Publishing Glossary UK | #WorkInPublishing
From the 15th to the 19th of November it is #WorkInPublishing week on social media. Started by the Publishers Association to help Publishing Hopefuls enter the industry by sharing resources and interviews. As such, I have created a Publishing Glossary to help publishing hopefuls understand some of the terms commonly used in Publishing in the UK.
Follow the #WorkInPublishing hashtag online for access to tons of helpful resources.
A Publishing Glossary 2021
P&L = Profit and Loss
Teams put together P&L’s when deciding whether or not to acquire a book or make an offer. They crunch the numbers to see what kind of profit they’ll make vs the upfront losses of producing a product. A fascinating process.
AOB = Any Other Business
One I wasn’t aware of when I joined publishing. When someone says AOB or schedules an AOB meeting, it means Any Other Business. It’s usually a general meeting to discuss topics that might not fit into one meeting.
Advance = Money authors are paid in advance to write/deliver a book
Some authors receive advances when they sign a book contract. Advances are often paid to help authors pay their bills whilst they write a book. Or as an extra incentive to sign a contract. Advances aren’t free pay-outs but an investment from the publisher. Authors don’t receive royalties – or profit from the book – until they’ve earned out their advance. I.e. Their book(s) has sold enough copies to have paid the author the amount of their advance.
Royalties = What authors receive after they earn out their advance
Twice a year, authors receive their royalties. This is their profit for the sales of their books in a 6-month period. Authors receive royalties after they’ve earned out their advance or if their publisher didn’t offer them an advance. Some publishers offer a 50% royalty rate – i.e. they earn 50% of their sales rather than get an advance and only earn 20%. This latter deal is more commonly seen in digital-first publishers.
Digital-First Publishers = Publishers that publish digital books over paperback
Digital-first publishers tend to focus primarily on the digital format such as ebooks, rather than on print books. This means you’re less likely to see their books in Waterstones or supermarkets but will find their books online. These aren’t less lucrative or lesser books, they’re simply tailored to a digitally-focused audience many of whom read a lot and often.
Trade Publishing = Fiction or Non-Fiction Publishing
When we talk about trade publishing in publishing, we’re talking about the publication of fiction or non-fiction books. Other terms include academic publishing, educational publishing, or B2B (Business to Business) publishing. These groups focus on things like textbooks for university curriculums or Key Stage 3 sats etc.
NetGalley = Reader review website
NetGalley is a free-to-use review website for readers to access books pre-release. Librarians, educators, booksellers, media or reviewers can request copies and may be granted the chance to read an ebook before publication in return for a review.
CMS = Content Management Systems
A CMS is an application that allows you to edit, design, and publish content. For example, WordPress is a Content Management System.
Proof or ARC = Proof copies or Advanced Reading Copies
Proofs/ARCs are advanced readers’ copies that are sent to reviewers, influencers, and press contacts prior to the publication of a book for early review. These are often created from text that hasn’t been proofread so may contain continuity or spelling errors which is why they often have the term ‘Uncorrected proof copy. Not for resale/quotation’ on the back as they’re not final.
Biblio = a Content Management System specifically for books
This system is widely used in publishing and it contains all of the details you could want to know about a title your company is publishing. For example, titles, ISBNs, publication dates, book rights etc.
Critical Path = List of key dates in the publishing process
This is effectively a fancy to-do list with dates, which publishers need to stick to (where possible) in order for a book to be published on time.
POD = Print on demand
POD is when publishers or self-published authors print a book on-demand, instead of printing a large quantity which they then have to store.
Gratis Copies = Free book copies
When a reviewer or an influencer is sent a proof or an ARC they are receiving a gratis copy. As publishers, when ordering a book from the warehouse for a reviewer you are requesting a gratis copy. That is the reason you often have to give so that the warehouse can keep track of which copies are going where.
Style Guide or House Style = Rules for grammar/spelling
Publishers tend to have style guides that they’ll share with their staff or freelancers to ensure that all of their books use the same style. I.e. Using single or double quotation marks or whether to use English (GB) vs English (US) spellings etc. Editors use this for editing but marketers also get them for things like Twitter and Facebook.
Imprint = A trade name in a publishing house that typically focuses on a specific area of publishing
An example of an imprint is Puffin or Avon. They are imprints of Penguin and HarperCollins respectively. Puffin publishes children’s books and Avon publishes commercial fiction titles. A publishing house is Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin etc.
List = An agent or division’s ‘list’ of titles
My agent works on the fiction list at his/her literary agency, i.e. they focus on acquiring fiction authors rather than non-fiction writers or screenwriters. Another example would be to say, as an editor, ‘I’m looking to expand my list and I would love to acquire some more crime writers’.
What terms have you heard used in publishing that confuse you? I’d be happy to edit and add things to this Publishing Glossary. Let me know in the comments below.
Be sure to follow the #WorkInPublishing hashtag for more resources and information about the publishing industry this week.