Conclusion of my terminology lecture


It’s still Monday, so I’m not posting this late. Exactly. I decided to put my writing before my blog posts today.

I’m going to try to wind up my publishing terminology posts today. I let my “teacher” side run wild last week…sorry.

While your editor is working on edits, there is a lot of other work to be done too. There are blurbs (or that short story introduction you read on the back cover of a book, usually referred to as “Back Cover Copy” or BCC.) Sometimes an author has input on this, sometimes not. It’s a tough job to try to condense a story into a thousand characters or so (the limit Carina books have) and still convey the conflict and romance that a reader would want to buy it over another choice.

There’s the cover to be dreamed up — some publishers send the author an artwork sheet to fill out where they can describe the physical attributes of their characters (hair color, skin tone, height, anything that might be useful if a body is to be used in the artwork), any special symbols — should the hero (or heroine) have a tattoo, and where. Does the heroine need to be wearing pearls or a broach of some significance to the story. Is it paranormal? Should there be a hint of wings or fangs or a tail? Again, depending upon the publishing house the author may have absolutely no input, this will be done by the overworked editor — don’t forget they’re usually working on multiple books by multiple authors at the same time. While you’ll often see an author squeeing over their beautiful new covers, there are also plenty of horror stories floating around about horrible covers. Just ask Lynn Viehl about her flourescent pink hero, or Christina Dodd about her three armed heroine. Yup, totally out of the authors’ hands with some houses. I’ve been thinking about inviting a cover artist on to talk about how she goes about creating a cover. Would you be interested?

POD or Print On Demand: The larger publishers automatically print their books — look at all those books in the bookstores and libraries, after all.  But smaller publishers such as Samhain, while they do print some of their books, offer their books as Print On Demand or POD.  This means that they don’t print it until they have an order. It saves on warehousing and printing costs. The larger publishers may have a print run of 5,000 books (usually more) and if only 1,000 sell they have to do something with the extra 4,000. Usually destroy them, or offer them at a bargain basement cost (called remaindering which I’ll explain below.)  But they’ve already paid money for the printer to print them and the warehouse to store them.

Remaindered Books:  For a better explanation, check this Wiki article. These are the books you find in the Half-Price book stores, or for bargain basement prices. As in $2 for a hardcover. Yeah, the author doesn’t see much if any royalties from these ones.

Stripped book:  As much as I hate to think about it, the bookstores do not keep all those beautiful copies of the books they receive.  If they order in five copies of a book and only one sells, they can only keep the other four copies on the shelf for so long before they need to free up the space for new books that might sell. With paperbacks, they strip the cover off the book and return it to the publisher to prove they’ve not sold it. The rest of the book, sans cover, is tossed into the garbage. Yup. Thrown away. (That’s why books often have a warning on the inside pages:  “If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property.  It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.“”  It’s another form of piracy.

There are a million other terms out there, but my brain’s running on empty. Got any you’ve heard that left you scratching your head? 

Oh, just thought of one last term you may see me use:  WIP – Work In Progress. Which is funny because I used to use that term for my sewing projects too.  I’ve got three WIPS on the go right now, though only one I’m actively writing on, that’s a Hauberk Book #4, a yet untitled project but it follows Troy (whom you haven’t met…yet, though he was mentioned in Personal Protection.) Want to know whose picture I have posted up over my monitor for inspiration?

Karl Urban
 Yummy