Below you’ll find a list of terms and their definitions to common book production terms.
Acknowledgments: A section in the book, either in the front or back matter, that expresses gratitude for the help an author received during the book’s publication.
Afterword: Closing remarks on the topic of the book or the process of writing the book. This material can be written by someone other than the author.
Appendix: Supplementary information at the end of a book, which can include tables and statistical information.
Back Matter: All printed material that appears in the back of the book after the body copy. Back matter can include an afterword, an appendix, a bibliography, a glossary, acknowledgments, and/or an index.
Body Copy: The text of the book that appears between the front and back matter.
Bound Proof: A bound proof looks like a finished, “real” book. The cover is attached to the interior, and the pages are trimmed to the final trim size.
Colophon: A brief listing of production information, often including typeface details and information related to any artwork.
Copyedit: A level of editing that focuses primarily on surface issues, such as spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax. This also typically includes correction of basic, commonly known facts, as well as advice regarding where third-party approval may be required.
Copyright: The exclusive, legally-secured right to reproduce and distribute works of original expression. Expression is your own unique way of expressing an idea, telling a story, or creating a work of art. Under United States copyright law, creators hold copyright in a book or other literary work from the moment they put the words down on paper, into a computer file, or into some other tangible medium. Copyright protection in works created after January 1, 1978 generally lasts until 70 years after the death of the creator. Copyright in works created by businesses or individuals before 1978 can last for 95 years from publication. After a work is no longer protected, it falls into the public domain.
Copyright Page: A page in the front matter that states the book is protected by copyright, and permission must be obtained to reproduce all or part of the book. Typically this page also includes cataloging data for libraries.
Dedication: An author’s statement of appreciation or compliments to a specific person or group of people.
Developmental Edit: A level of editing that takes a broad look at the manuscript to point out errors in structure, clarity, character, plot, argument, and/or other “higher thinking” points. During a developmental edit, an editor may work with an author to make broad changes to a manuscript, as well as do minor research to verify details. A developmental edit is typically done prior to a copyedit, so that any broad changes can be fine-tuned later on. Although some copyediting typically takes place during a developmental edit, that is not the focus of this type of edit.
Digital Proof: A digital proof is an electronic file that allows you to see exactly how the pages will look in the finished book before the book goes to the printer to be used for the physical proof. (Also referred to as a soft proof or electronic proof.)
EAN Barcode: A barcode with the ISBN transferred into machine-readable form. The electronic scanning lines printed on the back cover or book jacket are encoded with information about the book, such as the title, publisher, and price.
Editorial Evaluation: A thorough review of your manuscript by a member of the Mill City Press editorial staff. This evaluation is not an edit, but instead includes a detailed summary of editing, packaging, and marketing solutions that might best enhance your book’s commercial potential—as well as pointing out any pitfalls you might face and how to avoid them during the publishing process and beyond.
Editorial Revisions: The process an author and editor go through together to revise and update a manuscript to bring out its best features. These can be very fast (such as changing a word or two) or incredibly complex (such as altering an entire plot), but should be considered integral to the writing and publishing process.
Foreword: An introduction to a book, usually written by someone other than the author.
Formatting: Refers to the style of a manuscript (including the font, page headers, and numbering); this can also include such things as italics or bold script. Although editors will frequently work to ensure that your formatting and style are consistent throughout the book, it’s up to the author and the book’s design team to verify this as the book moves toward publication.
Front Matter: The information between the front cover of the book and the first page of the book’s first chapter. This can include the copyright page, contents page, dedication, acknowledgments, foreword, and/or preface.
Index: A quick-reference guide found at the back of many nonfiction works, allowing readers to easily find information.
Interior Layout: The fully formatted and print-ready text (and images) of a work after the layout process has been completed.
ISBN or International Standard Book Number: A worldwide, numbered identification system that provides a standard way for publishers to number their products without duplication by other publishers. An ISBN identifies the language of publication (“0” for English), the publisher, and the book product itself, and contains a digit specifically calculated to ensure the integrity of the ISBN.
Manuscript: The text (and images) of a work prior to the interior layout process.
Permissions: The right to use another person’s work within your own text. Editors can point out places where permissions may be needed, but the securing of the right to use another’s work is a job the author of a self-published work must undertake.
Physical Proof: A physical proof created by the printer. Physical proofs can be either bound or unbound. (Also referred to as a hard proof.)
Preface: Introductory section of a book, usually written by the author. May contain information on why the book was written or how to use the book.
Proofread: Similar to a copyedit, a proofread is completed after the manuscript has been laid out and formatted. A proofread focuses on any errors that might have cropped up during the layout process. This is a perfect time to catch stray punctuation errors or typos—but a horrible time to make large-scale alterations.
Style: An author’s personal way of writing, which can include personal word choices, punctuation preferences, and formatting choices. Style could also refer to a specific layout of a text, or a variation of the presentation of a word (such as page headers or the use of a specific font).
Style Guide: A detailed listing of an author’s preferences. This could include specific spelling usages, character names, and punctuation idiosyncrasies. Many authors develop these on their own and send them to their editors as a guide, but if the author doesn’t, an editor may create one of his/her own to follow during the editorial process, or use a generally accepted guide for the book’s genre. Mill City Press’s editors, for instance, rely on The Chicago Manual of Style for most style decisions.
Table of Contents: A listing at the front of most nonfiction (and some fiction) books, indicating what the interior of the book will include. (Note that this page should be titled “Contents” and not “Table of Contents” on the interior of the book, as per industry standards.)
Text: The words on the page of a manuscript or book. In a broader sense, this could include all interior matter—such as images, charts, and graphs.
Title Page: A page in the front matter, typically on an odd-numbered right-hand page, that lists the book’s title, subtitle, author’s name, publisher, and city where it was published.
Track Changes: A feature of Microsoft Word, which allows authors and editors to collaborate on a manuscript, while giving the author the opportunity to accept or reject the editor’s alterations. It should be noted that this feature is not compatible with most other word processing software.
Unbound Proof: Often, as the name suggests, the interior pages of an unbound proof aren’t bound together, which means an unbound proof looks quite different from a final book. The pages may not be trimmed to the final book size, and the color and quality of the ink is also different from what you’ll see in the final print run.