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The Silver Lining after a Bad Book Review

Margaret Kell-Virany: “Right now I’m on a high because I just got two four-star reviews for my Kindle book, A Book of Kells — the one that was called “Unable to Read” and awarded two stars by a reviewer last May.

At the time, the review was hard for me to take because I had just been pimping the book  like mad and given out 4500 free copies in a three-day promotion.  However, the review turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it alerted me to formatting problems I didn’t know about and wasn’t directly responsible for.
Amazon had offered to convert my paperback into a Kindle edition. They outsourced the formatting to Amazon Digital Services (this company doesn’t exist any more). I had trouble finding anyone at Kindle Support who could help me.

I corrected the mistakes (it was an awfully big job) and it is now up for sale again with perfect formatting.
Until quite recently no one who was not a personal contact of mine had reviewed the Kindle edition of A Book of Kells.  I had given up hope that people who downloaded free copies ever contacted the author.
But, interestingly, the readers who wrote the wonderful reviews {below) must have read the book in its “unable to read” state, since I’ve made no sales since the May promotion.”

The silver lining is also that my faith is renewed that the promo was worthwhile and I may do another one.  Meanwhile, I’m doing a little celebratory dance and hope you will join me. Here are the two reviews:

Brenda Lutz (MORRISTOWN, TN, US) July 16/12
” Different and interesting.
“Another book written from letters. Enjoyed this book and the historical background is always intriguing to me.Learned much about early Canada and their natives. Recommend this book.”
J. Corbett (Arizona) Aug. 31/12
“A Book Of Kells brought me back in time to when people were more concerned about God, country, and family than they are today. I often thought what was life was like back then for people working in the spread of Christianity. Well, this book does a very good job of explaining what it was like. The dedication of the people is amazing!
A book about real people, in real life situations makes for real interesting reading!
I loved this book!”

www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

http://www.margaretvirany.com/

http://www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com/

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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This Is NOT Your Book – Or Is It?

Misspelling, formatting errors, grammar flaws – are self-publisher AND publishing houses not editing anymore? Joel Friedlander wrote a great blog about the the editing process.

What readers / customers say on the Kindle Forum about these issues:

Carol Hannon says:
I, too, have discovered numerous misspelled words, punctuation, hyphenation, special character errors, and missing text in many Kindle books. And I’m not talking the little self-published books, either — I’m talking professionally published books from the major book houses. I have no idea why this is happening, but I’ve left feedback on some books’ pages about the errors. There’s no excuse for it in this electronic age. What I hope is that when these errors are fixed, if they ever are, will Amazon automatically download the revised version since our purchase is on record?

jh says:
I’ve bought a couple of books that had particularly frequent and glaring errors, hinting at poor OCR* rather than human error. Things like “1” turning up in the middle of a word instead of “l” or “I”, which a human wouldn’t accidentally type.  But yes, plenty of poorly proof-read copy in titles that aren’t by big-name authors. Though you do see that in physical books too, especially early editions. Misspellings, funky punctuation, even the old “there/their/they’re” issue…
*OCR = optical character recognition, in case anyone’s not sure what that meant. Basically a computer scanning the page of a physical book/manuscript, recognizing the letters as best it can, and digitizing it.

Santo de Vaca says:
@Carol Hannon: I bought a book with some really terrible formatting issues. In the physical book the first letter of each chapter was elaborately drawn and this didn’t transfer well to the electronic version. They fixed it a few weeks after publication and I had the option of downloading a fixed version of the book, which I did. I’m not sure if this is the norm or not for corrections.

Granny Daisy says:
As an avid reader, I often find errors in print and kindle books. Even in established authors you find misspelled or miss used words, or incomplete sentences. I am beginning to think publishers are saving money by not paying proof readers.

J. Robertson says:
I have found spelling and grammar errors in many paper books as well. So I think its all about the proof reading being done.  I have downloaded several “free” books, unfortunately, they were not free of misspellings , missing words, and other errors. I just overlook them since they didn’t cost me anything. I haven’t had that problem with the books I’ve paid for. Guess the old saying is true, ” You get what you pay for”!

What do you think as an author?  Should a book be free of grammar and spelling errors, professionally edited and formatted? Well I guess it is a non-brain-er for every author who wants to be seen as a professional and who has already invested months or years into the manuscript.

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Hyper Smash

 

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What is Involved in Self-Publishing?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Have you ever noticed that a person who becomes successful tends to continue to be successful, and on the other hand, a person who is a failure, tends to continue to fail? It is because of goals. Some of us have them, some don’t.”  Earl Nightingale in “Strangest Secret”

Publishing a book is like opening a business. What is an entrepreneur supposed to do in order to start his business, become a successful owner and sell lots of … well, beautiful handbags or lamps for sample or get lots of orders to design gardens or build houses?  She or he would have to set up a business plan and do plenty of research in their particular industry. The same research you will have to do:

  • Industry Overview – the big picture of publishing
  • Competition – their platform, marketing of their books, sales
  • Suppliers – retailers, aggregators, their conditions, prices, reputation
  • PR & Marketing – budget, free PR, social media, contacts
  • Business – contracts, calculations, accounting, legal
  • Markets – audio books, newspaper articles, foreign rights
  • Publishing – e-books, paper books, formatting, cover design, editing, publishing news

Writing an ebook or a book for that matter, is not a Get -Rich-Quick exercise – even if some publications try to make you to believe this (“Write & Publish in 7 days”, “How I became Millionaire in three months”…). It takes at least several months until you have a following in social media or until search engines notice your webpage or blog and until you receive responses (and customers). This is the reason why it is so very important for you to start your marketing before you even start writing your book. Yes, that is right, pre-publishing promotion begins long before the book is ready and it is the key to your books success.

Unless you are solely writing for creative expression, as a hobby and not for sale or god-forbid, to make a living – your book has to pay its own way, contributing to greater opportunities and profits. If you’re not prepared to professionally self-publish, professionally promote and professionally market your book, then don’t go the self-publishing route!

Professional means hiring professionals: editors, graphic designers, book layout professionals and marketing staff – unless you are good in designing and marketing – but never do your own editing!

If you’re waiting until the book is finished to start marketing, you are already behind the curve. Finding, reaching and building your audience will take a lot of time. Don’t wait until you are sitting with a warehouse or garage full of books. Build the audience first and then deliver the product.

With self-publishing your success will double: Writing a great book & market it professionally.

 

 

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