After all the comments and reactions to my article last week ‘Finding Quality Ebooks’, I thought a follow up post was in order as so much has happened since it was posted. Is this how fast things work in book publishing nowadays?
Well anyway, at the same time as I professed my acute knowledge in my post, I was brought back to earth with a very sudden thud when a book reviewer very kindly told the world that my story was wonderful, but my ebook formatting was absolute crud. Here’s the book review by Sharon T. Stone at Liliyfields Entertainment. You will see when you read it why I was shocked.
Of course I immediately went to the offending file that Sharon had bought. Phew, I was relieved to find that the version currently available was fine, but very annoyed that when she bought the copy some months back from Smashwords, it was badly flawed. Luckily, Sharon can download the new version for free as a replacement.
I then checked ALL my ebook versions. This is a painful task as I have Kindle versions, plus six or seven different file versions on Smashwords on top of my own Advance Reader versions that I create myself in three formats.
What did I discover? It is with relief that I found all my recent books to be ok. But three of my older books had serious problems on certain Smashwords files. The problems involved were random changes to font and font size and irregular line breaks. Very unpleasant to read I can assure you.
However, these three books had ALL passed Smashwords’ premium distribution check. So where is the quality control? Of course I don’t expect spelling, grammar or erroneous typos to be the responsibility of Smashwords, but something as simple as font and font size must surely be. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.
So I have to reverse my opinion about their quality control now as it seems that their ‘human’ checking prior to premium distribution is not up to standard at all.
However I do still stand by my original point that these ebook distributors cannot continue to make money from poorly presented products. They must accept some responsibility for the quality control of the products they are selling.
On the other side of the book (coin), I have been advised by Createspace that it may be possible in future to approve paperback books for publication WITHOUT a proof copy.
I’ll let you all chew on that one!