Author Glossary: Key Terms Every Self-Publishing Author Should Know

Embarking on the journey of self-publishing can be an exciting yet daunting experience for authors. Understanding the terminology associated with the publishing industry is crucial for navigating this landscape effectively. Aspiring authors often find themselves encountering a myriad of jargon that can be overwhelming to comprehend. Fear not! In this comprehensive author glossary, we’ll explore key terms essential for self-publishing authors, providing valuable insights to help you succeed in your publishing endeavors.

The Essential Author Glossary

Let’s dive into the essential author glossary, equipping you with the knowledge needed to navigate the self-publishing journey like a seasoned pro.

1. Manuscript

A manuscript refers to the written work submitted by an author for publication. It is the raw material from which a book is created and includes the text, formatting, and structure of the content.

2. Editing

Editing involves the process of revising and refining the manuscript to improve its clarity, coherence, and overall quality. Editing may encompass various stages, including developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading.

3. ISBN (International Standard Book Number)

An ISBN is a unique numeric identifier assigned to a specific edition of a book. It facilitates the identification and tracking of books in the publishing industry and is typically required for distribution and sales.

Author Glossary
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Check out Amazon KDP Guide for Self-publishing Authors here.

4. Distribution

Distribution refers to the process of making a book available for purchase and circulation through various channels, including online retailers, bookstores, libraries, and wholesalers.

5. Print-On-Demand (POD)

Print-On-Demand is a publishing model that enables books to be printed and produced as orders are received, eliminating the need for large print runs and storage of inventory. POD services are often utilized by self-published authors to minimize upfront costs and streamline the publishing process.

6. Royalties

Royalties are the payments earned by authors for the sales of their books. Royalty rates are typically specified in publishing contracts and may vary based on factors such as sales volume, format, and distribution channels.

7. Metadata

Metadata refers to the descriptive information associated with a book, including title, author name, genre, ISBN, cover image, and keywords. Metadata plays a crucial role in online discoverability and marketing of books.

8. Book Cover Design

The book cover design encompasses the visual elements, layout, and typography used to create the cover of a book. A professionally designed cover is essential for attracting readers and conveying the essence of the book’s content.

9. Copyright

Copyright is the legal protection granted to authors for their original creative works, including books, writings, and literary compositions. Authors hold the exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and sell their works, subject to copyright laws and regulations.

10. Marketing and Promotion

Marketing and promotion involve the strategies and activities aimed at increasing the visibility, awareness, and sales of a book. This may include social media marketing, email campaigns, book signings, and collaborations with influencers and bloggers.


Navigating the world of self-publishing requires a solid understanding of key terms and concepts relevant to the publishing industry. By familiarizing yourself with this author glossary, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the publishing process, from manuscript creation to marketing and promotion. Empower yourself with knowledge and embark on your self-publishing journey with confidence!

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