Have you ever made an impulse Kindle book purchase and wonder how the heck the book ever got published?
Starting on February 3, word zoomed around the web last week, Amazon will institute more quality control over self-published books. If readers complain about a book they’ve downloaded having enough typos, grammar or punctuation errors, or formatting issues that make it difficult to read, Amazon will post a warning on the page and perhaps even pull the book’s buy button until said issues are fixed.
I honestly don’t know if this is true or total fabrication. All books have typos, no matter who publishes them or how many sets of eyes look at them. I have some doubts that Amazon employees have time to sit around counting typos.
But, true or not, it raises an interesting point about quality control. Don’t get me wrong. Indie publishing, as self-publishing is now called, has given authors a lot of options and opened the doors to publication to everyone with the guts to try. I’ve always been very cautious about featuring blog posts from indie authors I don’t know, if I haven’t read their books, because I feel as if I’m at least partially endorsing anything to which I give significant space on this blog.
I recently opened my doors, so to speak, to indie authors because so many traditionally published authors are going indie these days–I’ve even put one out myself (PIRATESHIP DOWN). Should my publishers decide once and for all not to finish out my Penton and Sentinels series, I will definitely finish them myself. And yeah, they’ll probably have typos no matter how hard I try.
As time has gone by, a lot of indie authors have realized it’s worth their money to hire editors and cover artists to help them publish a quality book. But a lot of others aren’t doing these things because it’s expensive and it eats up most of your potential profit (i.e., you end up in the red), unless you have the rare breakout. I hired out cover, developmental editing and formatting for PS Down (and probably should have hired a copyeditor). I haven’t broken even yet, although I’m close and I’m okay with that–I saw the book as a thank-you to the readers who have patiently endured the two-year gap between novels.
Anyway, here are the criteria I use as to whether or not to consider an author for a guest post or an interview on this blog.
* Is it an author with whom I’m familiar and whose writing I trust? If so, I will move to my next criterion unless the author is writing a genre I rarely cover (category romance, inspirational, erotica, light contemporary, young adult, or historical romance, for example).
* Does the book have a professionally done cover? Is the art amateurish? Is the type properly kerned? Are the fonts legible, and are there a minimum of compatible fonts on the cover? If so, then…
* I read the book blurb. If there are typos or grammatical errors in the blurb, I turn the book down. If it is clean and the story sounds interesting, I’ll probably offer the author a spot.
Does that sound harsh? Maybe, but with more than a million books published each year, there has to be SOME quality control, even if it’s just me trying to decide what to put on my blog. Or maybe Amazon pulling books that, when told of the complaints, authors refuse to fix.
What about you? Have you downloaded books (either indie or trad) that bother you with cover choice or or inferior spelling, punctuation, or formatting? Did it make you put down the book. Do you pay any attention to who a book’s publisher is, are you just looking at the story?
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