Self-Publishing FAQ: What Do All These Publishing Acronyms Mean?

Bookmark this A-Z list of publishing terms for handy reference!

Self-Publishing FAQ: What Do All These Publishing Acronyms Mean?
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AIA, KDP, LLC, POC…if this all sounds like alphabet soup, then this blog post is for you.

We’ll go through each publishing acronym and what it stands for.

This Self-Publishing FAQ was inspired by Cynthia, who has come a long way in her publishing journey since joining our AI Publishing Academy community.

Here’s what she posted in our private Facebook group recently: 

Let’s go through all of them one by one!

Top Publishing Acronyms in Alphabetical Order

Here’s a list of the most common acronyms you might hear in the self-publishing world:

  • ACOS: Advertising Cost of Sale is a metric used in Amazon Advertising to measure the efficiency of an advertising campaign. It’s calculated by dividing the total spend on a specific ad campaign by the sales generated from that campaign, expressed as a percentage. (Basically, this tells you if your ads are making or costing you more $$$ than they're worth)
  • ACX: Audiobook Creation Exchange is a platform for producing, distributing, and selling audiobooks.
  • AIA: The AI Publishing Academy, formerly known as the Audio Impact Academy, is the best beginner-friendly Amazon publishing course on the market. 
  • ARC: Advanced Reader Copy is related to pre-publication copies of books, which are sent to reviewers or booksellers before the official release.
  • ASIN: Amazon Standard Identification Number is a unique 10-character alphanumeric identifier assigned by Amazon to each product listed in its catalog. For books, the ASIN may coincide with the book's ISBN, but for all other products, it's a unique number used to manage inventory and facilitate search and identification on Amazon's platform. 
  • BSR: Best Seller Rank is a numerical score assigned by Amazon to products within specific categories or sub-categories, indicating the product's sales performance relative to other products in the same category. It’s kind of like golf. A lower BSR number signifies higher sales (kind of like golf, the lower, the better)
  • GPT: Generative Pre-trained Transformer is a technology used for creating AI-driven text, like ChatGPT.
  • ISBN: International Standard Book Number is a unique identifier for books, which is necessary for sales and distribution.
  • KDP: Kindle Direct Publishing is Amazon's self-publishing platform that allows authors to publish their books directly to Kindle and paperback.
  • LDP: Launch Day Promotion is a term used in self-publishing to describe strategies for promoting a book on its release day. 
  • LLC: Limited Liability Company is a business structure that offers extra protection to its owners from personal liability for the company's debts or obligations. It's definitely not required to become a successful publisher, but it has its perks! 
  • MS: Manuscript refers to the original text of an author's work before it is published.
  • POC: Proof of Concept is a demonstration to verify certain concepts or theories have the potential for real-world application and profitability. 
  • POD: Print on Demand is a printing technology and business process where books are not printed until an order has been received.
  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your online content so that a search engine likes to show it as a top result for searches of certain keywords. 
  • WIP: Work in Progress refers to manuscripts that are currently being written or edited.
  • 7DC: 7 Day Challenge refers to’s short-term challenge that shows everyday people how to take an idea to a fully published book in as little as a week. 

If this list is overwhelming, take a deep breath!

You don’t have to memorize any of it to get started or be successful with publishing.

It will all naturally come to you as you get the hang of things.

Robyn wasn’t so sure she could make this work for her, and she definitely had her moments of self-doubt.

But ultimately, she powered through, and she’s here to show you that you can do this, too!

Underrated Skills in Self-Publishing

A common misconception about self-publishing is that you have to be an expert in writing and editing.

That couldn’t be further from the truth!

There are thousands of writers and editors out there who would love to collaborate with you and take on that part of the publishing process. 

On that note, here are some of the skills that all of our most successful students have in common: 

  • Market Research: Understanding your genre can help you identify trends, understand your audience, and correctly position your book in a crowded market. You should know exactly what makes your audience tick, what pulls at their heartstrings, and most importantly—how you can help them with one specific problem or challenge. 
  • Budget Management: Quality books require investment, whether that’s time, energy, or funds. You can outsource 95% of the work if you’d like, but that 5% will still fall on your shoulders. Luckily, platforms like Upwork and Fiverr have made it easier to connect with freelancers and contractors for every budget!
  • Networking: There are dozens of self-publisher groups on Goodreads, Facebook, and LinkedIn where you can connect with other folks who are trying to figure out the business just like you. Learn from their mistakes, ask questions, and give more than you take! You’re bound to learn something new. 
  • Time Management: Juggling writing, marketing, and other life responsibilities requires a solid plan to use your time and keep your publishing journey on track.
  • Determination: Managing challenges with ghostwriters, formatting, a poor review, or slow periods WILL test your patience. Keep going!
  • Adaptability: Embracing new marketing strategies, adjusting to market shifts, and being open to feedback are only going to move you forward. 

3 Common Challenges and Mental Blocks That Get In the Way 

If you’ve been toying around with the idea of starting a self-publishing business but can’t seem to take that first step, we can promise you that thousands of other students have been in your shoes.

We’d like to introduce you to some of them here through three case studies that highlight the most common challenges and mental blocks we see holding people back. 

#1: Procrastination Held Him Back for Years 

Procrastination took almost two years of Travis’s life that he’ll never get back.

He remembers being paralyzed by the fear of failure and wanting to do something about it but feeling too ashamed to take any action.

…that is until his first book made him almost $1k in a single month.

Listen to his story here: 

#2: Self-doubt and Imposter Syndrome Made Her Believe She Wasn’t Ready 

If Stephanie had given in to her imposter syndrome, she wouldn’t have been able to inspire thousands of teen girls with her story. 

Listen to her story of faith and commitment here: 

#3: Single Parents Have One of the Hardest Jobs on the Planet 

Nicole knows what it’s like to juggle being a single parent on top of a million other tasks. Exhausting. 

Listen to her journey to publishing nearly 10 books, getting reviews, and building a community here: 

Where Will You Be in 10 Years? 

Here’s the funny thing about time—it continues to pass no matter what we do.

Your future is filled with thousands of possibilities, but imagine just two paths for a moment. 

Path #1: Nothing changes at all, and you’re exactly where you are now a decade from now. You’re anxious about retirement, and you’re always one emergency away from draining your savings. You’re lucky if you get even one vacation a year and you spend your nights dreaming about a better future. 

Path #2: Everything changes. You’re not worried about your retirement because you know it’s covered. Life can throw anything at you, and you know you’ll be able to recover from it. You take as many vacations as you want, and you spend less time daydreaming because you’re living the life you want. 

Which path do you choose? 

Here’s the shortcut to Path #2, just in case :)  

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