Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Saga Continues

Last we talked, I shared with you the fact that the e-book version of my freshman novel, Letters from Linc, was riddled with errors. This fact was pointed out by a reader in her Amazon review in which she professed disappointment over the fact that a novel filled with potential was likewise filled with errors. Besides posting this poor review, the reader also returned the novel for a refund. Not only did this cost me a sale, but this reader isn’t likely to read any of my work again and has published a review that may deter other readers.

My initial reaction to the news of these errors was to file them under the old adage of ‘you can’t please everyone’.  Several months later, still plagued by this, I downloaded a free sample of the book. There I discovered the errors the reader was talking about. Concerned there could be more mistakes, I paid for the book and set about skimming the rest of it. Sadly, my search yielded a number of mistakes early on. Dismayed, I contacted the publisher to ask what could be done.

You see, when Letters from Linc was released in 2006 the e-reading device was still a thing of the future. The novel was offered in an electronic format. When purchased, the reader was emailed a PDF of the novel which mirrored the printed version.  One year after Letters from Linc was released, the first version of the Kindle hit the market, which is where the problems with my novel began.

Naturally, I contacted the publisher to ask how this could be resolved. I was sent a book block proof form so that I could identity all of the errors as well as the correction needed. In this case, that was a lot easier said than done.  It didn’t take long for me to realize this wasn’t the correct solution to my problem.  Frustrated, I contacted the publisher once again and got a more detailed explanation of the issue.

Letters from Linc, along with other titles offered by the publisher, were converted to e-books that fit the Kindle formatting guidelines. As other e-readers were released, the Kindle formatted version was offered in those sites as well.  The intent was good, but the final product was not. It seems that there were some major issues with the conversion. The text in the original document wasn't recognized by the conversion software used. The publisher blames this on the fact that they no longer had the MS Word version when they sent the book for Kindle formatting. Instead, they had to convert the PDF back to word and then send it to be converted to the e-book. The result was an overwhelming number of errors that made the book unreadable and something I never knew. I was never notified of any of this or given an opportunity to review it prior to being released to the e-reader.  It all took place behind the scenes. Had the reader not posted her review, I might never have known any of this.

The publisher has assured me they are going to do what they can to resolve the problem. Of course, they haven’t specified what that entails, which means the saga continues.  In the meantime, if you were thinking about purchasing the e-book version of Letters from Linc, I’m begging you to wait until this is resolved.

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