Publishing Slang

I’m excited to announce that LCMS author/musician Fred Baue has his book, The Pilgrim, to the stage of sending galley to “reviewer heavies”. Now is the time to start the buzz! I greatly admire the man and I’ll keep you in the loop as a launch approaches, maybe even throwing a review in here. Meanwhile, why not explore a little publishing slang, since more than one of us may be interested in “flacking the merch”!


In the writing world, I refuse to believe there is an inner and outer circle. So how does writing slang take off (or get known)? It seems to me it’s really publisher jargon. I have no idea how wide spread such may be, but I thought it’d be fun to explore. First, basic terms writers really should probably know, and then a few more, including “flacking the merch,” which set me off on this funny jaunt in the first place.

Basic Terms

Proposal: A document that intends to hook an agent or publisher with your idea and writing. It needs to include a description of your project, a demonstration of how your piece fits into the market, a brief bio, and a writing sample.

Release: Prior to publication, this is when your book is shipped from the warehouse to the stores (and likely when it is finally released into your very own hands!).

Publication Date: The date your book is officially available for sale.

A Launch: Launch activities are those intended to propel the book to success. It could be a launch party, a book tour, a blog tour, a press release: anything you can do to get a growing number of advance reviews with the hopes of building an eye-catching media kit for publicity/promotion.

Advance: A payment to the author in advance of release. The publisher is then paid back that amount through royalties. The author begins to receive royalties only after the advance has been repaid in full.

More Esoteric Terms

Book Bomb! This is a(n awesome) coordinated effort to buy as many of a particular book on a single day in order to raise the author’s ranking within, for example, the Amazon system. The higher they climb, the more exposure they get, generating even more sales. Note: “bestselling” is a pretty hefty selling point!

Galley: A pre-press copy of a book sent to reviewers, typically before the final editing stages, without final cover.

ARC: An Advanced Reading Copy. This is a high-quality bound galley with a printed cover. Also sent for reviews.

Press Release/ News Release: A news story or statement distributed to the press.

Media Kit/ Press Kit: Hard or digital copy of the book jacket, reviews, blurbs, an excerpt of the piece, author photo, contact information, and things of that sort, for use of publicity.

A Flack (not to be confused with flak): “A slick spokesperson who can turn any criticism to the advantage of their employer.” (Quotation from here.)

Flacking the Merch, then, is when a person talks up merchandise, revving up attention, hopefully toward momentum in the market. And I happen to be quite happy to help you along those lines. 🙂


Obviously this list is far from exhaustive. Any more terms you’d like me to address? Here’s a link to bookmark if you need help later with terminology.

Happy writing!

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