So you’ve decided to sign with SparkPress or our sister press, She Writes Press. Wonderful! We’re glad to have you. If this is your first time publishing with us, or even publishing at all, there are going to be a lot of terms thrown at you in the upcoming months. Some authors get a little overwhelmed and don’t understand what all the lingo means, so today, we’d like to take a step back and define the terms for you.


Acquisition: Beginning of the publishing process, where the contract is completed and rights are negotiated.

ARC: This is shorthand for Advance Review Copy. It’s a sample copy of your book printed at a lower quality well ahead of pub day. Authors use this as a chance to see how it will really look and note any changes that need to be made before the book goes to print. Publicists may also send ARCs to media contacts to solicit reviews, placement in roundups, and other coverage. Sometimes also referred to as galleys.

Author Handbook: This is your ultimate guide to everything that will be happening as you publish your book. Please refer to it regularly. If you have not received it yet, please email your PM.


Backlist: Titles that remain in print after their original publishing season.

Back matter: Materials following the main text of a book, including the index, author bio, book club questions, suggested reading list, glossary, and other resources.

BCC: This is shorthand for Back Cover Copy, the text that appears on the back of your book. It usually includes a description and a couple of blurbs/endorsements.

BISAC: This stands for Book Industry Standards and Communications, but you’ll likely never hear anyone refer to it as that. BISAC codes are created by BISG (Book Industry Study Group) and are meant to categorize books, so booksellers and librarians know where to shelve them. When you’re working on your tip sheet, you’ll need to select the three BISACs (also referred to as BISAC codes) that best describe your book.

Blurb: A blurb is a testimony to the book’s quality or content, or the action of writing one. We recommend asking authors in the same genre and experts on your book’s subject to blurb your work. You can also use a cutting from a review as a blurb. Many authors choose to put blurbs on their front and/or back cover, but if you have a lot of blurbs, you may want a praise page in the very front of the book.

Boilerplate contract (a.k.a. a standard contract): This might be the term your publisher or literary agent uses to describe your contract; it details the royalty rates, terms, sub right splits, world rights, and more.

Book Discovery Sheet: This is a form you’ll get from SparkPress towards the beginning of the publishing process, sometimes referred to as a book summary sheet. This form will help you start thinking about your book as a product, and is great practice in figuring out how to talk about your book. This document is also useful for your publicist to get to know the book, and is