Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa! And Also Someone Else’s Culpa!

Gentle Readers:

Did you download a freebie of Blood Diva during last week’s freebie extravaganza, or anytime since December 2014? If you did, you may find a few small but significant errors, for which I apologize (profusely and on my knees).  You will be able to get the corrected version free from your “manage my content and devices” page (but you should probably wait till Wednesday, July 1st for the changes to go live You will be able to get the updated version for free soon. Apparently this is a process that involves my pleading with Amazon.

How did this horrific thing happen? 

Blood Diva had been on Net Galley prior to publication. Shortly after publication, I heard from three separate readers that I had some small but important errors in information and/or spelling/translation related to opera.. I alerted my formatter, who fixed them.

(Why do I use a formatter? Can’t anyone upload to Kindle? I use a formatter because he can do it better than I can, especially because I have an old Mac, and a buggy version of Word. I do it because I want my work to look and be professional.)

Then in December, a reader made me aware of a few small typos. I alerted my formatter again. He fixed the typos. I proofed his work and saw the typos were fixed. All was right with the world! Except (cue the music from Germont’s first entrance in La Traviata) it wasn’t!)

The 5-day free extravaganza of last week went really well, (Thanks for asking!) BUT THEN A participant contacted me yesterday about some errors she found. Guess what? Those were the errors that had been fixed in September! I died a little inside.

Once I got back to solid form, I backtracked and realized what happened. The formatter had completed the December corrections I’d asked for, BUT  on an older version of the file that did not have those really important September corrections about which I had been alerted by several readers! Those corrections were lost.

This issue is only on the Kindle for-sale copy, not the paperback  nor the special mobi-review copy. That means that some of the reviewers read the correct version, and may have recommended a work they thought was in better shape than it was. Extra apologies to those reviewers!

As soon as I figured out the problem, I sent a note to the formatter. He immediately made the corrections. The update is currently “in review” and should be live soon.

A lot of readers won’t notice these errors, but the ones drawn to the book BECAUSE of the history and especially the opera connection, might. So I am begging your forgiveness.

Lesson learned. While the mistake was the formatter’s, I am responsible. The errors should have been found and corrected before the book was every published in any form. (My proofreader knows less about music and opera than I do, which hardly seems possible). I also should have checked the entire work back in December before re-uploading BECAUSE mistakes like this are likely to happen when dealing with multiple versions and multiple files.

I have contacted Amazon and asked them to “alert” readers that there is an updated version. It seems like something they only do when the errors are a really big deal for most readers. What’s a really big deal to you, might not be for someone else. It’s more likely they’ll simply decide to allow you to upload the updates through manage my contents and devices. If they aren’t doing that, I’d advise you to contact them and ask them nicely.

Thank you for not murderizing me. 

Best regards,
VM Gautier

2 thoughts on “Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa! And Also Someone Else’s Culpa!

  1. Jason Denness

    What a nightmare. It’s all a learning experience though, glad the freebie campaign went well for you though.

    I never knew you could redownload content with updated versions of the ebook.

    1. VM Post author

      Apparently, for this to happen the author or publisher has to tell Amazon and they decide. It’s not automatic every time there’s a small change. Amazon’s rationale for not making it automatic is that people might have bookmarks, highlights or notes, and they’d lose those. Authors have to ask that it’s done and Amazon investigates. It’s unlikely they’ll send out an alert. Generally, that would be for stuff like major formatting issues that were “disruptive” rather than distracting. But it’s probable they will allow updating, but it’s not on yet.

      The positive of all this was that the reader who alerted me to the problem happens to be an editor, and she found more small typos. It’s very unlikely that 99.5% of readers would pick out everything she did, but most readers probably find a few typos. The more I can eliminate, the fewer any reader will find.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>