1. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    ePolice

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by erebh, Jun 27, 2013.

    I've just got this email from Amazon regarding a self published ebook I bought:

    An updated version of your past Kindle purchase of XXXXX is now available.

    The updated version contains the following changes:

    •Typos have been corrected.

    You can receive the improved versions of all your books by opting in to receive book updates automatically. You can do this by going to Manage Your Kindle and clicking on the Manage Your Devices section. You will find the option labelled Automatic Book Update.


    I'm getting a bit sick of people self publishing eBooks without even doing a thorough spell check - typos really piss me off in any published work, even websites.

    A friend of mine self published his book and put it on Amazon for €2.99 then sent me the link. He apologised up front to me for not spell checking and it's only 20,000 words.

    Do you think it's time for Amazon or Kindle to have ePolice who make sure people aren't selling sub-standard crap because let's face it, anyone can sell anything online. Maybe it would be a good business for a few crafty people here who could proof-read self-published work and rubber stamp it for quality - and of course a small fee. Any takers want to PM me?
     
  2. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    This is why I am EXTREMELY choosy about ebooks, even ones that are free. I think some writers just want to "get their book out there" and worry about editing later, or not at all, because they think the genius of the work will carry it. But I'm afraid even if it's the best piece of work in the world, if it has typos and silly errors, I will not consider it so.

    And no, I do not think ePolice should exist, because the ePolice should be the writers. I'm sorry, but that's what comes with the job. If you love a language, then you learn to speak it and write it down correctly. But yes, I understand why you think it is annoying! :p
     
  3. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are editors who will do this, and who will help format books for publication. This is a big problem with ebooks, and it sometimes even happens with ebook versions from the Big Guys (which is all the more shocking.)

    That's the whole danger with self-published books, and the issue does work against anyone who self-publishes, because not only is it easy for a typo to sneak in, but there are plenty of authors who don't really care, and will just put up anything. And those authors make everyone look bad.

    I don't know how the ePolice would work -- the self-pubbed arm is just that -- self publishing. The author is the publisher. As we all know an automated program to catch these sorts of things just doesn't work, so you'd have to have an actual person going though everything, which would cost quite a bit of money, and would vastly add to the cost of self-pubbing, which would defeat one of the primary purposes of doing that.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Amazon isn't an editing service.

    That's part of the package when a book is released through a publisher. In theory it should've received solid editing. While this can be the same with self-published works, all too often it isn't. But that's what the look inside feature that Amazon is there for, or at least one of the reasons.
     
  5. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Charge by the typo - if the author wants the quality stamp, (s)he will put a lot more effort into the original editing leaving less work for the editor. You could charge a nominal $100 dollar for the stamp and 10c for every typo. (Just an idea with figures plucked out of the sky.)

    If a self-published book had a "guaranteed professionally edited for SP&G" stamp from a trusted source would you feel a little safer/better about buying it?

    Same could be said of the real world, we shouldn't need police because people shouldn't do bad things. Fact is, shit happens and it normally lands on the unsuspecting doorstep of the honest person who just bought a book in good faith.
     
  6. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Yes, think that would make me feel a little differently. :) And you have a point there, I never thought about it like that!
     
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  7. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've seen so many self-published authors talk casually about editing their books after they've published - they have absolutely no problem putting out carelessly edited books and expecting their readers to 'update'. Equivalent to using their readers as betas. But "We don't need no gatekeepers!" :rolleyes: One of my biggest pet peeves with SP authors.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think this is at all unreasonable. In fact, it has the ring of premonition to me. Self Publishing has been around for a fraction of an eye-blink. The customer will eventually be the driving force behind changes in the structure of the phenomenon. You may well see such things in the future, no different than the little arcane stars and badges used on eBay to make you feel more comfortable with this or that seller.
     
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  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you want such a stamp, don't buy self-published books. What you are asking for is that at least one set of eyes other than those of the author has examined the manuscript for quality. And that is traditional publishing.

    It's also why many people do not and will not consider self-publishing as real publishing. It's inherently lacking in a quality review process.

    Some publishers are less quality conscious than others, too. Not all traditional publishers are equally professional, and therefore reputation is important. No publisher will be able to catch every last typo, but all in all, traditionally published books will have a higher standard of quality.
     
  10. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    They do. They're called readers. Sub-standard crap doesn't sell well.

    I haven't read a single trade-published book recently which didn't have at least one typo, mis-used word or duplicated word. If the problems are an order of magnitude worse than that, you should see them in the sample before you buy; particularly if they haven't copy-edited the book at all.

    And then, of course, there are the idiots who claim 'this book is full of typos' because they don't realise there are differences between American English, Canadian English and English English.
     
  11. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My friend, who happens to be a very good writer, actually self-pubbed her book and then later sent out an updated version. Guess why she updated it?

    She changed the ending... :rolleyes:

    I appreciate the fact that she's obviously taking feedback, but... I dunno, I mean, C'MON!!!

    As for regular self-pub books - that's why I read the sample before I download them. You can tell from the first page or so if it's well-written.
     
  12. NathanWrites
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    NathanWrites Member

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    I agree! Editors, publishers and agents all perform an invaluable service. They don't just exist to just take a cut of the profit. No matter how many times a person self-edits, another set of eyes usually detects more.

    I especially hate finding a typo in a book that's been reprinted many times. However, those ones can give a special feeling for finding something everyone else missed...
     
  13. idle
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    idle Active Member

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    Just a question - in that quoted case, was it indeed a book with heaps of glaring spelling errors that the writer finally cleaned up a bit after many complaints, like you suggest?

    I could just as well imagine a nicely polished book that the author updated because one or two typos that someone pointed out.

    Making a book with no errors is virtually impossible. I've just finished proofreading one book that is going to print (it's the first time I'm doing this, a new experience) and although I've read it twice and corrected like a hundred errors and the editor found many more I'm pretty sure there'll be some left anyway... The great thing about ebooks is that they can be corrected.
     
  14. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Books will always have some errors in them because the editors are human. But the terrible thing about ebooks is that authors think they can be corrected after publication and assume that means they don't have to sweat blood in the editing phase. Books, whether print or ebook, should be as carefully edited as humanly possible before it sees the light of day. Anything less is pure laziness.
     
  15. idle
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    idle Active Member

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    Of course. That's why I was asking which case it was.
     
  16. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    In that particular case, I would say it doesn't matter. The book was out. If it was full of glaring problems, it shouldn't have been published to begin with. If it was only a couple of typos, why edit and then re-publish? In either case, the author screwed up. Authors should not think of ebooks as 're-doable', for whatever reason.

    NOTE: I'm not talking about non-fiction, which is regularly updated when, for example, new information becomes available. That's totally different.
     
  17. idle
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    idle Active Member

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    So you'd prefer if the couple of typos stayed in the e-book, even if they can be corrected? Or what am I missing?

    (Yesterday I found a few mistakes - extra characters that did not belong there - in an e-book I was reading. I sent an e-mail to the publisher. Three hours later they replied with an apology, thanked me and told me that a corrected version was available for download. That's a kind of service I appreciate.)
     
  18. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    I've seen the occasional typo in major published works, so getting all of them isn't going to happen. Anything self published may not go through editing at all. Indeed, it may not even be finished.
     
  19. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I definitely don't mind a couple of typos. I'd rather have a book with a couple of typos in it than having to re-download a book because the author/publisher is finding new little glitches that aren't worth a tinker's damn. There's a difference between thorough editing (with acceptable human error) and nitpicking, and books should not be re-issued because of nitpicking.

    A reader should not have to be constantly tracking whether or not they have the latest version of a novel, and they should not have to be acting as betas for the author or publisher.
     
  20. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    This.

    Of course I also do this for any books I'm considering, regardless of how they were published.

    I'm not really hunting for typos per se...I'm trying to determine whether the author has written something that will engage me. Typos are of course a red flag, but so is imprecise language, pointless exposition, clichéd or pedestrian dialogue, and flat characterization.

    As the saying goes: "You don't have to eat the whole apple to know it's rotten," which is why the free sample is so important whether you are shopping on Amazon, thumbing through books at the local Barnes & Noble, or putting James Patterson back on the rack at your local grocery store.
     

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