Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Who Are They: 10 Publication Roles

Have you ever wondered what the correct terms are for various roles in the publication proccess? Here is a brief glossary that help explain some of the roles of those involved in the process of bringing a manuscript to life.

Critique partner (aka Critter) A peer who reads a manuscript with a critical eye and provides valuable feedback that will help the author improve grammar, spelling, style, continuity, genre guidelines, etc.

Beta Reader - (Alpha being the author) A reader who is not necessarily a writing professional, who will read the finished manuscript prior to submitting it to a publisher for the purpose of evaluating the book from a general reader's perspective and provide feedback on the story as a whole including readability, quality, and any areas that still might require adjustment.

Book Reviewer - One who will read and review book objectively for the purpose of providing an  brief summary and honest opinion of the book to share publicly for the perusal of those who may consider reading that book.

Advanced Book Reader - Books that are sent to industry professionals and professional reviewers from literary magazines, etc. who will have an opportunity to print a pre-release review of the material.

Endorser - An author who agrees to read a book prepublication at the request of an author. agent, or publisher for the purpose of providing support through a qualifying comment on the quality of the work, shown in a positive light.

Influencer - Someone who agrees to participate in positively promoting a book by sharing a review, interview, on book store & book review websites, social media, and or their blog.

Literary Agent -An agent's job is to determine if your subject has a market they can help you reach. They serve as a liason for the author to the publisher by submitting manuscripts, negotiating contracts, providing marketing advice, and many other essential aspects of communication and marketing.

Editor - An editor reviews book manuscript submissions and considers if the book will be a viable project for the publishing house and champion the project within the publishing house before an editorial review board for final consideration. Editors take the manuscript and turn it into a polished product ready to be printed and market ready. They address the overall structure and organization including character and plot development, pace, organization, subplots, character motives, tone, etc.

Copy Editor - The copyeditor works on the book at the manuscript stage, marking grammatical and spelling mistakes, querying inconsistencies, conflicting information, and awkward phrasing, verifying facts, preparing a style sheet, and keymarking the manuscript for design.  They make sure the manuscript is clear, correct, concise, comprehensible, and consistent.

Proof Reader  (aka line editor)- The proofreader works on the book at the galley proof or page proof stage, comparing every word of the manuscript with every word of the proof, verifying correct word breaks, making sure that all editorial changes were input, and (with some publishers) verifying that elements were set according to design specifications.

Do you have anything to add or clarify to this list?

Who are your favorite publishing peeps! I'll tell if you do.


  1. My favorite peeps at this stage of the game are my critique partners, who I must add are also my writing mentors. I also consider some of my author friends to be mentors and am so blessed! My prime beta reader, an avid reader, is my Mom. She also makes for a good preliminary proofer.

  2. I have to agree. My critique parters are invaluable to me:))But I want an agent!

  3. Carla, You really know your stuff! This is wonderful info. I didn't know what beta readers were till recently. And I was confused about copy editors and line editors for a time, also. You are so blessed to have so much writing support, mentors, friends, and your Mom!

  4. Like this list, can't think of anything else. :)

  5. Influencer - that's a good one. We needs lots of those. :)

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  7. There's also the content editor. Sometimes a publishing house will have someone who reads the manuscript (after it's acquired) and edit only the story content (somewhat like a critique parter after-the-fact).

    Of the several publishing houses I freelance for, only one uses separate content and copy editors. Most of the time when I'm copy editing, I'm also doing a light content edit.

  8. Uh, that's a critique partner after the fact. Sheesh. You'd think a professional copy editor would extend the courtesy to herself!

    (Oh, and @Southpaw, yes, we do need lots of good influencers. They're very important!)

  9. Thanks for chiming in, Kaye. I appreciate your expertise.

  10. What a great list, Carla! Very helpful!

  11. Carla, I so needed this info. Much of it I did not know. I certainly do need a critique parter, and I will be praying about that!

    Love your blog!

    God bless,


  12. Hi Carla
    Thanks for dropping by and Following I was delighted to find you there.
    What a great post.
    I've added it to my list of useful references.
    Best wishes

  13. Carla, Thanks for posting this. I had no idea about at least half of those terms, although I have seen them thrown around in various forums and classes. I have been thinking - what the heck are they talking about? Thanks for the tell all!

    BTW if you are an ACFWer, Kaye Dacus has been running an awesome class this month through the course loop. I have just been a lurker, but it has been very good.

  14. Carrie, I love Kaye's instruction. Her blog is great. I'll have to check out the course archives. Thanks!


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