Saturday, November 16, 2013

Does Carelessness Cost Sales

So what do you think? Would carelessness in formatting cost sales? It's just a formatting issue and not a typo-riddled manuscript.

Anyway, I'm reading this four-part series, and I am half way through. I think I'm into the third book now, I honestly haven't kept track since it's all together. I've read the first two books before; I was able to borrow them from a friend shortly after they were published a few years ago, but those were paperbacks and I honestly can't recall this issue with them, but I no longer have access to them so I can't check. Now I have the whole thing on my Kindle, and I wonder what documents they used for the kindle edition.

I wish I could contact someone, but the author leaves no means of doing so that I can find, so I was forced to mention it in a short review on Goodreads. This issue wouldn't bug me so much if the author wasn't one of those people who went from rags to riches before my eyes (or rather, since I've been online, which isn't long). Me being still on the 'rags' end of that range, I find it incredible that this was allowed to slide. I certainly couldn't afford it.

Here's the issue. An ellipse is '...'. Typed together like that, Word will convert it into a single punctuation mark. When I first started using it, I spaced it out like this ' . . . ' because the single punctuation held the adjoining words together and didn't break across a line like I wanted. Notice there is a space both before and after the spaced-out periods. I since learned that all together is the accepted way so a simple 'find' and 'replace' took care of most instances, and if a line break was called for, a simple space took care of that.

My issue with these books is that appears to be where they stopped in making this correction. Finding ' . . . ' and replacing it with '...' will get you most of the changes, but the 'finder' isn't really very smart; it will only find exactly what you tell it to find and nothing more. I also used ellipses occasionally at the beginning of sentences where the first part wasn't heard, so this search wouldn't touch '. . . ' because there wasn't a space in front of the ellipse. The same goes for those coming at the end of the sentence for much the same reason - no space at the end.

Being a real nut for consistency, this really bugs me. And that's not all. It seems these books were also formatted for SmashWords, or maybe they just wanted to optimize the page breaks, at any rate, rather than uncheck the Windows Orphan control, they inserted page breaks manually. This works just fine in some formats, but sometimes the break shows up out of place as a missing space between words. I'm thinking when they did the incomplete 'find' and 'replace', they didn't go through and fix their manual page breaks. These are few and far between, but they are still there, yelling at me that someone in the editing and formatting department wasn't doing their job. If it were up to me, I'd fire this person and hire someone who cared.

This author is already rich (compared to me anyway), and she has moved on to other books, but unless I am mistaken, this is the series that got her there. To allow it to remain out there full of so many careless errors, is very nearly a writerly crime. I have a first book too. Though it launched me thrillingly into the published world, it has beginner issues I fully intend to fix, so order your copy now so you can have this collector's edition, because you will never see it again. One day, it will reemerge under a shiny new cover, and hopefully all those pesky beginner issues will be weeded out.

1 comment:

William Kendall said...

If it was me, I'd want those things fixed up post haste.