Posted in Before You Begin, The Nitty Gritty of Children's Writing

Glossary of Publishing Terms

ABA:  American Booksellers Association

ALA:  American Library Association

ADVANCE:  Money paid to an author or illustrator by a publisher after the book contract is signed.  Advances are paid against royalties.  Usually, the author or illustrator won’t receive any additional payments until the royalty earnings have surpassed the amount of the advance.

AGENT:  Person who sells an author’s work for them, negotiating any contracts, etc. for a fee, however, no fees should be paid up front.  Also known as Literary Agent.

ALL RIGHTS:  Sale of material where the publisher becomes the owner of the material.  The author may not sell the material again.

ARC:  Advanced Reader Copy – a bound galley sent out to reviewers.

BACKLIST:   Books still in print from previous seasons.

BELPRÉ MEDAL:  An award for outstanding children’s literature and illustration that celebrates the Latino/Latina cultural experience.

BOOK DOCTOR:  Someone who will examine your manuscript and critique it for a fee.  These vary greatly in quality.

BOOK REVIEW:  One person’s opinion of a book, printed in a newspaper, magazine, newsletter or online.

CALDECOTT MEDAL:  An annual award* to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. Administered by the Association for Library Service to Children.

CBA:  Christian Booksellers Association

CBC:  Children’s Book Council – nonprofit national trade association for children’s trade book publishers.

CHILDREN’S CHOICE BOOK AWARDS:  A new award (2008 first year) voted on by young readers. Sponsored by CBC.

CLIP:  sample of a published work

CONTRACT:  Legal agreement between author or illustrator and publisher which lays out details of  how and when the material will be published, what rights are sold,  payment, etc.

COPYRIGHT:  Legal protection of a work.  Most publishers copyright the text in the author’s name of the author.

CORETTA SCOTT KING BOOK AWARD:  Presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Task Force of the American Library Association’s Ethnic Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT). Recipients are authors and illustrators of African descent whose distinguished books promote an understanding and appreciation of the “American Dream.”

COVER LETTER:  Brief letter to introduce your manuscript.

CRITIQUE GROUP:  Group of writers or illustrators who help each other hone their work.

E-BOOK:  A book only published electronically.

EDUCATIONAL MARKET:  Book publishers whose purpose is to sell to schools and libraries.

ELECTRONIC RIGHTS:  The right to print a work in an electronic form (i.e. via the Internet.)

FIRST RIGHTS:  Or First Serial Rights.  The right to be the first to print a work in a magazine.
FLAT FEE:  The author or illustrator is paid one lump sum for their work, and receives no royalties.

FRONTLIST:  The books being published in the current season.

GALLEY:  A collection of unbound signature pages of a book. A bound galley is bound into book form.  A galley is an uncorrected proof.

GENRE:  Writing category, i.e. romance, children’s, nonfiction, mystery.  Often have subcategories.

GOLDEN KITE AWARDS:  The only children’s literary award judged by a jury of peers.  Given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

HARDCOVER:   Books bound with a hard, cloth-over-cardboard cover and covered with a paper dust jacket.

HORN BOOK:  Well-known magazine about children’s and young adult literature.

INSTITUTIONAL SALES:  Books sold to schools and libraries.  Both trade and mass market books can have institutional sales.  Institutional sales often makes up a large portion of the sales for Children’s books.

IRA:  International Reading Association, a nonprofit network committed to worldwide literacy.

KIRKUS:  Kirkus Reviews, a well-known magazine that reviews books prior to publication.  A starred review indicates a book of remarkable merit.

MASS MARKET:  Your standard-sized paperback book aimed at a wide audience.  Smaller than a trade paperback, usually with a different cover illustration than the hardcover edition, and considerably cheaper.

MASS MARKET PUBLISHERS:  Companies that produce paperback books inexpensively and in large quantities.  Book titles may follow trends and sell high volume in a short amount of time.  Some may be reprints of hardcover books. 

MICHAEL L. PRINTZ AWARD:  An award for excellence in young adult literature.

NET PRICE:  The money the publisher actually receives from each book sale after discounts are given to book stores or buyers.  Some publishers base the royalty paid to the author or illustrator on net price.

NEWBERY MEDAL:  An award for the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.  Awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association

NON-EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS:  The right to print and reprint it, but others may print it as well.

  The right to print a manuscript one time.  i.e. one issue of a magazine.

OOP:  Out of Print.  Not printed anymore.

OVER THE TRANSOM:  Unsolicited submission.  See Slush Pile.

QUERY LETTER:  A letter to gain interest in a manuscript or idea.

  A manuscript an editor personally requests either in response to a query letter or at a conference, retreat or workshop.

REPRINT RIGHTS:  The right to print a manuscript that has already been printed.

RETAIL PRICE:   Cover price of the book.  Most larger publishers pay royalties based on the cover price.

RETURNS:  Books that booksellers return to the publisher.

ROYALTIES:  The percentage of the proceeds from the sale of each copy of the book that the author or illustrator receives.  Royalties vary depending on the publisher, the type of book, amount of experience author has, etc.  Authors and illustrators are both paid in royalties unless a flat fee arrangement has been made.

SASE: self-addressed stamped envelope.

SASP:  self-addressed stamped postcard.

SCBWI:  Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

SCHNEIDER FAMILY BOOK AWARD:  This award honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

SECOND RIGHTS:  The right to print a work that has been printed once before.

SELF-PUBLISHED:  Author has a book they feel strongly about and pays to have it published themselves, with or without the help of a company who does this.

SIDE-BAR:  An additional piece of information accompany8ing an article or story–often printed to the side.

SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSION:  Manuscript submitted to more than one publisher at the same time.

SLUSH PILE:  Term for unsolicited manuscripts received at a publishing house.

SUBSIDIARY RIGHTS:  Sales of a book to other outlets such as book clubs, foreign publishers, magazines, or movie studios.

SUBSIDY PUBLISHING:  Author pays part of all of book publication, promotion and sale.

award in 2009 for teens to choose their own award winners.  Sponsored by CBC.

TEXAS BLUEBONNET AWARD:  Awarded by the students of Texas** through a voluntary reading program.

TRADE PAPERBACK:  A book bound with a heavy paper cover, either larger than the standard-sized paperback or the same size and with the same cover illustration as the hardcover edition.

TRIM SIZE:  The outer dimensions of the finished book.

A manuscript not specifically requested by the editor.

VANITY PRESS:  Publisher who requires author to pay all costs of producing the book.  Often these manuscripts are not edited.

  Awards for books for children in 3rd through 5th grade and for children in 6th through 8th grade, voted by the students.

*National book awards
**State and regional awards 

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