Acquisitions editor: The person at a publishing house responsible for finding good books, convincing colleagues of their worth, providing editorial direction as needed, and offering a contract. The agent usually works with the acquisitions editor.

Advance: The amount a publisher gives an author before the book is sold. Half is paid when a book contract is signed. The other half usually comes payable when a publishable manuscript is turned in or the book is published. Negotiable.

Agent: Represents authors to publishers using expertise and connections.

Concept statement: A paragraph that boils the proposal down to 50 words or fewer, describing the rationale for the book, why the author should write it, and why the publisher should publish it.

Fee: What an author pays an agent, usually based on a percentage basis.

Journalism: The timely reportage and analysis produced by newspapers, magazines, and news-focused websites.

Manuscript: An unpublished book.

Platform: The professional and personal connections that an author brings in order to promote a book. For example, an author with a strong professional network and a prominent position in business or ministry can use that platform to market the book.

Proposal: A document that describes a proposed book, the author, and the potential salability of the book. It can be from five to 30 pages, depending on the needs of the publisher. Often includes a sample essay or chapter(s). Can be submitted to agent, who then sends to publisher.

Publisher / Publishing: Pertaining to books.

Query: A request to an agent to consider representing an author’s book or to a publisher requesting the same. Usually one page, covering the author, the book, and the marketing.

Royalties: The percentage the publisher agrees to pay the author, based on sales.

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