4RV Glossary

Writing/Publishing Terms According to 4RV – Glossary


A-format Standard book format (TPS = 178 × 111mm), typically used for most mass market paperbacks; (US: equivalent typical mass market size is called rack size).

Acquisition Beginning of the publishing process – agreeing the contract and purchasing the rights to publish a work. An acquisition editor is the first to evaluate a submission.

Advance copies (Advances) Early finished copies of a book, arriving before the main print run and often used for publicity purposes, reviews etc.

Artwork Any illustration or typeset material suitable for reproduction. Often abbreviated to a/w. Generally applies to physical material rather than computer files.

Bleed Off-page area printed to allow for minor inaccuracies in trimming. Generally anything intended to print right up to the edge of the page is extended, and bleeds about 3mm beyond the intended edge of the trimmed page area.

Blurb A short quote or text used to promote a book, can be on the fly sheet or back cover, usually 1 – 2 paragraphs, doesn’t mean a summary of the book, nor does it give the ending of the story.

Chapbook Also Chapter book. short booklet, often a children’s book or book of poetry. Originally a small book or pamphlet of popular, sensational, juvenile, moral or educational content sold by street merchants, known as ‘chapmen’.

Copyright The right to perform, reproduce, display, sell, transform into anoter medium or otherwise use original work or other intellectual property that is expressed in text, images, sound – a right enshrined in the Universal Copyright Convention (the ‘Berne Convention’, originally agreed in 1886 and subsequently revised by the United Nations in Berlin in 1952 and in Paris in 1971). The copyright in a work is held by the author or creator, and can subsequently be passed on (eg to the author’s estate), or licensed or assigned to publishers (and others) in a contract. Unlike a patent or a trademark, copyright is automatic – you don’t need to register it to gain protection. Copyright in a work persists for up to 70 years after the death of the original creator, and prevents exploitation of the work by those other than the copyright holder or a licensee. Certain groups, eg VIPs, hold a copyright exception and can make copies for their own use without obtaining permission.

Copyright notice Every book should contain a copyright notice, usually on the title verso, consisting of the copyright symbol ©, the date of publication and the copyright owner. However, as copyright is automatic, this isn't a necessity for any legal reason – it’s largely convention, and a courtesy to those seeking permissions.

Cover letter  (see Query, understand difference)  A cover letter is one page. It is what you attach to your email when submitting a book to agents or publishers. It is included as a teaser only, introducing the title and concept of your book, who you are, and why you are sending it to this particular agent or editor (see what publisher requires in a cover letter).

E-book A book that is available in electronic format for distribution over the internet and for reading on screen (of a laptop, desktop computer, PDA, or a dedicated e-book reading device). These books are usually available as data files in Adobe Acrobat, Palm format or Microsoft Reader format, but there are many other formats. All include DRM encryption to stop them from being copied and pirated.

Entrepenurial publishing  Another term for self-publishing or Indie pubishing.

House style 1) A guide for spelling, punctuation, grammatical style and usage produced by a publisher to help maintain consistency in copy-editing and proof-reading; 2) A standard text or cover design.  4RV style is found on http://4rvpublishing.com.

Independent or Indie Publishing  An author or group of authors create their own small press company to publish books from authors who are included in the company. The members of group usually pay his/her own expenses.

Lead editor  The main editor assigned to work with an author to fine tune and edit a manuscript. The goal is to prepare the manuscript for publication.

Manuscript  The text of a complete book submitted for acquisition.

Pitch or pitch tag    A pitch is a scheduled face to face opportunity with agents, editors, or publishers for an author to create interest in his/her book. A pitch tag is the term sometimes used for the sentence or two used to “hook” the agent, editor, or publisher.

Point of view   First-person point of view is in use when a character narrates the story with I-me-my-mine in his or her speech. The advantage of this point of view is that readers get to hear the thoughts of the narrator and see the world depicted in the story through his or her eyes, and only what the narrator sees, thinks, and hears. The narrator is a character in the story. Second-person point of view, in which the author uses you and your, is rare; authors seldom speak directly to the reader. Second-person is generally used for directions and instructions. Third-person point of view is that of an outsider looking at the action. The writer may choose third-person omniscient, in which the thoughts of every character are open to the reader, or third-person limited, in which the reader enters only one character's mind, either throughout the entire work or in a specific section. Third-person limited differs from first-person because the author's voice, not the character's voice, is what you hear in the descriptive passages: The narrator is not one of the characters in third-person.

Proof  Proofs are the preliminary versions of publications meant for review by authors, editors, and proofreaders, who end needed corrections to the formatter.

Query   A query is used to present a proposal for possible submission. A query is usually sent for nonfiction possibilities, to discover if an agent or publisher is interested in the author’s idea.

Rack size US equivalent of A-format, used for mass market paperbacks. Usually 63/4 × 43/16ths inches.

Self-publishing (also known as entrepenurial publishing)

Subsidy Publishing   Authors pay a subsidy publisher to provide editing, art work, formatting, and printing.

Submission  The attachments sent to an agent or publisher as requested in their guidelines to be evaluated for a possible contract for publication

Synopsis  For fiction, a synopsis is a page to two-page summary of a story, including the ending (some agents, editors, or publishers will allow more than two pages).  For nonfiction, the synopsis may be an outline.