Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Acronyms & Abbreviations

Acronyms & Abbreviations for an Indie Author
Do you know your DRM from your ARCS? Or your ePubs from your PDFs? The language of independent publishing is an added complexity of the indie revolution. So we thought a glossary could come in handy. Here’s the Triskele A-Z of Acronyms and Abbreviations, etc.


Advanced Review Copy (ARC)  
ARCs are copies of a book used as a promotional and marketing tool, sent out before the official release date to promote buzz and get early reviews.

AI (Adobe Illustrator)
Typical file format for a vector image.  Used by designers.

Audio rights
The right to sell / distribute an audio recording of part or all of a work.  Typically not sold with print/electronic rights.

Original format used by Kindle ebooks, now largely superseded by .kf8

A linear image representation of the ISBN number, so shops can scan the book on their system.

Blind Folio

A page number assigned to a page but not printed on the page.

Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black – the usual range of colours used by designers for book covers.

Detailed edit that happens between a critique and a proofread. A copyeditor is employed to find plot inconsistencies, unnatural dialogue, unrealistic characters, and the like.

The right to be credited as the author of the work and to determine who else may benefit financially from its sale and distribution (through the sale of specified rights – see below).  Should always be retained by the author.

Copyright page
Usually the verso of the title page, this page carries the copyright notice, edition information, publication information, printing history, cataloging data, legal notices, and the books ISBN or identification number.

Crop Marks
Also known as registration marks, trim marks, cutting marks – fine hairlines printed on the outer edge of your cover file to tell the printer exactly where to trim/cut your cover on each edge.

Display pages
Pages within a book considered display pages include the title page, copyright and dedication. No page number appears on these display pages.

DPI - Dots Per Inch.
Describes the resolution of a rasterised image. Think of painting an image by making lots of little dots with coloured pens. The more dots, the more complex and complete the image will look. Enough dots and you won’t notice there are any dots.

DRM: Digital Rights Management
Technology used to limit the access to or use of electronic material such as ebooks, e.g. to prevent additional copies being made.

Drop Caps (Drop Capitals)
An enlarged letter generally used at the beginning of (e.g.) a chapter.

EIN: Employee Identification Number
Needed before a non-US resident can apply to prevent IRS withholding tax on royalties.  You must set up your own publishing ‘company’ first (at least as a sole trader).
Electronic rights
The rights to sell / distribute an electronic edition of a work; managed separately from print rights.

Placed after any appendices, and before the bibliography or list of references. The notes are typically divided by chapter to make them easier to locate. Part of end matter.

Free and open ebook format used by many ereaders including Sony and Kobo

Allows people to follow your blog by email or RSS (see below).

Formatting is the act of turning your book into a readable product, either for print or digital consumption (eBooks). Generally speaking, it refers to the formatting of text for the interior of a book.  In the case of a paperback, it may also be referred to as typesetting.

Graphics Interchange Format. Bitmap image format used largely for animations which supports a 256 colour palette.

The margin on the inside edge of a page. It is generally larger than the margin on the outer edge of the page, so that when the spine is glued, and you open a book, the text doesn’t run too close to the spine.

IP: Intellectual Property
Generic term for a set of rights including copyright, patents, trademarks etc

Number allocated to books, bought from Sometimes bought in bulk or given away with their publishing packages. The number goes on the copyright page. The image reference of the number (i.e. the barcode qv) goes on the back cover.

The U.S. government agency responsible for tax collection and tax law enforcement.

ITIN: Individual Tax Identification Number
Alternative ID number that can be used when applying for US tax not to be withheld: harder to obtain than an EIN; no longer recommended.


File format of a rasterised image


KDP: Kindle Direct Publishing
Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing allows you to self-publish your books and make them available on Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Mac, and PC.

KDP Select
An arrangement with Amazon whereby you commit to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP.

Current format used by Kindle ebooks (cf .azw)


Line Editing/Editor
Line editing is also known as copyediting. It focuses on the nuances of your novel: plot inconsistencies, awkward dialogue, unnatural or missing character motivation, and the like.


Mobipocket ebook file, typically used by cell/mobile phones.

Mock Up
Generally a term used for coming up with visuals of, say, a cover. Mock-up/concept/ideas/visuals.

Short for Manuscript.


(a) the way in which the information on a book’s pages is laid out; (b) the consecutive numbering of the pages, which indicates their proper order.

Standard file format used for proof and final cover design, and for the print-ready (high quality) body of the book. Proofing will usually be done using low-resolution (low quality), and therefore small file size, PDFs.

Print on Demand (POD)
A POD printer is a vendor who will print a book as it is ordered. Though the per-unit cost is higher than it would be if an author bought in bulk, printing on demand saves on storage space, upfront costs, and ease. Additionally, readers can order copies straight from the POD printer, thereby saving time and money for the author.

Print rights
The rights to sell / distribute a print edition of a work; can be managed separately from electronic rights

QR Codes
‘Quick Response Code’ – matrix barcode that can be scanned by many smart phones and other devices and used to connect the user to a website, blog or sales outlet.

Raster/Rasterised Image
Images are either raster or vector. Rasterised images are made up of pixels/dot matrix, such as photographs or anything saved in JPEG, TIFF or similar formats.

The right hand page(s) of a book

Determines the quality of an image. The higher the resolution, the better quality the image. For printed books, images are generally required to be 300 dpi (dots per inch – qv) at the size they are to be used. For web (i.e. images for covers of ebook) images are only required to be around 72 dpi at the size they are to be displayed.

Royalty Free Image
An image for which you pay a one off fee to use as much as you wish, as opposed to licensing an image where you are limited for example to how many books you can have printed with the image on, and for how long (in years).

RSS Feed
Short for “really simple syndication.” Some readers follow blogs via the RSS feed. A family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format.


Sale or return
Usual terms a self-published writer agrees with a bricks-and-mortar bookstore.  A set number of books are left with the store for an agreed period of time; those not sold at the end of that term are returned to the author. No advance; store pays only for the copies sold.

Left and right and pages of a book which face each other are known as a ‘spread’ or ‘facing pages’. If a designer sends you a PDF in spreads, it looks as it would in a book, with the left and right hand pages next to one another.

Stock Image Library
Online sites which sell images in much the same way as you can pay for and download music or software. Many of them sell Royalty Free images .

The line of snappy text on the front cover of your book which gives a further snippet as to what it might be about (e.g. One kingdom, three brothers, three claims to the throne…)

Form for applying for EIN .  (Can usually be avoided if EIN is requested over the phone.)


Territorial Rights
The rights to sell / distribute a work, limited to a specified country or list of countries.  Traditionally, this has been how agents and publishers have managed sales.

Title page
Announces the title, subtitle, author and publisher of the book. Other information may include publisher’s location, year of publication, or descriptive text about the book. Illustrations are also common on title pages.

Translation rights
The rights to sell / distribute a translated edition of a work.  This is separate from global rights, which refer to the work in its original language

Trim size
The physical size of the page in a published book (e.g. 6” x 9”)

The art of arranging type (words/titles/author name/body copy).

Used to refer to the layout for a print book – for ebooks the term used is ‘page formatting’.


The left hand page(s) of  a book

‘Video Blog’:  Web content in the form of video links or embedded video, as opposed to text and images.

Form on which non-US residents can apply for tax not to be withheld by revenue authorities in USA.  Requires either EIN or ITIN.




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