Common Terms Used in the Self Publishing Biz and the BFF understanding of them:
ARC - Advanced Reading Copy - aka galley, manuscript, proof - a ready-for-publication document that an author sends out, preferably a week or more prior to publication, to a trusted list of faithful fans. The goal is to get readers to post reviews (see Reviews, below) on the book's publication day on the eBook vendor / website of their choice.
Side Note - A Plea to Authors: Send out fully edited galleys (proofread as well, if possible) to your ARC readers.
You will be doing yourself and your ARC team a kindness. If you are asking them to write a fair and honest review of your story, you want them to be reading the final copy. Don't put them in the awkward position of either having to come to you with a long list of editing issues they've found and had to laboriously transcribe (if they are conscientious and dedicated fans) or of having to write a bad review of your book (if they are scrupulously honest and thinking of the future reading enjoyment of others). Be a good Book Friend and put your best work out there for all the world to read.
Beta Readers - (see Beta Readers page)
Contracts - Hiring an editor is a business arrangement which involves money, legalities, rights, and responsibilities. A contract is necessary to provide a means of stating in a fair and unambiguous way what the parameters and details of the arrangement are. This link to Megan Harris's website explains it more completely. "Must-haves for Freelance Editing Contracts"
Conventions - are the societally agreed-upon rules of language usage. There are both verbal and written conventions. Written conventions usually refer specifically to grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure. Written conventions are slower to change than verbal conventions. Written (contemporary) dialogue, therefore, often reflects the more quickly changing societal norms of verbal conventions.
Editing Stages - (see Editing Stages page)
Editing Support Stars - alph and beta and ARC readers, writing critique partner, developmental and copy and line/content editors, formatter, proofreader (see Support Stars page)
Galley Proof - An older term for a manuscript or WIP that has not had a final edit or proofread (as opposed to a Final Proof) - often used as an Advanced Reader Copy.
Google Docs - Google has a format for sharing a document whereby many people can be invited to read, comment on, or edit the same piece simultaneously and/or interactively. Schools use this a lot for peer group projects and homework (it sure saves paper!) The editing tools are adequate for simple editing tasks, and it can be quite useful when working on a rush editing project. The author can access the earlier part of the document that I've already edited while I am still working on the latter part, thereby saving time, plus the communication between author and editor is quick and easy, right there in the document.
Microsoft Word - MS Word, or Word, is a word processing system that has a huge capacity for creating and editing graphics and text. The editing tools are advanced and enable the author to Track Changes the editor makes. Comments in the margins are a helpful way for editors and authors to communicate. Another wonderful tool is Search, which enables author and editor to find every occurrence of a word or phrase in the document. Also, when the editor is finished and sends the document back to the author, they can look at the document revisions in different formats or even in Read Mode, which enables the author to see the document without all of the editor's cross outs and highlighted text which are distracting to the eye and mind.
Reviews - Reviews are the blessing and bane of an independent author's life. Authors need and appreciate when their readers write constructive reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, BookBub, etc. Reviews advise readers, help authors improve their craft, and their scores affect the algorithms that determine ranking, marketing, etc. Unfortunately, reviews/reviewers are not always trustworthy, and prospective readers should try to get as broad an impression from as many reviews as possible and not rely on only a few reviews, whether excellent or very bad.
Personal aside: I am in the editing industry now because I didn't feel that many of the independently published ebooks I was reading were being edited well enough before publication. I would read a fantastic story that I wanted to write a good review for but ... my conscience wouldn't allow me to let those editing issues slide. So, rather than write a bad review, I would often write to the author and ask if they were interested in feedback. If they were, then I might be able to send them my reading notes or some specifics of proofreading oversights. If they were happy to receive those and eager to improve their story then I would generally go ahead and write a favorable review. I've rarely written a bad review.
My mama taught me 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.' I think that reviews are too often motivated by the opposite. If a person likes a restaurant or an appliance or a book, they assume all is as it should be, and they go on their way. But if something is wrong (service or food is poor, it broke in the first week, plot is not to their liking) they want to make sure no one else makes the same mistake, so they issue a warning in the form of a review. I think more people should also compliment, support, and uplift the positive experiences in life with reviews. And that's all I have to say about that.
Style refers to the author's manner of writing: how their voice is conveyed in their writing, the tense in which it is written, the mood of the story, the point of view, the syntax, and word choice.
A Manual of Style is an authority publication for a field (academic, literary, scientific, journalistic) such as Associated Press or Chicago Manual of Style in the US. (see further listings below) These standards provide uniformity for the industry or field in which they are adopted.
A House Style Guide is the condensed version of a Manual of Style followed by a particular company or firm.
A Style Sheet is also based on a particular Manual of Style and spells out the very specific decisions on style that are made for a particular piece of writing.
Examples of Manuals and Style Guides for English -
- In the USA: The Associated Press Stylebook Basic Books, the Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White., and the Chicago Manual of Style.
- In the UK: Copy-editing: The Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Authors and Publishers Judith Butcher, and The Oxford Style Manual, the Oxford Guide to Style and The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors.
- In Australia: Style Manual: For Authors, Editors and Printers Snooks & Co for the Department of Finance and Administration.
- In Canada: The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing by Dundurn Press.
- In New Zealand: Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa Style Guide of the New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc), and the Writing Style Guide, University of Otago.
Track Changes - this is a tool for ... wait for it ... tracking changes an editor makes in Microsoft Word documents! It is a way for an author to see what has been changed, and it gives them the opportunity to accept or reject any additions, deletions, corrections, re-arrangements, or whatevs. There is also room in the margin for Comments to be attached to portions of the document or to specific changes that have been made to explain, suggest, ask questions, or just generally make comments to the author.
WIP - Work In Progress - this is also pretty self-explanatory in the right context. This is what we call the story manuscript while it is in the midst of being created and edited.