Romy's Blog

Publishing Terms for Beginners: Q & R

It feels as if it's been ages since I last posted in this series! In today's post in the series of Publishing Terminology, I'm looking at terms starting with the letter Q and R.

You can read the rest of the series here.

Query - a term used by authors for the submission sent to an editor or agent, usually consisting of a query letter, synopsis and sample pages.

Query letter - the letter / email from an author to an agent or editor briefly describing a manuscript to entice the editor/agent to evaluate the manuscript.

Reading fee - the fees charged by some agents to evaluate a prospective client's manuscript. The AAR, the major trade association for book agents, prohibits its members from charging reading fees. These fees are a red flag for a potentially unethical agent.

Remainder copies - unsold books that are returned to the publisher by the bookseller, often offered for later sale at a deeply discounted price. It is not considered a good thing to have your book 'remaindered' - it means a book did not sell as many print copies as it was expected to.

Returns - unsold books that are returned to the publisher by the bookseller, for a complete refund. Only the front covers of mass-market paperbacks need to be returned to qualify for the refund.

Reversion rights - the clause in an author/publisher contract covering the circumstances under which the publisher's right to publish a work reverts back to the author.

Review - a reader, blogger or professional book reviewers' published opinion of a book.

Revisions - changes (sometimes extensive!) to an original work, suggested by a critique partner / beta reader, or requested by an editor or agent.

R&R - Revise & Resubmit. A response from an editor or agent requesting changes be made to a submission before they will consider acquiring the manuscript. These letters are often mistaken for rejections.

Rights / subsidiary rights - the many ways in which a book can be distributed, including through book clubs, as foreign translations, through excerpts in newspapers and magazines, audio books or as movie adaptations. The rights to distribute a book in any of these extended forms (other than print or ebook) are referred to as 'subsidiary rights'. If the author withholds these rights from the publisher, the author (or their agent) can then license these rights directly to a third party company.

Royalties - the percentage the author or illustrator receives out of the proceeds from the sale of each copy of the book.

Can you think of any other terms s that should be included here? Heard a term, and you're not sure what it means? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.

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