Indie Author Glossary D-F

Welcome to part 2 of our Indie Author Glossary, covering D-F. This is our essential collection of author and publisher terminology to help you along on your author journey. We break down the terms and give you easy to follow explanations so you get a head start on your publishing journey.

Indie Author Glossary

Deep discounts

Sometimes publishers can offer larger discounts to major chain stores. This will affect the royalties paid to authors. This can be the reason why 10,000 books sold to somewhere like Walmart, may result in a very small royalty cheque.


The way the book is set out. An essential component of any professionally produced self-published book. See our two guides to laying out text and designing for print and digital for more information.

Developmental Editor

See Content Editor.

Developmental Edit

An essential component of preparing your book for publication. Developmental editing ensures you have the best book ready for layout and design. Our authors really appreciate the value of a good developmental edit.


The way that your book makes its way to retailers and book buyers across the world. Most indie authors distribute via Amazon and IngramSpark.


These companies sell your books to bookstores, libraries and more. Generally, they take up to 65% of the retail price of your book. They can be very useful if you have a low print cost. It’s hard to get your margin to a point where you make a profit using a distributor and print on demand printers.


DPI stands for dots-per-inch, which is old-school, pre-digital terminology derived from the physical printing process. It literally refers to the number of dots that a printer is printing for every inch of an image. It can be confusing for authors, so please do read our guide to What does DPI mean.


An aggregating service, Draft2Digital allows you to upload your book to one place and they will distribute it to up to 12 online stores. They are our current preferred distributor for online retailers aside from Amazon and Apple Books, where we upload directly. They take 10% of your royalty as their fee, so it’s a very economical model for indie authors.


This stands for Digital Rights Management. This is an encryption system which helps to protect intellectual property from copyright infringement. An optional feature when you upload to Amazon.

Dust jacket

The cover that protects a hardback book. Not necessary for all hardbacks. Some authors love them and others don’t. Requires an additional cover design to accommodate the jacket flaps.


A digital book. Comes in different formats, the main versions being ePub/Kindle/Mobi files.


A written statement promoting an author or their book. Usually placed on the cover or in the front matter of the book.


The digital book format used by most retailers, except Amazon.


In indie publishing this refers to being exclusive to Amazon. Generally this is the only store that requires exclusivity for promotional benefits.


The font you use can make a big difference in your book. Popular choices for body text include Garamond or Minion Pro.


These are often used to raise the prestige of the book, particularly for non-fiction. It’s an introduction to the book (usually gushing) written by another author or expert in the field.


How your book moves from a word document or collection of images to a finished file ready for publication. A poorly formatted book is one of the most common markers of a budget self-publishing job.

Front Matter

The parts of your book that come before the story/content starts. This includes the introduction, table of contents, copyright etc. For indie authors, this is an important place to start connecting with your readers. You can find more suggestions in our Front & Back Matter Template.

Fulfillment house

Amazon is one of the most well known fulfillment houses. They handle the whole ordering process including storing, packing, mailing and more. Distributors will often have their own fulfillment houses.

Where to Next:

We hope you enjoyed part 2 of our Indie Author Glossary. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments. You can also see Part 1 (A-C) in our Indie Author Guides. We’ll keep working through the alphabet and will have it all pulled together and complete soon. If you’d like to know when we’ve got the full list up, just join up to our author newsletter. We email about once a month with our latest guides, tips and specials for authors. Otherwise, do have a look at our full list of Indie Author Guides and make sure you come say hi on one of our social channels. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.


Leave a Reply

Subscribe to Old Mate Media