount

A discount that is given to bookstores and online retailers who purchase books in large quanitities.

Trade paperback

A paperback book that is printed in a larger-format than standard. This is often used for non-fiction and literary titles.

Trade sales

When a book is sold to bookstores and online retailers, as opposed to being sold to readers.

Translation rights

The rights to translate a book into alternate languages for the purpose of publication and distribution in other countries.


The process of designing and laying-out the text and images on a book’s interior pages.

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Unbound manuscript

Refers to a completed manuscript that has yet to be bound into a book. They can be physical, loose-leaf copies or digital files.

University press

A publishing house that is directly associated with a university and specialises in printing academic titles.

Unsolicited manuscript

An unrequested manuscript that is submitted by an writer to a traditional publisher or literary agent.

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Vanity press

A publisher that charges authors for publishing services, rather than paying authors for their work.

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Work in progress (WIP) that can refer to a manuscript or project that is yet to be finished.


A company that buys large quantities of books from publishers and then goes on to sell them to retailers and other official buyers.

White space

The blank space around the text and images in a book. Often used to help with the visual appeal and readability of the book.

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