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Friday, February 26, 2016

Amazon's New Error Free Book Policy - How it May Affect All of Us

March 11, 2016!
What's that saying, Hell is paved with good intentions? While I wouldn't call Amazon Hell (not today anyway) their new stated policy to take down books with an excess of typos/mistakes might create a hellish scenario for those of us who put the time, money and effort into trying to create professional, high quality books.  How you ask? It's simple.

Amazon has stated that they will take down books that have reviews complaining about mistakes. Some reviewers complain about mistakes in nearly every review. Some think there are mistakes where there are none. Sometime, in our greater creative wisdom (ahem) authors make up our own words and a reader without vision might see those creative tidbits as mistakes.

I've already had a conversation with a very sweet lady who tended to mark all her reviews down a star and mention typos as the reason. She admitted my books were really pretty clean, but she found one or two things and didn't think anything of mentioning it in her reviews. Like a lot of people who don't write books, she assumed that books which had been professionally edited should be entirely clear of mistakes. She doesn't know how impossible this is.

As proof, I give you this story. A group of editors once decided that they would finally do the impossible and release a completely error free novel. They put the book through a hundred different edits with several different editors. When the day came that they finally thought the book was ready, they released it. Within the hour they got the dreaded feedback...there was an error. The title had a typo in it. LOL I feel their pain.

None of us likes to find out we've used the wrong word or have a typo in our work. I, for one, will go right in and fix whatever's wrong immediately and resubmit the book. (One of the great benefits of publishing your own work!) But realistically, nobody can expect perfection. Well, apparently nobody but my reviewer. LOL Unfortunately, when reviewers mention a typo it's kind of a permanent fixture in a book's review bank. And if you get a few of these, you're going to draw the attention of Amazon's grammar police. Hopefully they will take the time to check the actual quality of your work before gonging you, but they've stated that they'll be using actual human type people to check for errors. And Amazon has how many books on its cyber shelves? It seems there might be some mistakes made along the way. In fact if you go with Amazon's history of trying to manage (read control) reviews, you KNOW there will be mistakes.

My advice is to let your readers know how their absolutely reasonable observation about a typo in a review might affect you. Do as I did and very politely ask the favor of getting an email outlining the mistake instead. And hopefully your reviewer will be as kind and wonderful as mine and do you that favor. If you take great care to put out the best possible work, you should be fine. But we all know how best intentions can bite you in the boohind. So a few precautions might just be in order!

Happy reading/writing everybody!


Melissa Keir said...

That's interesting. I have received a message from Amazon about errors. They didn't take down my book but just asked if the words were spelled correctly. It was nice to see that they were looking through the books and watching out for those books that have many typos.

Paris said...

I don't really blame Amazon for trying to manage their platform in a professional manner. We all want the reader to have a wonderful experience when our books are in their hands.

Sam Cheever said...

That's good to hear, Melissa. I wondered how they were going to manage that process. It seems like it's going to be a daunting one!

Sam Cheever said...

I totally agree, Paris. I don't blame them either. Thanks so much for your comment.

Janice Seagraves said...

My fear is that is someone doesn't like you or your work they'll post a review that there are errors when there is none.

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