Melissa's Blog

Fame…debunked (read on)

Megan’s Way hit #2 on Amazon’s Top Rated Fiction list today, just below The Help. I had been flying high since I found out, which was quite by accident.

EDITORIAL NOTE: THIS ISSUE HAPPENED A FEW YEARS AGO, but I felt it was important to let authors experiencing the same pain that they are not alone.

I was searching Amazon to see if Chasing Amanda had climbed the ranks of Top Rated Fiction (it’s #57), when lo and behold, on page one was Megan’s Way!

Fame…debunked

I didn’t think anything could put a damper on my day, until I read a review that noted poor editing in my book. What? Megan’s Way had been edited many times. I was taken aback–surely there was an error. The reader noted missing returns between character’s sentences, which sent up a vibrant red flag. I was certain there were none of those types of errors in the document. My book had won several awards, wouldn’t those reviewers have noted the alleged errors?

A search of the paperback copy of Megan’s Way proved no such errors existed. No missing line breaks. My heart sped up, and my hands began to shake. My son asked me a question and I could not answer. I was in panic mode. A memory came racing back to me. I had found two errors in the Kindleversion of Megan’s Waya few weeks earlier, and I had wanted to fix them. The only copy of the full manuscript that I had with the publisher’s logo on it was a PDF. I knew a PDF could not be uploaded to Amazon Kindle, so I paid someone (who came highly recommended and shall remain anonymous) to convert the PDF to a Word document and insure that the file was formatted properly for the Kindle. She did so, and the file was uploaded. Shame on me for not thinking to re-edit the document.

Truth be known, I had no idea that converting from a PDF to a Word document could cause such errors. I have no idea what that person did, or how the errors occurred, but sure enough, there were missing line breaks. I could see how the reader would misconstrue the conversion issue as an editing issue. By now, I’ve abandoned panic and I’ve accepted that I must take responsibility for these errors. After all, the book is mine. I should have had the file re-edited after the conversion was done. Live and learn…the hard way.

My editor is going through the file with a fine tooth comb. In the meantime, we’ve reuploaded the original version (minus the two errors). This is quite the learning experience. Let me clue everyone in on another conversion error which we cannot seem to fix. The Word document is perfectly formatted–no hidden page or line breaks, proper indentations are in place. When the file is uploaded to Kindle, we are able to preview the ebook. We did this with the new file. There don’t seem to be missing returns or lost capitalizations, but there are other conversion issues. Where there is heavy dialogue, the second line of the dialogue is indented to match the first line. This is not consistent, and there is no hidden HTML that is causing the issue. In this exciting new technology-driven world of ours, I’m finding that there are a few things that are out of our control. My only hope is that readers will see past these slight conversion issues and review the stories we authors write for the value of the stories themselves.

I would like to thank my author friends who have reached out to me, having undergone the same types of conversion issues, and the same slamming in reviews. I would like to thank my readers who have been kind enough to review my books, and now that I know about these errors, for looking past them and seeing the beauty in the story. I would also like to thank the reviewers who noted these items that marred my reputations, because with out those reviews, I wouldn’t have known to fix them. Thank you.

Lastly, to the 40,000+ readers who have downloaded Megan’s Way over the past week, I hope you will redownload the corrected file after 8/17/11 and read Megan’s Way without the distraction of errors. I extend my heartfelt apologies for the conversion errors.

My thoughts on all of this? Being a writer is a scary process. I’ve always said it’s like standing on a street corner naked. One never knows if they’ll be whistled at or beaned with tomatoes. I prefer the whistles, but that’s not always the case. This is a learning process for all of us. eReaders are new, conversion processes are difficult. Why, just last night I was reading a traditionally published book on my Kindle, when it ran out of batteries. I clicked on my iPad to continue reading, and words that were not bold on the regular Kindle were bold on the Kindle for iPad. This tells me that the whole ebook world is also still being figured out by the “big guys”, whoever they may be. I hope my story helps other authors, and I hope it help readers and reviewers, too. Sometimes it’s worth taking a step back and trying to determine if it’s the story that is failing or the technology, or perhaps both.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and my books.

Melissa

Before you review Megan’s Way and point out poor editing, please take note that the paperback does not contain these errors. This is a technology related problem that went undetected.