Want to avoid one-star reviews on the Amazon Kindle and other ebook platforms?
Start by making sure that your content is as clean as possible. Yes, you can get one-star reviews from readers who are annoyed that authors (or their representatives) published messy ebooks.
That said, don’t be paranoid. The occasional typo will get through, even if you hire a professional proofreader.
Tip: develop a proofreading process.
Once the ebook writing’s done — revision, editing, copyediting etc, I load the ebook onto my Kindle (actually the Kindle app on my iPad) and read it aloud. There are various ways of doing this, I just use Send to Kindle. Your ebook will appear in Documents in your reader.
An aside: I use a text reader during the revision process, before I get to the proofreading stage. I’m on a Mac, and use Text2Speech. If you’re on Windows, do a search for “text to speech Windows”. I think Windows has a built-in reader.
Once I’ve read aloud, I correct any errors, then I send the ebook to my beta readers, to ask them to quickly read through the text and then send me their queries.
Here’s an excellent list of things to ask your betas to look for, Beyond Paper Editing: How to Proofread your eBook Like a Pro:
Below is a list of some of the ‘language’ or word-level items editors look for while proofreading an ebook. I’ve listed them from the most distracting to the least distracting. Keep in mind that editors generally look for grammar issues (sentence level) during an earlier copyediting stage, and mostly stick to the following items during the proofreading stage. However, if you notice a grammar error, by all means, fix it.”
If you have friends who write, swap beta reading tasks with them. You can also ask for “writer buddies” on ebook forums and mailing lists, who will act as beta readers for you.
Once you’re done, and have corrected errors, upload the ebook to Amazon. Use the Preview function to read through the ebook yet again. At this stage, you may find headings which look odd, extra space or blank pages. Correct the errors, and then upload the ebook again to Preview it.
Yes, this is a royal pain in the you-know-what. Recently, I swear I uploaded/ previewed six times. Very frustrating. However, painful as it is, it’s worth it to avoid annoying readers.
Another aside: do you read Amazon reviews? I spend a lot of time on Amazon each day, and ALWAYS read the one-star reviews — it’s amazing how often a reviewer gives a poor review for “trivial” things like poor OCR scans in older books, and typos in self-published material. If you’re diligent, you can avoid this. That said, you WILL get one-star reviews, and you should be relaxed about this. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, and reviews are just opinions, after all.
Hiring a proofreader
You can hire a proofreader if you want to save yourself some pain.
However, even if you hire someone, you’ll still need to make sure that you use the Preview function in Amazon’s uploader to look for formatting errors.
Tip: your ebooks will sell for years
I chat with writers every day, and I know how quickly you want to get your ebooks up and selling… 🙂 Remember that your ebooks can sell for years. So extra hours spent proofing your material are more than worth it.
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