A Publishing Glossary Perfect for First-Time Authors

We know the publishing process can be overwhelming and long, especially when you’re thrown new terms at (what feels like) every corner. So, we created a glossary of publishing words to prevent first-time authors from having to consult Google every time they encounter a new term. With just one review of these simplified definitions, you’ll be one step closer to mastering common publishing jargon. 

ARC (advanced reader copies or galleys): unedited manuscripts sent to reviewers, bookstores, and media outlets

ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Numbers): unique blocks of 10 letters and/or numbers that identify books on Amazon

Testimonials: reviews that go on the physical book from people in the industry or with name recognition, fellow writers, or someone who lends credibility to the topic of the book 

BISAC genre: categories that are associated with your book’s content and signify to consumers what your book is about

Book-in-hand date: the date that physical copies of your book arrive at our warehouse and at your address

Book in hand: during this time, Mascot can begin shipping any preorders and an author is free to host events, hand sell books, and give away copies for promotional purposes

Comp. titles (Comparison titles): books that are similar to yours in either content or sales

Consignment: selling method where bookstores pay only for the books they sell, rather than purchasing stock from distributors

Distributors: businesses that purchase books from publishers and provide stock to retailers (our distributors are Amazon, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Follett, American West, Readerlink, and Chapters Indigo)

Handselling (or direct sales): any sales in which the author bills, fulfills, and collects payments of (in Mascot’s case, they would keep 100% of that sale)

ISBN (International Standard Book Number): a 13 digit number that retailers, distributors, independent bookstores, and schools use to identify your book, which is based on specific information about your book

Keyword: a word or phrase used for online search engines that represents your book or states what you want your book to accomplish

LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number): this number logs the book in the Library of Congress’s database, the U.S. government’s record of published books

Official retail release date/publication date: the date that your book listing on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other national retailers change from “preorder” to “in stock/available” and when these retailers are able to ship any preorders and orders 

Preorders: any orders made before the official retail release date 

EPK (Electronic Press Kit): an assembled set of promotional materials for any outreach to media, reviewers, bookstores, etc. 

Proofreading: the final, small edits of a book (such as grammar, spelling, typos, etc) during the production phase

Registration: time period where data about your book is uploaded to our distributors’ databases to create an available online listing for purchases

Retailers: businesses that sell directly to consumers (like Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million)

Retail Price: the price a book is sold at in bookstores and with online retailers

Royalty: the percentage an author receives for their book sales that is agreed upon in their contract

Specs (specifications): a book’s physical properties, such as size, weight, format (paperback or hardcover), finish (matte, gloss, etc.), and page count

Target audience: a particular group of readers who would be a great fit based on the book’s content

Wholesale Price: percentage discount given to a retailer or distributor that orders a bulk amount of stock for the purpose of reselling

For a more extensive definition for some of these terms, check out our original glossary, consult your guides or documents given to you during your publishing process, or ask one of us! If we’ve missed anything, please let us know by messaging us on any of our social media platforms. Search @Mascotbooks on your social channels or click on the following:





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