After having had 23 novels published by a traditional press, I decided to jump in head first in the epub pool. I was lucky enough to have a very experienced epub author in my area who was giving a workshop. Invaluable.
My husband, Bob, has been my hero through all this. He found someone (in India because no one in the States seemed to have a clue) to copy and code my printed book into ebook format. When I received my first ebook I was so excited that I immediately posted it on Amazon.com. And I just as quickly regretted it. The book that had been professionally edited and had been printed relatively error-free, was now peppered with misspelled words, bad or missing punctuation and yes, even format issues. Several readers were quick to point out these glaring flaws, and I was truly embarrassed. I know that ultimately it is a great story and wonderful characters that sell a book. But punctuation, grammar and misspelled words will jar a reader out of the story and reflect badly on both the book and the author.
I’m a really good editor, and I pride myself on my presentation. I was faced with two options…leave the book out there and hope no one noticed or go through each book, word for word, correcting the mistakes. Of course, I chose the latter. It proved to be both a blessing and a curse. I fixed all the errors and became reacquainted with all my old characters which was like a big, happy family reunion. But I was also struck by how much my writing had improved from the first book to the latest. I owe a lot of that to the best editor of all time, Tahti Carter. She taught me more than all the English classes I had ever taken in high school and college. (THANKS, Tahti, wherever you are. You were wonderful.)
Anyway, I’m finally through with the process of re-reading and correcting the 21 books I have the rights to epub. I can’t really understand how what I thought was a direct copy of my books could somehow morph into repeated phrases, missing words and complete misspellings. One of the more icky mistakes that I caught was a line that should have been “She had never made love in a car.” But for some reason, the word “car” was now “ear”. Maybe I should have left it that way and the book would have fallen into the currently robust S&M category.
Now Bob and I (to be honest, mostly Bob) will plunge into the tricky marketing arena. How do we get this new world of readers to find me and my books among the hundreds of thousands of books already out there? The internet is a challenging maze for even the most talented mouse. Thank goodness I can focus on my writing and Bob can figure it all out.