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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The last two books I read had some really annoying sentence structure and grammar errors throughout the books. Here are a few examples:

The kid sharp is enough he might actually know how....

...but to the simple fact that she would be up and back in the camper before I'd be able to get to words out

All day, I couldn't fix on anything other than the though to confronting Jenks with what we knew...

Over margaritas, I explained how we had originally got ten together.

In the last example, no she isn't talking about ten people. It should be one word - gotten.

The first two are forgivable because they were from a new author who offered the book for free. But the author should still be aware of these types of errors. There were several others throughout the book too.

The last two shown above are from a very well known author so I was pretty surprised. There were other errors throughout that book as well.

Is this a formatting issue, or are these things that likely appear in the paperback versions too?
 

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I suspect it's a formatting problem.  I have a book on Kindle that I've also read in paper, and the paper version had none of the (many) errors that the Kindle version has.  (I guess you can't call them typos on a Kindle...  is there a word for them?  Other than "irritating"?)

Some books are flawless; others have errors like this on every page.  Does anyone know why that is?  Someone mentioned that the scanning and OCR technology is to blame, but then why do some classics not have a single error?

It bugs me enough that the frequency of errors in samples will help to determine whether I buy something or not.  For me, the flow of reading is interrupted every time.

 

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The error could arise from either cause. As an author I have personally been trying to learn as much as I can about such issues. An example I recently found in one of my own books is this. I published an itemized list of ten sentences. The list appears to be correct as #1-10 in the actual file of the book submitted to the Kindle system, but the Kindle version of the book shows the list of ten to be #'s 1-4, and 5-10 continue as #4 over and over again. The numbered content is correct, just as in the printed version of the book. It is only the 5-10 digits that have been affected. I have yet to figure out why this happened or how to fix it. One of the best things about Kindle is that we can repair mistakes, and as a conscientious author, I hope to discover how to repair this one in the future. There are many details about Kindle publishing that we are all still trying to learn. At least I am only charging $1.60 for my books this week! Thank you.
 

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It is important for every author who publishes on the Kindle to view their book on the kindle or make arrangements with someone else to do so. Many of the print authors who launch Kindle version and do not own kindles ask us kindle author/owners to check out their formatting. Many of these authors (from print) do not own the electronic rights and thus are at the mercy of traditional or small press publishing houses, who do what they want to do. I, personally, do my last and final editing and proofing, after receiving the final edits from my editor, on the Kindle and use highlights and notes to catch formatting, actual and malapropriate . I don't (and no author or editor does) catch 100% of the errors. The best we hope for is 99%. One of the advantages of being an Indie author using the Kindle for eBook and CreateSpace (POD) for print is that we can issue new revisions without cost or much fuss. I keep a running list of any errors found within my books found by reviewers or other authors and especially readers. Then, I will issue a maintenance update to the manuscript and refresh it. All the titles need refreshing at times as my list of titles grow and I'd like to keep a current list of all my books in the frontispiece of my works. It is also handy with my one nonfiction work - "Are You Still Submitting Your Work to a Traditional Publisher?," a work for Indie authors and wannabes and a manual on how to publish on the Kindle and to Amazon's CreateSpace POD, plus several essays on attitude and revisions - handy because "things change," and I can update the work with the latest internet methods and available tools.

I urge any reader who finds formatting or other errors in an author's work to send an email to that author for their reference. A messy manuscript, which should never be published regardless of writing quality, should of course be publicly reviewed, but a good work with a few boo-boos is worthy of a quiet, "loved your novel, but found that the word pale was misused and should have been pail - a pail is a bucket, but pale is not even a noun," type of thing, is much appreciated.

Edward C. Patterson
author of lots of stuff
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Susan in VA said:
(I guess you can't call them typos on a Kindle... is there a word for them? Other than "irritating"?)
Yeah, I didn't know what to call it. But I do know it can be irritating, so the word seemed to fit at the moment. Most books I've read (and there are many in the short time I've had my Kindle!!) aren't bad as far as this type of issue is concerned. But the last two I read seemed to have a lot of these problems. The last book even had one sentence that was so bad I had to read it several times before it made sense. Along with confusing word structure, part of that sentence had a series of 4 numbers that I figured out was supposed to be an apostrophe.
 

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Laurie said:
All day, I couldn't fix on anything other than the though to confronting Jenks with what we knew...
Kim Harrison?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
edwpat said:
It is important for every author who publishes on the Kindle to view their book on the kindle or make arrangements with someone else to do so. Many of the print authors who launch Kindle version and do not own kindles ask us kindle author/owners to check out their formatting. Many of these authors (from print) do not own the electronic rights and thus are at the mercy of traditional or small press publishing houses, who do what they want to do. I, personally, do my last and final editing and proofing, after receiving the final edits from my editor, on the Kindle and use highlights and notes to catch formatting, actual and malapropriate . I don't (and no author or editor does) catch 100% of the errors. The best we hope for is 99%. One of the advantages of being an Indie author using the Kindle for eBook and CreateSpace (POD) for print is that we can issue new revisions without cost or much fuss. I keep a running list of any errors found within my books found by reviewers or other authors and especially readers. Then, I will issue a maintenance update to the manuscript and refresh it. All the titles need refreshing at times as my list of titles grow and I'd like to keep a current list of all my books in the frontispiece of my works. It is also handy with my one nonfiction work - "Are You Still Submitting Your Work to a Traditional Publisher?," a work for Indie authors and wannabes and a manual on how to publish on the Kindle and to Amazon's CreateSpace POD, plus several essays on attitude and revisions - handy because "things change," and I can update the work with the latest internet methods and available tools.

I urge any reader who finds formatting or other errors in an author's work to send an email to that author for their reference. A messy manuscript, which should never be published regardless of writing quality, should of course be publicly reviewed, but a good work with a few boo-boos is worthy of a quiet, "loved your novel, but found that the word pale was misused and should have been pail - a pail is a bucket, but pale is not even a noun," type of thing, is much appreciated.

Edward C. Patterson
author of lots of stuff
None of the books I quoted from were yours, but I'm happy to hear that authors are not always aware of the problems and are open to hearing about them in order to make corrections. The intent of my post wasn't to be insulting to any of the writers, I was just pointing out an issue I found a little bothersome in the books I was reading. Like I said in a previous post, most of the books I've read haven't had many issues at all. The last two sort of made up for them though!
 

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Yes, that stuff bugs me too. Another thing that bugs me is Danielle Steel and the way she overuses words like profound and extraordinary and starts too many sentences with "and". Her newer books just aren't that great either.

Melissa
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
meljackson said:
Yes, that stuff bugs me too. Another thing that bugs me is Danielle Steel and the way she overuses words like profound and extraordinary and starts too many sentences with "and". Her newer books just aren't that great either.

Melissa
Danielle Steel used to be my favorite - way back with her earlier books. Then the books just got so tedious to read - she could go on for 5 pages describing a dress - and I lost all interest. Recently I've tried reading some of her books again and I didn't enjoy them at all.
 

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Laurie:

I don't think any author would take what you said as insulting. And these things should irritate you. Authors must put the reader first, and sometimes I catch things that will throw my reader clean out of the story. I had one in The Jade Owl, when it was in beta-test (I beta-test some of my works, and in the acknowledgements of The Jade Owl I list every one of my beta-readers), that not only would have thrown the reader out of the scene, but would make them laugh at me as a numbskull. In that passage, the protagonist is warning his cohorts not to touch the Butterflies, because they are actually metallic and dangerous flanges. He shouts at them: "Butterflies?" and then tells them to "Duck." Well, all my beta-readers got a good laugh at Patterson's "Butterflies? Duck." I got, couldn't you make up your mind? and Is that a new type of bird, the Butterfly Duck.

BTW, I knew it wasn't one of my errors. My errors are trademark. Ask my editor who needs to correct the word past/passed every time I use it. "I'm leaving that up to you," I tell her, because I give up. I rely on her to do some of it. he he.

And lastly, my brother's name is James Patterson. He doesn't write, and rarely reads, but he once urged me, for marketing considerations to "change your name to your brother's and they'll beat a path to your door." The thought never crossed my mind. If I can't get my own "beat," I don't deserve the door.

Edward C. Patterson
author of stuff (lots of stuff)
 

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Laurie said:
James Patterson
lol, I saw the Jenks and didn't figure there would be too many books that would have a Jenks character.
 

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Forster said:
lol, I saw the Jenks and didn't figure their would be too many books that would have a Jenks character.
I thought the same thing, Forster! LOL!

Betsy
 

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Edwpat, I'm glad to read your ideas here. I review many of the kindle books I read. And I include format issues, both positive and negative. I will admit I've never contacted the authors because it seemed "stalker-ish" (forgive my making up my own words).  I do contact Amazon with format issues.  I tell them about typos, but I don't refer to typos in reviews because I only comment negatively on  format issues if it makes reading unpleasant or in some cases near impossible. 
 

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Red:

A good Kindle author will give you their email address in the context of the ebook. I include my email address in every book I publish, Kindle and print version. I guess if you were to try to correct Stephen King, he might think "stalker," he he. Never thought of that. Amazon may do something about formatting. I didn't think they did, as it's the publisher's responsibility. However, I stood corrected here on Kindleboards with some posters who said they have contacted Amazon and have seen changes, or have gotten something other than the templated response. If you can tell the author, especially if they are an Indie author, do it. Especially if it's me. I want MORE contact with my readers, not less. How else will I know whether I've done my job, nes pas?

Edward C. Patterson
 

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Amazon usually tells me they pass the information on to the publisher, who, I guess, is supposed to pass it on to the authors. Some of the books have been fixed, some haven't.  I'll try the author if I have problems again.
 

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I recently purchased Miss Julia Delivers the Goods, published by a major house. There are 4-6 spaces between quite a few paragraphs, and because of full justification (I'm assuming), a lot of sentences only have a few words on a line.

I didn't think about contacting the publisher, so thanks for the reminder.

I've had problems with print books, too. The middle of a sentence might switch to the middle of a sentence two paragraphs down, and then resume normally.

Not all indy authors have access to a good proof-reader or editor, so I go along with Ed, let the author know. They'll appreciate being able to make the corrections.

There are scammers out there. Agents and publishers would refer an author to a particular indy editor. This editor (not just a proof-reader) would kick-back to the agent or publisher, and then charge the author upwards of $5,000, whether or not they made any changes or corrections.
 

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I am fortunate. My editor is so dedicated to me she works for free (well, for books and dinners), but she believes in me and she crackerjack (and I dedicated Turning Idolater to her, because its her favorite book).

Extra spacing is caused by the Kindle conversion not liking 2 carriage returns in a row, but some publishers don;t know this. Other major formatting tripwire are using "tabs" instead of style indents. But I don;t want to get too technical. The justification bothers me. I refuse to justify my book, because its an old habit going back to the cold-type days to save money. Now that hand setting is gone, the old format persists, and the optics of reading a justified line is harder than a ragged left line. I ragged left all my titles, even in print, where some publishers would go "shame, shame." (Well m shame, shame on them.)

Anyway, some Kindle books force justification preventing me from taking it of in the Kindle's function. I have suggested to author friends that they should not hard code justification in their works so readers can make it easier to read through left-justification.

Edward C. Patterson
 
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