Sunday, October 9, 2011

Double-check Your eBook After Publication

I am actually in the process of correcting the formatting on one of my eBooks, and have recently uploaded a corrected copy of Red Mojo Mama – my first book.

Here’s what happened to me. I published Red Mojo Mama, bought it and checked the first 10 pages or so and everything looked fine. So, I let loose a sigh of relief and closed the book for a couple of months until I had to re-open it to research something. This time the search took me into the second chapter – and there I found it. My paragraphs were all messed up.

I turned off my Kindle and thought, “Oh, no!” – figuring I would return on the weekend and figure out what had gone wrong and how to fix it. Part of me, suspected that it was just my Kindle, because I’d seen this same problem on a few books I had bought from authors who have obviously sold several hundred copies of their books.

See, I’d sold nearly 100 copies without a comment from anyone. Oddly enough, it was a few days later when a very kind man mentioned it to me after reading, and liking, Red Mojo Mama. He told me what was wrong and from the goodness of his heart, offered to fix it for me. I took him up on it, offering to be a beta reader for his next effort. During the process, he was giving me tips. Unfortunately, unlike publishing a paperback on Amazon, Kindle publishing does not offer an opportunity to review before clicking on the "publish" link.

Now, I find I have a few corrections to make to one of my other books (only discovered after reading 53% of the book) and have yet to double check book 3.

I suspect this is the by-product of that profound relief we authors feel when our baby has finally gone to press and being a newbie at the process. Let’s face it; there aren’t any definitive guides out there for how to e-publish. There are more than a few that point this or that out, but nothing that covers the whole spectrum. I’m also instructions-challenged. My head spins uncontrollably when I read instructions, unless I’m currently in the process. I have to have my hands on the thing I’m trying to put together, from tri-cycle to IKEA furniture to eBook, in order to understand instructions.

I struggled with myself whether to tell the two authors I can think of that they need to fix their eBooks. With encouragement from my helpful friend, I’ve decided to do so. More importantly, I realized I needed to write down this experience and share it.

In the meantime, a very thoughtful tweeter, Mimi Barbour, wrote up the instructions and I’m passing along her blog post link below for those who need them. I’ve already made use of her kindness and highly recommend you stop by her blog.

Mimi Barbour's Twelve Steps

I figure if Indie authors stick together and help each other, we will improve the overall perception of our collective product and thereby, help all of us sell more books.


  1. Hmm. Maybe the third time will be the charm. Even though I'm signed into WordPress I keep losing the comment.

    So I'm just going to say great article and I hope a lot of people see this. I'm fairly sure that most authors aren't aware that this sort of thing can happen during the publishing process. :)

  2. Thanks for hanging in there. Apparently, WordPress users are having an issue with commenting. Unfortunately, it's tough to get through to Blogger for help. I'm working on it.

  3. Oh, great, NOW you tell me. haha I'm glad you found the mistake and told the rest of us about it. I would have done the exact same thing and probably not checked before clicking "publish."

  4. Great post, Kathy. And Mimi has some great advise. One thing I- from personal experience-- would caution against is using the "Replace All" button. Much danger there, because you don't really know what all has been changed.

    It takes longer but go to "Find Next" and then "Replace" to make sure you're not changing things you don't want changed.

    And using Times New Roman font for novels isn't the best option. TNR is for news and web articles. Using a Non-Sans font gives your writing a bit of style and makes it easier to read. Publishers and Agents like the TNR for manuscripts because it helps them scan over your writing.

    BTW. I learn quite a bit from Mimi and thought it was a great article that took saome effort to write.

  5. What a wonderful, helpful post this is! Again and again, I find myself coming away from your blog with a big smile on my face for your generosity. :D Thank you.

  6. Dannie - I'm with you on the replace all - I did that once to disasterous results. One at a time doesn't really take that much longer. Thanks for the great comments.

    Zen - thanks for the feedback. That's what this blog is all about - writer's sharing with each other.

  7. Great information here. I was not aware of not using Times New Roman when writing a novel. Thanks for that advice. Will come in handy for when I finally get brave and decide to write something other then online articles.

  8. Great to know! I JUST put out the last two years of my humor blog as an ebook through Amazon. Guess I better buy a copy and be sure it is right!

  9. I think you may want to rethink your position on Times New Roman. Sans-serf typefaces such as Arial and Helvetica are very clean and good looking for something like this blog, brochures, and squibs on the back cover of a book.

    However, when your eyes are confronted by page after page of prose a typeface with serifs, like Times or Roman just works better. You can read faster and it's less tiring. I saw a research report bearing this out (tho I can't recall a citation). You may find that a lighter face, like Garamond or Bookman may be to your liking.

    However, I've found that e-readers can impose their own font selections upon you. So it's better just to make the serif family vs sans-serif family decision and typeset in the faces resident within the e-reader you're selling for.

  10. On KDP, there is a review button on the page before publishing. It's small and under the upload option. I used it just the other day. I didn't notice it until recently, after 3 times of uploading new versions of my book. So, hopefully that's somewhat helpful.

    Enjoyed your post though, and it's very true. We need to double check it!

  11. This is such a great post! So important for others to read! You rock, Miss =D

  12. ebarnes23 - thank you for that! Someone else had sent me an email and I meant to add that info and completely forgot. Thanks again. I will use it going forward myself.