Saturday, May 19, 2012

'What the Kindle Forums are Saying about Us'

While checking my offerings on Amazon I had a wander through the Kindle forums. This is my take on what they had to say about us Indie authors.

The number one complaint seems to be about typos.
It's one of my pet hates too, if you can't afford an editor make sure you turn on the inbuilt spell & grammar checker in your word processing package. Yes, I know this is basic but it's surprising how many don't activate the grammar check. Trust me it does work, and if you get funny squiggly lines under the word or sentence it's because you've done something wrong. Don't just ignore it, keep working at it until you lose the squiggle I promise it will make the sentence sound better. Eventually.

If you're still not sure it's spelt right or looks odd, use the thesaurus to check for synonyms (alternative words), you'd be amazed how many times I've done that and found I was using the wrong spelling of a word to describe something. Oh, and watch for missing words, this usually happens when you're editing for the nth time, 'can't see the woods for the trees' syndrome. Don't give the Kindle trolls grist for their mill,

The second complaint was about homophones.
Now, I must confess I had no idea what a homophone was but I do now, it’s just a technical term for something I’ve always known, and I have to admit they have driven me mad when I see them in a book. For those like myself who have lived most of their life in ignorance of the technical term homophone, they are words that sound the same but are spelt differently and have different meanings IE: there/their, your/you're, hair/hare, break/brake, flower/flour, night/knight, affect/effect.

The list is long so if you don't know the correct spelling for the sentence you are writing, look up homophones on line, there are plenty of sites 'spelling 'it out. Don't get too down about this I've read books by famous authors with incorrect or missing words. However, because we are self published we need to think like the women pioneers in a male dominated job, we need to be better than the established authors to rise to the top.

Number three was dubious reviews.
It seems they don't like it if we get too many 5 star reviews because they think we get our friends and family to use reviews as propaganda to improve our sales. Well, as we know, friends and family will always give a good review, although my family haven't so far... :( So, what do we do about our love ones?

I suppose we could always be as honest as one author I read, he commented below the review that it was from a friend. His frank disclosure was refreshing so I bought the book. You could always ask some of those loved ones to give 3 & 4 star reviews, though I doubt they'd be able to force their finger down the star list. Maybe I'll try that, if any of my family or friends, ever get round to giving me a review.

Number four was cover art.

Apparently, according to the trolls, too few Indie’s take the time to obtain a good cover for their book. We all know the saying 'don't judge a book by its cover' but the trolls are turned off by some of our covers. Ok, this again comes down to cost, and not all of us can afford to employ cover artist.

Of course, you might just be capable of doing it yourself, so think about exchanging skills with another writer. Do you need an editor? Offer to do a cover for their book, and they return the favour.

The only other thing I can think of to combat this is, to capture a geek. Awww! come on people, we all know a geek of some sort, ask around and pick the youngest one, they are the most clued in. They often do it free for the kudos. Just promise them a credit in the book, and don't forget to follow through on your promise. Having said all that, I don't judge a book by its cover, I mostly go by the blurb so make sure it's a killer.

So there we have it, the top four complaints from the Kindle Trolls. Check your books my friends and let's make them the best they can be, our reputation depends in it.

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