Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Amazon pulls e-novel for use of Oxford comma

I don't know if this story is true, but it's interesting (and weird.)

Here's the link to the original posting (quoted below)
« on: Yesterday at 07:27:16 AM »

Allow me to blow off some steam....

Until now, I have had nothing but great service with KDP. But this morning, I got the following message:


Dear Publisher,

During a quality assurance review of your title, we have found the following issue(s):

Title has punctuation and typo issue in it. Few examples are mentioned below:

*Location 811; Unnecessary comma - "a sofa back, and"
*Location 813; Unnecessary comma - "solid-brass, boattail"
*Location 1088; an appropriate word could be used in the place the letter "J"

Please look for the same kind of errors throughout and make the necessary corrections to the title before republishing it.


"...before republishing it"Huh?

Now, I find that my book  is listed as in "DRAFT" status on my KDP Bookshelf! This book has been published and selling very successfully since June 21.

I have to assume that these two events -- plus my inability to get sales statistics for hours -- are related. I just sent a fuming letter to KDP making the following points:

Whoever on the KDP "quality assurance" staff sent this message needs to go back to school.

I'm a professional editor and a lifelong professional writer. My book was heavily proofread by multiple individuals prior to publication. My use of commas in a series conforms to "The Chicago Manual of Style," in which the next-to-last item in a series is followed by a comma. And my use of the letter "J" was in the term "J school" -- an abbreviation for "Journalism School." It was used in dialogue and intended as slang during a conversation.

I am astonished that staff at KDP (a) are wasting time proofreading books, and (b) do not have the basic skills that such a job requires. If this staff member's incompetence has caused my book to revert to "draft" status, that individual deserves to be fired.
Ok, if this is true and serious, I have to ask: Is this Amazon's job? Because if it is, then they suck at it. There are tons of e-books I've gotten that have far worse grammatical errors in them--and yet they pick on this guy? What the heck?

Amazon: listen up, boyo: editing an e-book isn't your job, just providing space upon which to market/sell the book is your job; leave the editing/error checking to the author.

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