For today's post, I'm combining one of our most-viewed blogs with a piece I posted recently on my own blog—because they share a similar concern: Amazon's quality reviews.
Here's the core of the original post from Hitch, our ebook formatter.
Two other things have happened this month that are related to this. Which makes me think that this shan't be an isolated incident, and we in the biz need to pay closer attention to what we write, publish and produce. The two events are:
First, one of our top authors received a letter from Amazon, informing him/her that "During a quality assurance review of your title, we have found the following issue(s): Typo/formatting issues exist that may have been caused by an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) problem. An example is mentioned below:
"Don't forger that" should be ""Don't forget that"
Please look for the same kind of errors throughout and make the necessary corrections to the title before republishing it.
The interesting part is that this book wasn’t scanned, nor OCR’d; and it was professionally edited more than once. Amazon only provided the one instance of an “error.”
Another client, having crafted some rather unique content, had deliberately written scenes that were incoherent, to represent a protagonist in a comatose state. Amazon flatly yanked the title after customer complaints about the unreadability of the text.
What this tells me is that Amazon, having purged innumerable over-represented PD (Public Domain) titles, and every PLR (so-called, "Private Label Rights") book they could find, have decided that they are going to tackle the issue that everyone's been talking about: Curation
Which means one thing: real editing. Not Word's built-in spellchecker; not your Mom; real editors with real experience. Here at Booknook, we like the Twin Lizzies; Elisabeth Hallett and Elizabeth Lyon. Elisabeth Hallett, (Email here) specializes in line editing, as well as proofing and copyediting; Elizabeth Lyon (website here) is a freelance editor with more than 60 books under her belt, and can assist you with revisions and developmental editing, in addition to line editing services.
(And I add our blog member, Jodie Renner's editing services.)
And here's what I posted recently on my blog, Write First, Clean Later:
Sorry, but I need to vent a little. An recent email from Amazon had this to say:
During a quality assurance review of your title, we have found the following issue(s): Typos have been found in your book. For example:
- "blond hair off" should be "blonde hair off"
- "teen-agers thought" should be "teenagers thought"
Seriously? Of all the millions of books out there—many of which have never been edited—they find fault with blond instead of blonde? And teen-agers instead of teenagers?
First, editing styles and word-use changes over time. Second, who cares? These are not errors, not compared to some of the stuff I’ve found in my other books. And when I think about some of the manuscripts I evaluated for iUniverse that are now selling on Amazon through KDP, I shudder at the bad grammar, incoherent sentence structure, and lack of punctuation.
So I have to wonder: Why The Sex Club? A book written by a seasoned journalist and edited by a professional? Did some readers complain because they didn’t like the title and content? And did that complaint trigger a “quality assurance review”? Is Amazon just going through the motions to make the complainers happy? For those of you not familiar with my work, the book is a PG mystery.
The upside is that Amazon didn’t necessarily require me to do anything. The email says “before republishing it.” Since I don’t plan to republish it, I think I’m okay to let it go.
But it’s kind of annoying, and it makes me wonder what the heck is going on. I think Amazon is right to conduct quality reviews, and I think it should refuse to publish some of the crap that it does. But its email to me makes no sense at all.
Anyone else had this experience?