Should your self-published eBook be perfect?

By December 28, 2014Uncategorized

When your book takes a shellacking. Gasp!1538R-67937

There are a few things writers like to wake up to.

A freshly brewed cup of coffee.

A good workout.

Good sex.


Cold Apple juice (I hate orange juice).

The motivation to write.

This morning December 28, 2014, I woke up to a few of my favorite things. I woke up to a fantastic cup of coffee. Black. No sugar or cream.

My laptop, to which I easily punched out 2,000 words.

And maybe one other thing. But that’s none of your business, now is it?

Later, came bacon and then a workout.

I’m glad that today I didn’t break my golden rule of checking email or social media before writing.

If I had, I would have awakened to this lovely email by Peter from Australia.

Here’s the email from Dear Ole’ Peter blasting my eBook.

Subject heading “Kindle Amazon Pre-order 101 …a little sloppy

Hi Frankie and Johnnie,
Unless as an Aussie I don’t speak English/United States style there are some real doozies in Kindle Amazon Pre-order 101 as set out below:
“and you will be penalized if you do to turn in a final draft.”
“I think Amazon is trying its customers that if an author has a book on pre-order,”
“Trad perk”……..should this be ‘Trade perk’ or is it short for ‘traditional perk?’
Given the size and subject of this book, these errors are almost unforgiveable. I guess because it was so short, you dispensed with an edit?
I write fiction, and I too make errors but hopefully not that many per 22 pages J. With the mistakes I would’ve normally ranked Kindle Amazon Pre-order 101, two stars.
What fascinates me is the 8 five star and the 2 four star reviews…I’m guessing they’re mainly friends? If that’s the case, they’re not very good friends.
I won’t publish a review at this stage. If you advise me that you’ve fixed the above, I’ll do a four star review. Sorry, I just couldn’t do five, knowing what I know.

Since Peter used his email address and name connected to his website, I was easily able to locate him on Amazon.

And guess what I found on the very first page – the very first page – of Peter’s book?

I found an error. Still, I bought the book. I’m going to read it and write a review.

I’m going to write a cup-half-full review. I don’t write a lot of negative reviews. A book has to really suck for me to give it an unfavorable review.

If the book didn’t work for me, I point out what didn’t work as opposed to attacking the material. However, there have been a few books that attacked my brain cells and left me feeling dumber after reading it.

I gave said books harsh reviews.

I’ve written, co-written, and ghostwritten hundreds of eBooks for clients through online sites. The books I’ve written have become hot new releases and best sellers in their categories.

Here’s the disclaimer paragraph that I give to clients.

***Because I offer drastically reduced prices, my service does not include rewrites or copyediting. The draft you receive from me I REVISE several times before delivering and it will be PUBLISHABLE. I will do my best to get you a solid draft that is free of errors, However, I do not offer rewrites only tweak-writes.

I have above average proofreading skills. I’m not a copyeditor and I hate proofreading and editing. But I do it because it’s the law of the land. I also hire proofreaders from online sites to put a fresh set of eyes on my work.

As an English Literature major, having completed a prestigious writing for film and TV program, been awarded writing fellowships, bootcamp writing instructor and on and on, I teach that errors in work are unacceptable.

It’s what I was taught and so I teach it.

When you have errors in your work it is judged to be unprofessional.

However, my thinking has evolved regarding eBooks. I think a little imperfection is not the end of the world.

Here’s what eBook writers should strive to do.

Write high quality material to the best of your ability. If you don’t feel excited when you read your work, no one else will.

Proofread the hell out of your eBook. Put it away for a few days or a week and proofread the hell out of it again.
If you write a large amount of material then forgot about burdening your family and friends to help you proofread. Instead, hire someone to proofread your work.

If you cannot hire a professional copyeditor, then you should hire the next best thing which is a proofreader from an online site.

The best thing about an eBook is that you can pull it down, fix errors and put it back up again.

There shouldn’t be big, unforgivable errors throughout the work, but don’t kill yourself if there are a few mistakes that you discover after your eBook has been up a few months.

Let’s face it. Many of us have seen eBooks that give the self-publishing world a bad name. I never have and never will write a book like that and you shouldn’t either.

I owe it to readers like Peter and students to deliver high-quality material.

Here’s the response I will send to Peter.

Hi Peter, thanks for writing and making me aware of errors in my book. You stated that you would hold off on giving me a bad review if I fixed the errors. Question: is there a time period for how long you will hold off? I ask this because I am in the middle of writing my next book.


In seriousness – Peter, thank you for taking the time to write and express your concerns with my book. I will carve out some time in late January to fix the mistakes. As a writer, I see that you appreciate how difficult it is to write an error free book without hiring a professional copy editor,

Thanks again. BTW, I bought your book and look forward to reading and reviewing it. Also, I don’t know the reviewers of my book.

Do tell authors. What are your expectations for self-published eBooks? Are a few mistakes in eBooks acceptable?