Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Tuesday News: Gaming Amazon’s bestseller lists, a glitch in the Sony-Kobo...

My Buying Community Want to Help Authors Beat the Kindle Store Best Seller List – My Buying Community, with a purported 10,000 members, seems to be another way to game the system on Amazon. The idea behind the service is that an author can get members to purchase his or her book, driving it up the lists. Can Amazon figure out this crap is happening and put a stop to it? Where’s the Change.org petition to get THAT to happen?

Like the MyKindex site which operated for a period of time last year, MBC connects authors with a willing pool of book buyers. The site looks to be entirely author funded, and from what I can tell as a reader it works along the same lines as the services that sold reviews to authors like John Locke.

A user signs up, request to purchase a book, and after the purchase is verified the user is credited the price of the ebook plus an additional 30%. After a user buys enough books to pass the minimum payment threshold, they can request a Paypal funds transfer. –The Digital Reader

Welcome US and Canadian Reader Store Customers! – So who, among former Reader Store customers, has attempted to use your Kobo account? I haven’t yet, but apparently there has been a problem with the supposedly automatic transfer of gift certificate and other credit balances to Kobo. According to the Kobo site, they are aware of the problem and are attempting to resolve it, but if you are supposed to have a credit in your account, and haven’t yet checked Kobo, this might be a good time to do so.

Kobo Customer Care has received calls regarding credit balances that didn’t transfer to Kobo customer accounts. We are working with Sony to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. If your account is affected, Kobo will notify you directly. Thank you for your patience. –Kobo Store

YES, BOOK EDITORS EDIT – In his response to the essay collection MFA vs NYC, Harper Collins editor Barry Harbaugh defends the work of New York publishing’s editorial staff against accusations of irrelevance, laziness, and even non-existence. However, even if you aren’t familiar with the source of Harbaugh’s defense, his essay is still an interesting commentary on the numerous tensions within traditional publishing, including the role of the editor, who have historically served as underpaid workhorses for publishing houses.

The editorial staffs of New York houses are not the faceless lemmings that a certain retail giant with a vested stake in self-publishing would have us be. And though it would appear to outsiders that the health of our careers depends solely on measurements of quantity (of the books that we acquire and the units sold), we’re not numbers-obsessed automatons. Editors edit. A lot. As a group, we’re hesitant to speak up for ourselves, lest our decorousness be tainted by saying something too self-aggrandizing. But I’ll take the risk: I probably mark up fifty to a hundred pages a week, most of it on the weekend. I ask questions and cut sentences and write chapter titles and all that stuff. The other editors at my company, and editors I know socially from other companies, are just as rigorous. –The New Yorker

The weirdest, most bizarre book covers ever published – While I’m pretty sure these aren’t THE weirdest and most bizarre book covers, some of them are pretty darn creepy, from Mommy Drinks Because You’re Bad (a “Quality Religious Book for Children”), to Harpo’s Horrible Secret (which I’m sure you can guess, even without looking at the cover). –news.com.au

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

12 Comments

  1. DS
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 08:03:04

    I wouldn’t have thought one way or the other about editors if I had not read or heard so many complaints by authors with regard to editors either not editing or actually re-writing parts of their books. And this started before Amazon and ebooks were a blip on my radar. It used to be fairly common complaint in sff circles.

  2. Fallen Professor
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 08:52:19

    So far, I haven’t had any issues with the transition to Kobo; then again, I didn’t have any credits with the Reader Store. I received my Sony reader at least 5 years ago, and soon discovered that I was better off not using the Sony Store, because of how clunky it was and the poor choice of books for non-U.S. customers. I installed Calibre, found more accessible ebook stores like Baen, and never looked back. I’d never had a look at the Kobo site before now, because it seems more expensive than Amazon (I have a Kindle now, too). When I got the email, I did click the link because I had a bunch of free books downloaded from when I got the Sony. The Kobo store looks nice (and they now take Paypal, whee!) but I don’t know that I’ll buy anything.

    Re: editors. The subject has been somewhat on my mind lately, because of the last couple of books I read. I recently reviewed two Harlequin Blaze titles, and one of the questions I asked in both reviews was: Where are the editors? There were continuity errors, misuse of words (one book used the term “euphemism” when it clearly meant “saying” or “proverb”), and many typos. This led me to wonder whether some publishing houses aren’t cutting back on editors/proofreaders. And yes, it’s hard work (I do it freelance, so I know the hours and days that go into working through a book) and very underrated until you run into a book that’s reads so poorly that you keep getting jolted out of the experience.

  3. Isobel Carr
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 09:10:09

    It’s fair to say “SOME editors edit”. It isn’t fair to blanket statement that “editors edit”. I know faaaaaaaar too many authors who can attest to the latter, me included. I’ve only had two editors, and I’ve had one of both. My first editor gave me a one sentence “edit” for my first book (with no follow up) and nothing at all for my second. And back in the day, manuscripts were turned in a full year before publication, so it wasn’t like she was pressed for time or I’d turned them in late.

  4. Fallen Professor
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 09:21:20

    @Isobel Carr:

    Thank you for sharing the writer’s side of the process, Isobel. I was also thinking that the time between submission and publication might have become shorter over the years, but from your description it looks like this isn’t always a factor.

    My only foray into publication was my dissertation, and I can attest to the need for one (and preferably more) pairs of eyes other than the author’s before a book goes to print. By the time I was ready to submit my dissertation, I’d gone over it so many times that my eyes and brain just glossed over glaring errors. It’s fatigue, and it’s normal, which is why I needed someone who was detached from the text to have a second look.

  5. Shaya
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 10:18:42

    I have hired editors and worked as an editor. There is no doubt some bad ones are out there, both independent and in publishing houses. I recently ranted about a new book from one of the biggest-name authors writing today, and published by one of the Big 5. The quality of the book was so far beneath this author’s usual that my first thought was, “She changed editors.” The book contained one of the most mundane, poorly written paragraphs I’ve ever read in a traditionally published book. How it passed the editing process is beyond me, as the entire paragraph should have been stricken from the manuscript. I know there are hard-working quality editors, but it seems the poor ones are getting more prolific even within the big publishing houses.

  6. Angela
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 10:43:59

    @Shaya:

    I recently ranted about a new book from one of the biggest-name authors writing today, and published by one of the Big 5.

    I often wonder if this isn’t more due to the fact that either a) the author thinks s/he doesn’t need edits because look-how-well-I-sell or b) the editor thinks why-mess-with-a-good-thing-look-how-well-they’re-selling or c) the editor’s become such a fan of the author’s work (honestly this would probably be me) that it gets hard to edit because you *want* it all.

    Which frustrates me to no end. Part of the reason the first books were so popular owes at least a small something to the editing.

  7. Angela
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 10:44:39

    @Angela:

    I miss the edit button. I need to start previewing.

  8. Shaya
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 12:08:17

    @Angela: I guess because the quality was such a complete nose dive from her previously published works, I assume that something changed in the process. Unless the author has suffered a major illness and somehow managed to keep it out of the press, I just don’t see how that change could be anything but the editorial process.

    I read James Michener’s “The Novel” a few years ago which shows how even a writer as prolific as he was depends on editors to maintain quality. In it, there is a snapshot of a page of his original manuscript, and then the page returned after the editor went through it. It is amazing how complete the mark-up was. Having read that book did influence my settling on “editorial problem” for this other author, who has published more best-selling novels than Michener.

  9. Angela
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 12:14:08

    @Shaya: I agree – I think a lot of people would be amazed at how much editing goes into a good book.

    I may have to check out the Michener book. Those kind of things fascinate me.

  10. Lada
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 14:53:51

    Ooof…some of those covers. Funny though. Based on your comments, I was picturing a horrible caricature or picture of Oprah. The reality is much worse.

    An author I was a reader for and who was with one of the “big houses” had an editor who constantly rewrote her stories. The rough drafts I was reading would eventually become unrecognizable books, and not for the better. I always wondered why the editor didn’t just write her own book. Said editor is apparently doing better than ever. I think mostly editors are under-appreciated but it would suck having an unreliable one.

  11. Christine M.
    Apr 02, 2014 @ 07:56:30

    Kobo credited the 71 cents I didn’t know I had credited to my account and the books got transfered wiithout a hitch. Yay me.

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