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How to Speak Publishing (Part II)

One of most intimidating parts of the publishing process is trying to figure out what the heck everyone is talking about! I’m here as your Publishing Lingo Translator to decode those hard-to-understand publishing phrases. If you missed Part I of this series, check it out here and you’ll be all caught up for this next semester of How to Speak Publishing!


Let’s start with the basics. “Copyediting” is the stage of the book production process where a copyeditor reads and edits the manuscript for grammar, spelling, fact-checking, and formatting. It’s the copyeditor’s job to fix misspelled words, point out run-on sentences, check for consistency in timeline (“You said on Page 2 that prom was next week, but on Page 3, you mention it’s in a month!”), and query the author about anything that seems out of whack. Then, it’s the author’s job to review these copyedits, answer any and all questions that the copyeditor has, and send the manuscript back to their editor so that the next part of the process, typesetting (which we discuss here!), can begin. We tend to do all of our copyediting electronically (#technology), but copyediting can also happen on paper with a red pencil like in the olden days!


Let’s continue on down this “copy” road. You’ve probably heard publishing people talk about “copy.” It’s one of our favorite words (behind “bestseller,” of course. :) ). So what’s this “copy” that everyone’s always talking about? “Copy” is the name for anything that we produce to sell and market the book, which includes the writing on the ARC/ARE/galley (more on those three terms here!), the book itself, and the online retailer pages. Getting the copy just right takes time and hard work. We want to make sure to present the book we’re selling in the most compelling way possible, and that starts with great copy.

Trim/Trim Size

Remember when I mentioned in the last post that we publishing folks love to have two or three (or four or five…) names for the same thing? If you’ve ever heard an author or an editor talk about the “trim” or “trim size” of a book, they’re talking about one thing and one thing alone—the size of the physical printed book. Why don’t we call it “book size” or just “size”? It’s because the book is physically “trimmed” during the production process to the right size. Books come at standard “trims” or “trim sizes,” and most young adult books are 5 ½ inches wide and 8 ¼ tall, although some are bigger and some are smaller! We mostly work with a standard set of “trims” or “trim sizes” and save the funky shapes and sizes for special projects that require something different.

For more insight into publishing lingo check out Part I and Part III.

What publishing terms make your head spin? Tell us in the comments!

Author spotlight

Kat Brzozowski

Native New Hampshirite. Broadway musical nerd. Work team softball slugger. Embroidery aficionado. I’m one part Ramona, one part the monkeys …

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