Sunday, March 20, 2016

New Rules Have Improved Ebook Quality

As someone who reads and reviews a lot of indie novels, I’m happy to say that the quality of ebooks is starting to improve. It’s possible that part of this is due to Amazon’s crackdown on those who’ve published books filled with spelling, grammatical, and formatting problems. Amazon’s warning letters to clean up the mess or have their books pulled is paying off, which is good news. Authors should show the same care and attention  to producing ebooks as they would if submitting to a traditional publisher! If you’re an author who has little time for production, experienced, reputable companies  will do it for you. There are also plenty of scammers, so do your research!

Recently, Amazon changed the rules to now insist that authors place their table of contents at the front of ebooks, for good reason. As stated in Nicholas C. Rossis’s blog, scammers been making millions off of KDP’s Select Program, specifically Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can borrow an ebook. In a nutshell, authors are paid for every page read. This has inspired scammers to create a click-bait-link page at the front of their books which immediately takes readers to the back and therefore pays the author for all of the pages in the book, even though those pages haven’t been read. And why would they? Rossis states that those pages are often filled with junk, multiple translations, or even unrelated content. Amazon’s attempts to stop this are proving successful, but we’ll see what happens in the future. One thing about cheaters, their resourcefulness is astonishingly good.

To that end, I came across another helpful blog from Digital Book World offering great tips about formatting your ebook. The blog discusses ragged vs. justified text, hyphens, em dashes, and of course, the table of contents issue. Since I plan to do more self-publishing in the future, I’ve bookmarked that link.

Things have changed so much from the days when I self-published Taxed to Death and Fatal Encryption. One of the best aspects about this is the bounty of useful resources to help writers produce a quality product in this hi-tech age.

One note about quality of writing in indie ebooks…I’m starting to see a big improvement there as well. Many months ago I read blogs from experienced, savvy authors who stated that those writers more interested in making money than writing would fall by the wayside; that the serious writers would start releasing quality content regularly. This trend has started and I’m delighted to see it.

I’m still working on preparing my quality content, but one day…


Marian Allen said...

This is all good news for me, as a reader and as a writer! :)

Unknown said...

Well said. Debi. I didn't know about the scam. I guess there is always one going around.

For me, I couldn't live without a professional proofreader. I can't see my own mistakes. I just submitted a manuscript and when the editor got back to my with the first pass, I'd used you're instead of your in two places. How embarrassing. I know the difference, but my eye couldn't see it. Could you imagine if I'd published that on Amazon. Here's my shout out the thank all awesome editors and proofreaders.

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Thanks for your comments Marian and Kristina! Yes, good proofreaders and editors are worth their weight in gold, and kudos to Amazon for wanting to do something poorly formatted books filled with errors.