“Behind the Scenes” series uncovers elements of book-making and publishing that make up our industry. Throughout the publishing process, authors may come across industry terms in their conversations with our staff as we work together.

Below are few common publishing terms and their definitions:

  • ARC: Advanced Reading Copy: See “Galley.”
  • Author Promotional Questionnaire (APQ): A form that authors complete to share with the marketing and publicity teams to begin brainstorming promotional efforts for your book.
  • Backlist: A publisher’s list of books that are not published in the current year but that are still in print and available for sale.
  • Blurb: A short promotional endorsement of a book from an influential early reader whose praise can raise the profile and marketability of a book. Blurbs appear on the book’s back cover and on the website. 
  • Byline: Name of the author(s) or editor(s) as they appear on a book’s cover.
  • Composition (also known as Typesetting): The stage during which the typesetter “pours” the text of the final, clean manuscript and inserts the art files in the selected interior design to create the first proof (aka page proofs).
  • Frontlist: A publisher’s list of books that are published in the current year.
  • Galley/Advanced Reading Copy (ARC): A book-sized, printed and bound “preview” of the book for media contacts and booksellers, generally including the uncorrected page proofs, the final cover, descriptive copy, blurbs, and your publicist’s contact information.
  • Honorarium: A token payment, often offered by a publisher for peer review.
  • List: Refers to the publications in a given topic or discipline that is built and developed by an acquisitions editor.
  • Open Access: A book whose ebook form is hosted on a platform where anyone with access to the Web can read or download it for free. Authors or their institutions usually subsidize the cost of publication.
  • Page proofs: The first set of PDF pages, which look like a book rather than a Microsoft Word document, to be reviewed by authors, editors, and proofreaders.
  • Subvention: A sum of money supplied by an author via their institution or professional organization to help offset costs associated with publishing.
  • Transmittal: The step when final book manuscript materials are sent from the acquisitions department to the production department.

Learn more about the life of a book