Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: typos

Do We Have to Worry about Amazon Being Heavy-Handed Again?


The topic for today’s post came from the wonderful blog called The Passive Voice—usually showing snippets with links to other blogs but sometimes holding forth at length, eloquently—this time with the snippet/link about “Kindle e-Books will have a warning message if they have spelling mistakes or bad formatting.”

The passive guy (who’s actually a lawyer) led me to a somewhat detailed article at goodEreader.

Excerpts:

“Amazon has two stages of the warning system that will go live within a few short weeks.

If an e-book only contains a few spelling mistakes, but is still readable, a simple warning message will appear on the details page of that specific title.

“It will make the average book buyer aware that there are some issues.

“If the book has bad formatting issues, and basically renders it unreadable Amazon will suppress it and the book listing will be removed.”

Apparently, folks send notes from their e-readers to Amazon—like these:

spelling errors

I find this quite interesting because they seem to be saying Amazon will take action whether the book is uploaded by the author or comes from a publisher

I have two books on Amazon—one of each kind just mentioned…

I wrote about the typos of one of them back in June of 2012—A Book Review That Teaches The Author Something About Typos . . .—then, wrote about it again the other day—What Happens to a Book After It’s Published?

I’ve never told Amazon about typos I’ve seen in their e-books—have you?

Last time I looked the article had 71 comments and folks were either doubting Amazon will actually do this, or afraid they’ll do it but dump books that have purposeful misspellings, or drop books because some readers misreport for unfounded reasons

Excerpt:

“Currently, the only way users can report content issues is if you have an e-ink based reader, such as the Kindle Paperwhite or the Voyage. There is no reporting option for content errors on the Amazon Fire tablets or the Kindle e-reading apps for Android and iOS.”

Oh, also, the last time I checked, The Passive Voice snippet/link post had 67 comments; again, a mixed bag of disbelief, joy, query, and exasperation

There is one link in the goodEreader article to Amazon that says “a warning message“; however, I went to that page (found a bunch of sound advice about avoiding errors)  but only found one indication of action Amazon would take:

“Some errors cause a book to be incomplete or unusable. We refer to these as Critical Issues. Because Critical Issues significantly impact the reading experience, any Critical Issue will result in the book being removed from sale until the correction is made.”

I found no definition of “Critical Issues” though they may be what the goodEreader article called “bad formatting issues”

It appears goodEreader is conflating spelling mistakes and minor typos with major formatting issues by saying, “Amazon has two stages of the warning system that will go live within a few short weeks”.

Also, what they say really only deals with one warning (for typos) and one, seeming, unwarned removal

I did some searching for more on this story but have yet to find anyone else writing about it.

I suppose I’m sharing it because I trust that passive guy’s heads-up services; and, also, I’m curious if my book will start carrying a Warning

If you see anything, please, do share a link in the comments :-)
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The Ever-Present Typo . . .


Imagine this:

A public speaker known for their eloquence of utterance is well into their talk and says:

“We must remember, stalling is good for our health.”

Considering they were talking about exercise, what do the folks listening think?

Some will recognize the verbal “typo” and correct it to strolling, never losing a beat.

Some will recognize it and have their thinking stall, missing the next three sentences.

Some will not notice it at all—some of this group correcting it unconsciously, some thinking they can slack off on their workouts.

This happens with the written word, too.

In my past post, A Book Review That Teaches The Author Something About Typos . . ., I said:

“These typos [noticed by a man who’d read my novel] were missed by the editor, a number of authors who read the book, and myself

“Yet, before receiving this bit of editorial help, 8 other typos had been identified—typos which this man didn’t see

“Yes, wonderfully weird proof that we often read a book with typos and never see them.

“And, the typos we do see are often not the ones others see…”

Another example from my reading:

There are certain books by C. J. Cherryh I’ve read at least four times each—never noticed a typo.

After I’d had experiences with typos in my own work, I read one of those Cherryh novels again

I saw two typos

Here are a few excerpts from an article in The Guardian titled, Alex Ferguson’s errors join a grand publishing tradition:

“Is there a special bad elf that creeps out in the pre-Christmas period to wreak havoc with would-be bestsellers?”

it’s Alex Ferguson‘s turn to face the wrath of fans, after his autobiography was found to contain 45 howling errors.”

“The Ferguson fiasco is less easily brushed away, given the publisher’s insistence that the ghost-written book was read by a specialist football fact-checker as well as in-house staff.”

“It’s rare these days that whole editions are pulped due to unactionable errors

“Pity the poor publisher of the ‘Wicked Bible’; which, in 1631 contained the most famous proofing error of all: ‘Thou shalt commit adultery’.

So

Whether you’re a reader, writer, or publisher (or, all three), I hope you’ll share your thoughts and feelings about the pesky typo in the Comments :-)
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How To Find The Right Editor and Other Exciting Adventures


The other exciting adventures in the title refer mostly to my experiences with typos, in my books and others’.

If you can’t conceive of that being exciting, you probably haven’t slaved away on a piece of writing, looked for typos, had others look for typos, published the piece, then found typos

I’ve related some of my experience with typos here before and, in case you haven’t noticed, even the highest quality books from most prestigious publishers can have a typo or two.

Of course, editors come in different flavors and some only report typos for fun, paying attention to other things like story structure, voice, and continuity.

And, you can read other posts on this blog about adventures with editors.

Before I share some tips on finding the right editor, I want to give a shout-out to the editor who worked with me on Notes from An Alien and will be there for my next two books—along with a woman who will also be editing those next two books who just happens to be an author and my best friend :-)

My first editor, Laura Linneman, is willing to be contacted for work; and, a friend of mine from virtual world experiences is also someone worth contacting, Carole Cudnik.

But, just because an editor worked for me or interacted with me or is my best friend is no reason for you to consider them for your own work.

Do you have a method of judging whether any particular editor is right for you? [and, if you haven’t even considered writing a book, you may someday write an article for work or a newspaper; or even, want an editor for a blog]

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you probably seen a number of posts featuring Jane Friedman.

She “has spent more than 15 years in the publishing industry as an editor, publisher, and professor. Currently she serves as the web editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR), based at the University of Virginia, where she also teaches digital publishing and online writing. Her newest digital media initiative is Scratch Magazinea quarterly magazine all about the intersection of writing and money.”

Jane recently had a guest post by Stacy Ennis, “a book and magazine editor, writer, book coach, and speaker

That post, 5 Ways to Find the Right Freelance Book Editor, might be information that could help you in searching for the right editor.

I’ll list the titles of those 5 ways to find the right freelance editor but encourage you to go to the article and read it for what Stacy has to say about them:

1. Look for someone with experience.

2. Find a qualified editor that brings good energy to the process.

3. Look in the right places.

4. Interview the editor’s past clients.

5. Interview the editor and work on a sample chapter together.

If you have tips or experiences to share about finding the right editor, please share in the Comments!
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A Book Review That Teaches The Author Something About Typos . . .


The review is of Notes from An Alien and the reviewer is an inmate in Maryland, U. S. A. who’s been incarcerated for 32 years and is serving a life term.

Here is his review:

“It started a bit slow, but I found it completely worth reading. I thought the concept of a living sentient planet was a creative way to broaden one’s vision of what constitutes life.

“Reading Notes from An Alien is enhanced if the reader has at least a moderate conceptualization of Theology and Philosophy.

“The generational transitions are effective for conveying the elemental need for societal consistency. Well done!

“For those who read it in depth, it can be very thought provoking and, in my opinion, that is the primary purpose of the written word. I feel that if a writer fails to ignite creative thought, then the writer has essentially failed the reader.

“I look forward to a continuation in the series.

“Thank you for sharing your creativity, Peace should be everyone’s primary objective in life.”
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Apart from the education this review gave me about the intelligence of a prison lifer, I must say it’s the most welcome review I’ve gotten for my novel

This gentleman then proceeded to give me the following information:

Editorial Notes:
page 26 , line 26, word eight should read “than” instead of that
page 60, line 20, word eight should read Their” not “They”
page 83, line 4 from bottom of page, I’ve waiting” should read “I’ve been waiting”
page 95, line 4, “relative” should read “relatively”

These typos were missed by the editor, a number of authors who read the book, and myself

Yet, before receiving this bit of editorial help, 8 other typos had been identified—typos which this man didn’t see

Yes, wonderfully weird proof that we often read a book with typos and never see them.

And, the typos we do see are often not the ones others see

Fascinating………
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Does Every Writer Need An Editor?


There’s been much to-do about the roaring stream of poorly edited books produced by “self-published” authors.

And, even though there can be valid reasons for not following the “rules” when writing, typos and fractured sentences will appear in any writer’s manuscript.

Can they find these mistakes themselves?

I do suppose there are a precious few who could

For the rest of us, there are editors.

While writing my novel, Notes from An Alien, I went to the Owner of Book Island, Selina Greene (former publisher), and let her know how poor I was and my concern about not being able to afford an editor.

She told me to contact my local universities and solicit the English Grad students.

After three phone calls and as many emails, I had found my editor and she only wanted an acknowledgement of her efforts in the book :-)

In a previous post, Should Writers Fear Editors?, I shared some of the common misperceptions of editors from an article by Alan Rinzler.

And, for those not challenged by near-abject poverty, I recently found some wonderful editorial information.

Eva van Emden is a full-time freelance editor with, of all things, her own editing blog :-)

And, though her full site is, justifiably, focused on offering a writer her own services, she provides much more, like these clear points of the purpose of an editor:

  • suggest improvements to strengthen the flow of your story or argument,
  • identify places where the phrasing is unclear and suggest an alternative,
  • catch embarrassing typos and spelling mistakes,
  • edit spelling, capitalization, hyphenation, punctuation, and layout to be consistent within the document and to conform to the appropriate style.

There’s also a page of Editing Resources that includes the following topics:

Help with hiring a freelance editor
Editors’ organizations
Dictionaries
Style guides and editing references
Writing resources
Editing Fiction
Book news
Free software

You might also want to visit her page describing the various types of editing :-)
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