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Publishing Terms for Beginners: C

In this third post in my regular monthly feature of Publishing Terminology, we'll be looking at words that start with C.

Co-op advertising - a term that originated in the US, it refers to co-operative advertising, when a bookseller and a publisher share the cost of advertising and promotion. The publisher usually pays the larger percentage. Also sometimes used by authors for advertising where the cost is shared among a group of authors.

Commissioned work - when an editor commissions or acquires an as-yet-unwritten work from an author, often on the basis of a proposal or sample chapter. The author signs a contract and receives an advance, and only then writes and delivers the manuscript later.

Content editing - the process of editing the subject matter of a book in addition to its form (sentence structure). These can be substantial edits covering, amongst others, structure, character and plot development.

Contract - The written agreement between author (and/or agent) and the publisher, which grants to the publisher the right to publish one or more of the author's works. The contract stipulates, amongst others, territorial rights, subsidiary rights, payment terms, exclusivity etc.

Copy - Text. This can include everything from the words of your manuscript, the cover copy / back blurb, to the text on our website or blog (web copy or blog copy).

Copy editing - also known as Proof Reading, this is the process of checking a manuscript for spelling, grammar and content errors, and marking up corrections that need to be made.

Copyright - the copyright (right to reproduce, sell, or transform into another medium or otherwise use an original work or other intellectual property) 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.

Cover copy - the text that appears on the cover of a book, usually written by the editor and/or a specialist marketing copywriter. With smaller presses, the copy might be written by the author. Also sometimes referred to as ‘jacket copy’.

CPM - Cost per mille. The cost of advertising/promotion per 1000 viewers, copies, impressions, page views etc. Authors who promote their books via Facebook or Amazon advertising quickly become familiar with this term!

Createspace - a service provider which provides free tools to help authors self-publish and distribute books, DVDs, CDs, and video downloads on-demand. For more information, check out MYeBooks' articles on Createspace.

Critique - the evaluation of a manuscript, looking at issues such as structure as well as character and plot development, and language use.

Critique partner - another writer with whom you swop work in order to evaluate and provide constructive criticism on each others' work.

Can you think of any other C words that are used in publishing? If so, please share them in the comments below. Any questions? Just ask!

Note: this post was updated on 7th September 2017.

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