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Top Ten Terms: Editorial in Publishing

Happy new year! We’re excited to continue our Peek into Publishing posts in 2022 with more exciting content to help you at the start of your publishing journey. As our first post this year, we’re looking to demystify the jargon used in publishing meetings and around the office. We’ve asked our editorial team to name and define the Top Ten Terms they wished they’d known when they first started in the industry. As they thought of so many important editorial terms, we’re making this a two-part special, with a second list of terms coming soon. 

These terms are useful for anyone looking to work in publishing, or for someone who has recently started out in their first publishing role, whichever department it’s in. They are mentioned in meetings with all departments, so we hope you’ll benefit from learning them! 

If you want to look at terms used in other departments, take a look at our previous Top Ten Terms posts by our rightssales and marketing & publicity departments.

1. Prelims

This includes all the content that appears in the book prior to the introduction or the first chapter. In Watkins’ books this can include:

  • List of endorsements 
  • Title page
  • Imprint page
  • Contents page 
  • Dedication
  • List of author’s previously published titles
  • Foreword
  • Preface

2. Endmatter

This refers to all the content that appears in the book after the final chapter ends. In Watkins’ books this can include:

  • Notes
  • Appendices
  • Glossary
  • Further reading list
  • Bibliography
  • About the author
  • Acknowledgements
  • Index

3. Extent 

Extent is a publishing term for the page count. Printers will require the extent to be a certain number. The printers we use need the extent to be a multiple of 8, (the paper is bound in multiples of 8). So, if our book comes to 198 pages, we will add two pages at the end to make our extent 200 (a multiple of 8). This means we could add content to the end or have these as blank pages (if you’ve ever wondered why some books have blank pages at the end – this is why!)

4. Folios

Folios is another publishing term that has a simpler word – page number. If someone asks you to check the folios are correct, they are asking you to check each page has the page number at the bottom and the numbers are correct. By this, I mean that we don’t skip a number. 

5. Running heads

Running heads normally appear at the top of the page. At Watkins, we put the part name on the left page and the chapter title on the right page. If the book isn’t split into parts, the book title will appear on the left instead. 

6. Title page

You’ll notice I included the title page in my list of content that appears in the prelims. The title page will be one of the first pages you see when you open the book – it has the book title, subtitle, author name and company logo in the exact position as the cover. In fact, it is almost a replica of the cover, sometimes with the design details removed. In black and white books (known as mono books), this will be the cover in black and white. See below for an example of a recently published Watkins book and its title page. 

7. Overmatter

Overmatter refers to content that won’t fit on the page. If you’re working to a strict extent, and the book cannot be over a certain number of pages due to costs, then the designer will set text as overmatter rather than running it on extra pages. So, if a chapter has 3 lines running on a new page, the designer might instead mark this as overmatter at the bottom of the page. The editor would then have to cut the previous page by 3 lines to make sure this text fit. 

8. Heading levels

You may often hear editors and designs talking about A heads and B heads and C heads and … you get my drift. Each heading level will have a certain design to indicate that the A heads are the larger, more important heads and the B heads come under the A heading. For example, an A head in a fitness book could be The Gym and a B head that falls under this could be Treadmills. The headings in the manuscript are labelled clearly so the designer knows the level of each heading and can design them correctly. This will look like the following:


<A head> The Gym <A Head>
<B head> Treadmills <B head>

9. Serial comma

This is a contentious piece of grammar in publishing – everyone has an opinion as to whether you should use one. Also referred to as the Oxford Comma, it’s the comma that appears before and in a list: I want a dog, a cat, and a rabbit. In Watkins, our style dictates we don’t use the serial comma, but this will differ across publishers. 

10. Pre-press check

You might be asked to perform a pre-press check as an Editorial Assistant. This is the final check that the editorial team performs on the book before it goes to press. You are generally checking the contents page is correct, the folios and running headers are all correct, a spell check has been performed to pick up any remaining pesky typos, there are no double spaces or pages with missing text and scanning each page for a final time to make sure no weird design elements catch your eye – for example, an A head isn’t in bold. 


That’s all for this week! We hope you gained a little more knowledge of the editorial terms that get used a lot. We wish those of you seeking a job in editorial (and in publishing in general) the best of luck!

If you want to learn more about upcoming Peek Into Publishing projects, follow Watkins on Twitter. You can see all our previous Peek into Publishing posts on this page. 

Top Ten Terms: Rights in Publishing

Hi everyone and welcome back to a Peek Into Publishing! In an effort to demystify the jargon used in publishing meetings and around the office, we’ve asked each of our departments to name and define ten terms they wished they’d known when they first started in the industry. We’ve already published the Top Ten Terms chosen by our sales and marketing & publicity departments. This week, we’ll be taking a look at the Top Ten Terms our rights team have chosen.

These terms are useful for anyone looking to work in publishing, or for someone who has recently started out in their first publishing role, whichever department it’s in. They are mentioned in meetings with all departments, so we hope you’ll benefit from learning them! 

1. Licensing

This is when we (the licensor) grant the rights of one of our titles to another publisher (the licensee). In most cases we are granting the right for the publisher to publish a translated edition of one of our titles. A licence will come with certain terms which we’ll negotiate – for example, the advance, royalty rates, the term of the licence (how long it will last) and when they will publish their edition.

2. Co-edition

This is the second kind of deal we do with publishers. In this instance, the foreign publisher will translate the book into their language, but we will then arrange the printing and have the books shipped to them. This is more common for full-colour titles, and we will often print our own English language edition at the same time as the foreign language edition.

3. Royalties

Royalties are the percentage that a licensee pays the licensor on sales of their edition. This will usually be a percentage of the publisher’s recommended retail price, or the net receipts.

4. Net receipts

This is the amount of money the licensee actually receives from sales of their edition, after discounts have been applied.

5. Territory

A contract will state the territory or territories in which a publisher can sell their edition. This can range from a specific country to worldwide.

6. Agent

We have many agents around the world, working in specific territories. They act as our representatives, doing deals on our behalf, and they take commission from the deals they organise. They can be very useful as they have detailed knowledge of the territory. If there is a language barrier, it can be handy to have somebody who speaks the same language as the foreign publisher too!

7. Auction

An auction occurs when more than one publisher makes an offer for one of our titles. It depends on the situation, but an auction can go for a few rounds of offers until we decide which publisher to agree a deal with.

8. Exclusivity

Most of our licences specify that the foreign publisher has the exclusive right to publish the title in their language – this means nobody else can publish their own edition of the work while the contract is active.

9. Reversion

When rights ‘revert’, it means they return to the licensor, and the licensee ceases to have those rights.

10. Subsidiary rights

These are rights granted in a contract which are additional to the main rights agreed upon – for example, producing a large print edition.


That’s all for this week! We hope you gained a little more knowledge of the rights terms that get used a lot. We wish those of you seeking a job in rights (and in publishing in general) the best of luck!

If you want to learn more about upcoming Peek Into Publishing projects, follow Watkins on Twitter. To catch up on previous blog posts, see below:

Top Ten Terms: Marketing & Publicity in Publishing

Hi everyone and welcome back to a Peek Into Publishing! In an effort to demystify the jargon used in publishing meetings and around the office, we’ve asked each of our departments to name and define ten terms they wished they’d known when they first started in the industry. We’ve already published the Top Ten Sales Terms. This week, we’ll be taking a look at the Top Ten Terms our Marketing & Publicity team have chosen.

These terms are useful for anyone looking to work in publishing, or someone who has recently started out in the first publishing role, not just in M&P. They are mentioned in meetings with all departments, so we hope you’ll benefit from learning them!

1. ARCs

Advance reader copies (ARCs) are free copies of forthcoming titles that publicists can send to booksellers, reviewers, influencers and publishing professionals in advance of the publication date. Their purpose is to create buzz before a book is published, giving readers a chance to submit early reviews and increase pre-order numbers.

2. Press Release

In short, a press release is a news document. They are usually one–two pages long and provide a brief summary of a title and its author so that journalists can look at it and very quickly get to grips with the book and whether it is of interest to them / their publication.

3. Embargo

An embargo is something that would usually appear on a press release. It’s a warning to the media not to publish a news item until the date specified. For example, there might be a line on a press release saying, “EMBARGOED UNTIL 16/06/2021”, which would allow the publishers to release information on a title first.

4. Press Kit

Publications, such as magazines and newspapers, often have a downloadable press kit on their website. These documents outline the advertising opportunities that are available with that publication as well as the associated costs. Nowadays, many influencers will also have press kits, which allows publicists to determine whether working with them is relevant and helpful to a title and whether it would fit with their budget.

5. Circulation

Also known as “reach”, circulation refers to the number of people who view and/or read a publication. For example, Good Housekeeping has a circulation of 433,661. When it comes to online publications, this number is referred to as UVPM (unique visitors per month) – so, for Good Housekeeping Online the UVPM would be 16,884. We can easily find this information on Cision, which brings us to our sixth term …

6. Cision

Cision is a database that contains information about journalists and the publications they work for, such as the circulation for a publication and where it is located. It provides contact information so that publicists can send pitches to journalists directly from the site, as well as collating coverage as and when it comes in.

7. CPC

CPC, or cost per click, is a pay-per-click bidding model where you pay every time someone clicks on your digital advertisement. Your cost per click is how much you pay when someone clicks on your ad and will vary depending on your allocated budget and targeting. The lower the cost per click the better you are at getting more engagement for your money.

8. SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization – this is when we influence a website’s visibility in a search engine’s organic, unpaid search results. For example, we can ensure that our website will come up first when you search “Watkins Publishing” by incorporating relevant keywords, publishing regular content and using other techniques.

9. KPIs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a set of metrics that can be used to measure a company’s goals. Your KPIs should be SMART:

  • Specific: Be as precise as possible. For example, do you want to increase your click-through rates by 20% by the end of the year?
  • Measurable: Will you be able to track your progress? How are you going to do it? During a monthly check-in, you should be able to determine how close you are to meeting the goal.
  • Attainable: Keep it real. Set KPIs that are within an achievable scope. How are you going to achieve your KPI?
  • Relevant: Make sure each social media KPIs connect to the business’s larger goals. How will this help the company as a whole?
  • Timely: What’s the time frame for achieving this goal and determining whether success has been met: one month, six months, one year?

    Example KPI:
    S: We would like to increase our brand’s Instagram following by 50%.
    M: We will track our progress monthly through an Excel dashboard, measuring engagement and growth.
    A: We will achieve this by reaching out to 100 relevant influencers so that they will promote and review our books on their channels. We will also post twice a day instead of once a day to increase our online presence.
    R: We would like to increase our brand’s presence in the US – targeting American influencers will help us to achieve this goal.
    T: We will aim to achieve this goal by January 2022.

10. ROI

Return on Investment (ROI) is a ratio that measures the benefits of doing something against the costs. For example, if a magazine advertisement cost £1,150, you would want to work out the ROI to make sure it’s worth doing. Does the size of the readership means it’s likely to result in increased sales worthy of £1,150?


That’s all for this week! We hope you gained a little more knowledge of the marketing & publicity terms that get used a lot. We wish those of you seeking a job in marketing and/or publicity (and in publishing in general) the best of luck!

If you want to learn more about upcoming Peek Into Publishing projects, follow Watkins on Twitter. Next week, we have a fabulous team member giving insight into the rights department, so come back on Wednesday for that. To catch up on previous posts, see below for insights into editorial, sales and design:

Top Ten Terms: Sales in Publishing

Hi everyone! Welcome back to our Peek into Publishing blog. We’ve created some different content for you this week with our Top Ten Sales Terms!

So far you’ve met Rachel, Craig and Kieryn, who have given us insights into various publishing departments, and these profiles will continue every other week. However, this week, we’ve asked Lauren and Craig in the sales department to offer you their top ten sales terms they wish they’d known when they first started out working in their publishing roles. 

These terms are useful for anyone looking to work in publishing, not just in sales. They get thrown around during sales review meetings with all departments, so we hope you’ll benefit from learning them! We’ve asked other departments to also curate their top ten terms they want you to know, so keep your eyes on our Peek into Publishing page for more similar insights. 

1. Firm sale

We use this term to signify when books have been sold to a consumer with no possibility of any of these books returning to us (the publisher) in the event of poor sales or excess stock. 

2. Sale & return 

In comparison, this term refers to when books are sold to a consumer with the possibility of returning excess stock. For example, if a consumer overestimates how many sales they can make, so only sell half the number of copies they ordered, they can return them to us if they have a sell & return clause in the contract. 

3. Margin

This is the amount of profit we make after a sale, taking into consideration all editorial, marketing, printing and shipping costs, usually displayed in a percentage format. 

Lets give an example:

Say, for example, a store wants to order 1,000 copies of a £9.95 book at a 60% discount. 

The total amount he would need to pay would be £3,980, but our profit would not be £3,980 because we incurred costs making the book. 

If these costs were £0.92 per copy, 1000 copies would have costed us £920.

Our profit would be £3980-£920=£3060. 

Our margin would therefore be 31% (306/995=0.307).

4. ROS & ROM 

Rate of Sale (ROS) and Rate of Movement (ROM) are both ways of referring to the average number of units sold over a specific time period. For example, if a title sells 15 copies in Month 1, 20 copies in Month 2 and 13 copies in Month 3, the three-month ROM would be 16 copies. This shows us how quickly books are moving. If they have a sudden boost in sales, this will be reflected in the ROM, so we can then calculate the best time to organise the next reprint (see MOH next).

5. MOH 

MOH is shorthand for Month on Hand. This uses the ROM figure to calculate how many months’ worth of stock is in the warehouse if the same buying patterns continue. For example, if there were 100 copies in the warehouse and the ROM was 16, the MOH would be 6. This means our current stock levels would last for 6 months if buying patterns remain regular, so we don’t yet need to organise a reprint. 

6. Consignment 

Retailers often take a quantity of stock to hold in their own warehouses but only pay for the titles as and when they are sold. This is called consignment.

7. Gross Sales 

This refers to the total amount of sales including returns. So, if we sold 1,560 copies of a recent publication such as Why We Get Mad then we had 60 returns, the net sales for this book so far would still be 1,560. 

8. Net Sales 

We calculate the gross sales by removing the returns, instead calculating the total amount of sales excluding returns. In our example above, the gross sales would be 1,500 for Why We Get Mad by Dr Ryan Martin. 

9. Pulping 

Pulping is the process of shredding of excess stock. We make the decision to pulp for two reasons:

  1. It’s a very old title and we have far too much stock compared to its ROM. If we have too much stock that we know we won’t use, it can incur warehouse charges that amount to more than the book is bringing in. 
  2. It is an old edition and we’re printing a new one with substantial changes. We first try and sell via remainder (see next term), and then we pulp. 

 10. Remainder

If stock isn’t moving as quickly as we’d like, an alternative to pulping is remainder, where we sell excess stock in bulk for a high discount to discount stores. This allows us to move the stock out of our warehouse without pulping them. 


That’s all for this week! We hope you gained a little more knowledge of the sales terms that get used a lot in publishing. We wish those of you seeking a job in sales (and in publishing in general) the best of luck! If you want to learn more about upcoming Peek Into Publishing projects, follow Watkins on Twitter. Next week, we have one of our amazing commissioning editors giving insight into the editorial department, so come back on Wednesday. To catch up on previous posts, see below for insights into sales, marketing and design:

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