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I'm very fastidious with the quality of my books. I have a detailed editorial process (proof and copy edits) and then more than 500 beta readers (around half of whom will usually chime in with comments). Was that it were ever thus - some of my earlier books were not quite so carefully prepared (I was a little more haphazard when I started!) and errors slipped in. I pick these up as soon as I become aware of them - reader emails, review comments, and those lovely passive aggressive Amazon emails.

On the latter, it seems that there is now a realistic escalation... I got this from Amazon yesterday:

Our shared goal is to provide the best digital reading experience for customers on Kindle. When customers contact us with quality issues in a book you published, we validate the issues and send them immediately to you to fix.

Starting February 3, 2016 we will begin showing customers a warning message on the Amazon.com Kindle store detail pages of books that contain several validated quality issues. We will remove this message for a book as soon as we receive the fixed file from you and verify the corrections -- typically within 2 business days.

We understand that even with the best quality controls, defects sometimes make it through. That's why we've limited this messaging to books with several issues. Books with more serious quality issues will continue to be suppressed from sale.
This book isn't of the sort to be suppressed, but I certainly don't want a notice questioning its quality next to the reviews!

Anyone else seen this?
 

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What do they think they are?

Also, are they giving the tradepubs the same treatment? Those people have production schedules will probably find it hard to schedule time out from their regular jobs. Oh, why not extend this "service" to mass-printed paperbacks?

All the while allowing books on their site with hundreds of SPAG issues, just in the first chapter.

Seriously, what does Amazon think they are?

Why don't they make it so that the typo check when you upload the book flags if there are more than a certain number and then the onus is on the writer to prove that no, made-up names are not typos.
 

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Patty Jansen said:
Why don't they make it so that the typo check when you upload the book flags if there are more than a certain number and then the onus is on the writer to prove that no, made-up names are not typos.
This is probably what they use to highlight a potential problem for them.

So far, I've found that as long as I go through the error list and declare they are not a spelling error, I've had no problems about made up words. I've a lot of them my cat uses for example. As long as the spelling error counter is zero, you shouldn't be getting aggro from Amazon. Otherwise, why is it there?
 

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TimothyEllis said:
This is probably what they use to highlight a potential problem for them.

So far, I've found that as long as I go through the error list and declare they are not a spelling error, I've had no problems about made up words. I've a lot of them my cat uses for example. As long as the spelling error counter is zero, you shouldn't be getting aggro from Amazon. Otherwise, why is it there?
This is not at all what Mark is talking about, but this is were Amazon should do its QC, and then back off.

Instead, you sometimes get automated messages that a reader said there was something wrong. Except they're often not errors. And even if they are, I find the idea that you should just jump immediately and correct the fact that there is a quote mark missing somewhere ludicrous. It's not that easy if you use someone else to do your formatting. Yes, I revisit each book as I go, and pay for another format etc etc, but I can totally do without the childish reminders, unless they treat every book equally.

And be
 

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Patty Jansen said:
This is not at all what Mark is talking about, but this is were Amazon should do its QC, and then back off.

Instead, you sometimes get automated messages that a reader said there was something wrong. Except they're often not errors. And even if they are, I find the idea that you should just jump immediately and correct the fact that there is a quote mark missing somewhere ludicrous. It's not that easy if you use someone else to do your formatting. Yes, I revisit each book as I go, and pay for another format etc etc, but I can totally do without the childish reminders, unless they treat every book equally.

And be
This is why everyone NEEDS to know how to do their own formatting. It doesn't mean they have to use the knowledge, but it is necessary I think. I create epubs and upload them everywhere. A reader says I missed out THE somewhere. I open the pub with Sigil, do a search, add THE and save. Upload and it's done. It takes less than a minute.

Using formatters... it takes 1day to 1 week.
 

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Mark E. Cooper said:
This is why everyone NEEDS to know how to do their own formatting. It doesn't mean they have to use the knowledge, but it is necessary I think. I create epubs and upload them everywhere. A reader says I missed out THE somewhere. I open the pub with Sigil, do a search, add THE and save. Upload and it's done. It takes less than a minute.

Using formatters... it takes 1day to 1 week.
I gave up on the formatting. I can't do it. It makes me physically ill. Each time he tells me just unzip the EPUB and make the changes and then re-zip. I do that, but the friggen file NEVER validates. I have no time for this BS.

If Amazon makes too much noise (which they have never done so far), I'll re-do them with Vellum, but the files my formatting guy does are SO MUCH NICER and more functional.
 

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Patty Jansen said:
I gave up on the formatting. I can't do it. It makes me physically ill. Each time he tells me just unzip the EPUB and make the changes and then re-zip. I do that, but the friggen file NEVER validates. I have no time for this BS.

If Amazon makes too much noise (which they have never done so far), I'll re-do them with Vellum, but the files my formatting guy does are SO MUCH NICER and more functional.
You CAN just unzip and rezip, BUT YOU SHOULD NOT. Sigil makes the changes to the files so that the epub WILL validate. All you do is right click any epub, choose open with Sigil.

It's only bullshit when you don't know how to do something. HTML in your promo page was bullshit until you learned the tricks. Same thing here.
 

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Sounds like you're doing it the hard way anyway.

Making a small change is just a short list of instructions. Tedious, but hardly difficult.

For me its:
  • Edit docx
  • save as filtered html
  • send html to zip file
  • drag folder of images to zip file (if you have any)
  • upload into dashboard and submit.
Couple of minutes tops.
Requires knowing how to use File Explorer in Windows, which is a basic windows should know program, for anyone using any kind of user created files.
 

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Wasn't there an issue not-so-long-ago with Americans buying books form U.K. authors and reporting them for spelling errors? Like Gaol/Jail  or criticise/criticize? I can see that becoming a problem for some.
 

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Mark E. Cooper said:
You CAN just unzip and rezip, BUT YOU SHOULD NOT. Sigil makes the changes to the files so that the epub WILL validate. All you do is right click any epub, choose open with Sigil.

It's only [bullcrap] when you don't know how to do something. HTML in your promo page was [bullcrap] until you learned the tricks. Same thing here.
I spent weeks trying to get this right, first with InDesign CS5.5, which did a poor job, then various other things.

I think we're all allowed to have "we don't go there" areas. I still do some of my own covers. I still swap edits sometimes. But I'm absolutely THROUGH with spending time on hand-coding formatting. I'll use D2D, I'll use Vellum, so you know, I can manage, but I would very much prefer to have my formatting guy do it, because he does such a great job, which is his real job, and not my "oh, let's whip up this baby quickly and put it out there" type of formatting.

I cycle through my manuscripts if I want to update back matter. I keep a list of things I want to address, and I give it all to him when we get to the update. I want Amazon to keep its fat nose out of my schedule.
 

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Patty Jansen said:
I spent weeks trying to get this right, first with InDesign CS5.5, which did a poor job, then various other things.

I think we're all allowed to have "we don't go there" areas. I still do some of my own covers. I still swap edits sometimes. But I'm absolutely THROUGH with spending time on hand-coding formatting. I'll use D2D, I'll use Vellum, so you know, I can manage, but I would very much prefer to have my formatting guy do it, because he does such a great job, which is his real job, and not my "oh, let's whip up this baby quickly and put it out there" type of formatting.

I cycle through my manuscripts if I want to update back matter. I keep a list of things I want to address, and I give it all to him when we get to the update. I want Amazon to keep its fat nose out of my schedule.
Everyone has the right to outsource, but weren't we talking about Amazon flagging sales pages? To me this means instant action required. Outsourcing is never instant.
 

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Mark E. Cooper said:
Everyone has the right to outsource, but weren't we talking about Amazon flagging sales pages? To me this means instant action required. Outsourcing is never instant.
This is why I'm disputing this kind of action. Because if they applied this to tradepub books (which I bet my bottom dollar they don't) they would be permanently flagged, because they don't have someone available to immediately fix the littlest mistake.

ETA and do this to people with little mistakes, all the while allowing books with barely coherent English that could have been stopped at the publication stage.
 

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do this to people with little mistakes, all the while allowing books with barely coherent English that could have been stopped at the publication stage.
I have to agree with Patty. I'd also like something from Amazon saying what they consider enough complaints to have a book basically called crap on the sales page. It would be helpful for them to detail what they would consider a valid complaint, how many complaints it would take to get this notice, and how long it will take to have it removed once the file is corrected (because we all know it can take hours for a file to finish updating).

If they aren't doing this across the board, with trad pubs just as susceptible to receiving this, it's a load of crap. There's a thread on the KDP forum about the writing quality of indie books on Amazon right now, pages long. I wonder if the PTB read that?
 

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Are they going to do this in lieu of pulling books that have quality control reports on them?  I've read where people lost momentum for sales, or going free on a sale day because Amazon pulled a book at a bad time because there were quality control reports.  If so, this seems marginally better than a book no longer being available for purchase.

On the other hand, it's all well and good for Amazon to say they'll remove the message, but I'd be concerned about cached pages showing rather than a new page without the message.

As a reader, my preference would be that Amazon would not allow a book to be sold if they know it has QC issues.

This does seem to me to be a kind of ugly solution to a problem.

Betsy
 

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Mark E. Cooper said:
This is why everyone NEEDS to know how to do their own formatting. It doesn't mean they have to use the knowledge, but it is necessary I think. I create epubs and upload them everywhere. A reader says I missed out THE somewhere. I open the pub with Sigil, do a search, add THE and save. Upload and it's done. It takes less than a minute.

Using formatters... it takes 1day to 1 week.
This is what I do except I use a Word .doc saved as a filtered web page. Works perfectly every time and takes seconds to fix any problem and upload a new version. In fact, it takes longer for Amazon to process the results and show them to me for my approval (a couple of minutes usually).
 

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Betsy the Quilter said:
As a reader, my preference would be that Amazon would not allow a book to be sold if they know it has QC issues.

Betsy
It would make the most sense. But then a book not available for sale can't be sold to the authors' friends and family, and so Amazon doesn't make any money.
 

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I don't agree with this at all. And it's not because of the time it would take to correct and upload numerous files all the time... it's because all it's going to take is a couple of people to flag something when there may not be anything wrong at all. One example, as mentioned above is the various spelling iterations --- color and colour --- but there's also foreign language, grammatical choices, plural of dates, spelling out of numbers. There's an endless amount of stuff that people could take issue with and where does it end? What one person may view as an error, another person may not. So you fix one thing and then get flagged again for the opposite. And on and on we go and that could all happen with just ONE book.

It just feels like it's opening a can of worms.

Granted, with all that said, I've only ever had one of those quality control messages so... maybe I'm getting all worked up over nothing.
 
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Mark E. Cooper said:
What concerns me a little, is whether this is another thing that can be turned to the advantage of the unscrupulous. Can an author, for example someone with a non-fiction title in competition with another book on the same subject or niche, use this to cause trouble?
That was my first thought. (Remember the copyright issue an author here on KBoards went through when her work was stolen??!)

My second thought after reading the thread is that maybe I'm missing something? :-[ I use Word and upload as a .docx file and never have anything to convert or unzip or mess with. I've done it enough times that now when I write my books, I set up my doc and just write within the formatting guidelines, so there is very little to do for the final manuscript other than refresh my TOC.
 
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