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Typos, spelling errors, plot holes, oh my! Gabriel’s Redemption takes two shots to the chin

February 1, 2012 39 comments

Those of you who know me (or as well as anyone can be “known” in an online, social media world) know that a huge pet peeve of mine is making an error. Whether it’s a typo, or a spelling error, or a missing dialogue tag, or misplaced apostrophe, or even a factual mistake or inconsistency, I can’t stand it. If someone pinned me down and asked what I thought my strength was as a writer, I’d say the mechanics of writing. Seeing an error in a book I’m reading literally and figuratively pulls me out of the story.

Why do I bring this up now? Because in the span of two hours last night, I received a message from a reader, followed by an email from Amazon, pointing out separate errors in Gabriel’s Redemption.

CRAP! The book that’s been out there the longest (albeit the one that was written first, before I had ‘grown’ I suppose), suddenly gets caught with errors. And that irks the hell out of me.

The reader pointed out an issue in a scene where someone who was knocked unconscious just seconds ago watched, with tears in his eyes, someone else being dragged from the room. I immediately pull up my Scrivener file, scroll down to that chapter, and spit out my evening coffee. Son. Of. A. Biscuit. So I go through my original files to see how the hell this happened, and there it is. There is one line that should have been struck from the final edit, but got left in, changing the entire scene to one with a major hole. Completely my fault, so I spit more coffee (by this time my wife is glaring at me and handing me paper towels with the look “you will be cleaning this up.”)

Now I’m cleaning up coffee and my novel at the same time, and getting more and more angry at myself. How could I have let this slide? Tomorrow (Feb 2nd) is the one-year anniversary of publishing Gabriel’s Redemption, so it’s been out in the wild a year, being purchased by well over seven actual, honest-to-goodness readers, with a logic hole I could drive a truck through.

Finally get the coffee cleaned up, and wham. An email from Amazon:

Dear Publisher,

During a quality assurance review of your title, we have found the following issue(s): 

Typos have been found in your book. 

*loc; 742; “It reminder Gabriel of” should be ‘It reminded Gabriel of”.

Please look for the same kind of errors throughout and make the necessary corrections to the title before republishing it.

Pow, another shot to the chin! More coffee spit, and now I’m ready to chew my left arm off to punish myself.

I pride myself on having clean work, so these types of things really kill me…probably even more than a poor review. An author, self-published or not, should always be putting out the most professional work possible, and I missed stuff. Terribly disappointing.

I know there’s a prevailing thought out there that a few typos and errors are acceptable for self-published authors, and at $2.99 or $.99 or whatever, are to be expected. But that’s just not my mindset. To me, anything that could be corrected, should be corrected, and before someone spends money on the product.

OK, rant over. Where do you fall on the acceptable error argument?

 

UPDATE: Someone emailed me asking if I left out a word when I said “purchased by well over seven actual, honest-to-goodness readers”, like maybe I meant seven hundred, or seven thousand, or seven million (right…), which would have been funny and ironic in this post. But no, didn’t leave anything out…I don’t release sales numbers so that’s my way of being as vague as humanly possible…

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In celebration of the new Nook, join me in promoting fellow authors

June 2, 2011 24 comments

I was lying in bed last night (no worries, this blog post isn’t going there) reading Game 7: Dead Ball by Allen Schatz on my Nook Classic (tip: go buy that book). As I swiped my finger from right to left on the awesome little color nav screen, I realized I really love my Nook. And I feel for it. It’s like the forgotten middle sister to the older, more experienced Kindle, and the younger, flashier iPad.

I’m not a button kinda guy (see aforementioned finger swipe), which explains why I don’t have a Kindle…not a fan of that circa-2004 cellphone keyboard it sports. But I also don’t want to read on backlit LCDs, since for the past couple of years I’ve read books on my iPhone, and I’ll probably go blind from the (a) strain in sunlight, or (b) glare at night. So when I got my Nook (again, not the Color backlit one), ostensibly for a giveaway, I fell in love with it (my apologies to the person who may have won it in the never-kicked-off contest I planned to have).

But then it dawned on me last night…even though I use a Nook, and love it, it’s still that middle sister, even in my own marketing efforts. If I send a tweet about my novel (shameless plug & links: Gabriel’s Redemption scifi-adventure just $2.99 for Nook & Kindle), I invariably will send the Kindle one. Why? Market leader, of course – if I only have one sales message to send, it’s a Kindle message. Makes perfect business sense. But then I look at my sad Nook, staring back at me with its plaintive eyes (OK, color nav screen), and I feel like I’m cheating on that middle sister.

So here’s the deal. I’m gonna single-handedly vault the Nook into the number one spot for ereaders. Okay, that’s absurdly optimistic. I can’t even get my novel into the Top 10,000 on Kindle. I’ll start smaller. Starting tomorrow (Friday), and in celebration of the new Nook Simple Touch reader that is now available for purchase (man, that’s an awesome piece of tech), I’m going to throw out a hashtag and promote fellow authors’ ebooks on the Nook every Friday. I’d love it if you joined in. It will be the oh-so-creative hashtag #nookfriday.

Promote your novels and shorts, promote your friends…hell, promote a $38 ebook about King Arthur. Doesn’t matter. If you see a tweet from someone promoting a Nook book, even if it’s not your cup of tea, retweet it if you like…perhaps one of your Twitter followers enjoys that type of tea.

With the new Nook shipping next week, I do foresee a jump, if even a small one, in market share for Barnes & Noble…at least until Amazon catches up. So I think it’s an excellent time to start getting the word out on my novel, as well as others, that can find a home on a reader’s Nook.

Whaddya say…are you in?

 

Update: My current sales rank (June 2) for Gabriel’s Redemption in PubIt for BN is 342,782 (stellar, I know). We’ll see if the needle moves at all…

Touching the future of reading – ebooks on Kindle, Nook, iPad

February 28, 2011 17 comments

This past weekend, I promised myself I’d sit down, shut out all distractions, and put together a rough outline for Book 2 of the Evan Gabriel trilogy (yes, it’s nearly official – Gabriel’s Redemption will be the first book in a science fiction/space opera trilogy…no better way to get noticed and have validity as a new author than to have more than one novel for sale, or at least in the pipeline). I packed up the trusty MacBook Air, iPhone, notepad, and gift cards, and headed to my local Barnes & Noble.

Ran into a problem…after ordering my latte (non-fat milk, no whipped cream, of course…I’m still feeling my hibernation weight) and sitting down, I found myself sitting in front of this sign for the new Color Nook…and I got distracted. I looked around the cafe area, and saw a few people holding e-readers. I decided to take a quick walk around the store, just out of curiosity’s sake. Know what I found? Something you never would have seen a couple of years, or even one year, ago. I counted…approximately one-third of the people reading in the cafe or wandering around the store shopping were carrying an e-reader. Some were reading, some were scoping out books to buy, instantly on their ereader. You know what? The ebook revolution is here…and if you’re a self-published author, or struggling-to-get-published one, you need to jump on this bandwagon right now.

Here are some amazing, and possibly sobering (although I find them exciting) statistics:

  • Barnes & Noble’s online store (bn.com) sold more ebooks in 2010 than paper.
  • Amazon.com ebook sales passed paper earlier in the year.
  • The Kindle 3 (latest) is the best-selling item in Amazon’s history, surpassing the 7th Harry Potter book.
  • Barnes & Noble sold 1 million ebooks on Christmas Day alone.
  • Sales of ereaders (Kindle, Nook, Sony, Kobo, et al) are expected to grow from 15 million in 2010 to 60 million in 2015
  • Ebook sales in the US are expected to grow from $1 billion in 2010 to $2.8 billion in 2015

None of these statistics are truly factoring in the explosive growth of the tablet computer segment (iPad, Galaxy, Xoom, PlayBook), which are not dedicated ereaders, but more of a hybrid between smartphone and laptop. However as that market continues to rapidly expand, more and more consumers will use them as ereaders, even further increasing the statistics above. Oh, and of course, how many millions use their iPhone/Android phones as books? I know I do.

Speaking of tablets, in two days Apple will announce the iPad 2, which is expected to be thinner and lighter, making it even more practical as an ereader. Apple isn’t stopping there – even though there is some controversy with their iBooks store, never count them out of attempting to dominate a market segment.

I always thought when I was young that to be successful, I needed to see my novel in print, on a bookshelf, in a real bookstore. Otherwise, no one would take me seriously, and no one would end up buying my book, and no one would read the stories I had to tell. I don’t feel that way any longer. It’s never been a better time to be a writer! I can’t emphasize that statement enough.

Oh, and that thing about seeing my book in the bookstore? Done.

P.S. That is NOT Photoshopped – the Nook demo person suggested I download an ebook to try out the reader and its features, on the store’s dime, so what did I decide to download? You guessed it…and I left it there for other shoppers to see…