Congratulations! You’ve sold that manuscript and survived the reading and signing of your contract. Now, do you know what half of the words coming out of your editor’s mouth are? In researching this article, I’ve discovered that while the industry has a definition for something, authors have a different one. It’s my hope, that this will help you avoid some of the confusion when your time comes.
ARC: Advanced reading copy. This one’s pretty self-explanatory when it’s broken into words rather than three letters, but these are books the publishers will send to the author for promotion. In some cases, the publishers may send them out to reviewers and booksellers to build up a book.
Line Edits: These may be done by your editor or they may be contracted out, but a line edit is the first read through on a book looking for story logic. In this round, they look for things that are unclear or for the answer to that ever bothersome question ‘why’.
Copy Edits: This is when things like typos, punctuation, spelling, and grammar are checked. It is one of the last steps before the book goes to print. This could also be when typesetter marks are added.
Line Editor – Edits for story logic and clarity. Points out things that don’t make sense or if your hero had blue eyes on page 2 but they were brown on page 200. This is also the person responsible for helping you find places where you’ve broken the rules of your own “world” whether in relation to your character development or something bigger and deeper.Copy Editor – Checks for grammar and punctuation. They work to make sure the manuscript is stylistically accurate. They also add in the typesetter marks.
Galleys/Page Proofs – These come after the edits. This is the last chance to read through for typos and small changes like an editor changing a word or piece of slang that you intentionally used a certain way. This is not the time to decide you want to rewrite a chapter, as you may have to pay for large changes.
Editing Marks & Code/Style Sheets – Different editors sometimes use different kinds of editing marks to tell you what changes they want. They will include a style sheet to let you know what those marks mean. If they don’t, ask for it.
Cover Art – Some publishers will ask you for input on the cover, listening to what you do and do not want. Some will listen, others will not. This is often decided by the editor and the art department.
Cover Quotes – When a published author reads your book and does a quote for the cover. These are usually obtained by the publisher or agent, but if you know an author that would be willing to do a cover quote, let your editor or agent know. Be sure to send a thank you note or gift to whoever does the quote for you.
Cover Flats – Printed covers of your book that haven’t been wrapped around the actual book. Some publishers send them to you, some don’t. They can be used as giveaways, placed in bookstores, or put on excerpt booklets to use for promotional purposes.
Dedication & Acknowledgements Page – This is where you thank the people who’ve helped you or encouraged you with the book, or mention where you’ve done research you’ve used in the book. Send this in when you send in the manuscript to your editor – before edits.
Complimentary Copies/Author Copies – You should receive at least 25 complimentary copies of your book once it’s printed. Sometimes you receive less or more, but the quantity should be spelled out in your contract.
Your editor should be willing to answer any questions you have on what is expected from you and what different terms are, but hopefully these explanations will give you a better understanding and make your working relationship with an editor easier.