Reflecting on February (2016)… Quality Control…

Another month has rushed by… and I’ve plodded along. No writing, and just a few emails in the quest for reviews. No responses as yet. I’m like a virtual salesman trying to get my foot in the door. Thankfully, work is behaving itself, I’m doing lots of gaming with my other half, cycling, and enjoying myself, which balances out pitching days of my week into writing. That’s not to say I’m not missing it… I need to knuckle down and get my studies done so I can get back to using that time for writing. Which, rather clumsily segues into a little worry I’ve had about quality control this month…

I had a review for ‘The Room’ this month. 1 star. Why 1 star? According to the 1 line review, it’s because it’s ‘not my kind of genre’. O-kay. Still, it’s better than last year’s ‘No storyline, no consistency, rubbish writer – not worth even 99p – don’t bother buying, it is a waste of your time’. That was a nice birthday present of a review lol. Then there’s the review of ‘Ivory’, which I’ve mentioned before, as it isn’t actually a review of the version published through Amazon, but a re-posting of a review of the original shockingly-flawed-and-in-need-of-an-editor three years later. Now, I’m not reflecting on these reviews as I’m butt hurt about them. People like what they like, I’m not fragile. If anything I just wish more people would take to the keyboard and leave reviews. I get more excited for reviews than I do sales. The reason I bring up the critical reviews is there have been rumors that Amazon is going to be flagging up titles where there are quality issues raised through the auto-checker and reviews.

Good thing, huh? I think the ease of self-publishing these days could put quality at risk. I’ve sampled some poor writing myself. I’m glad I’ve had all my work edited, and the Amazon auto-checker (which is a really helpful tool I’m glad is there) seems to like my work, so I should be okay. The concern I have is from what I’ve read, books can get saddled with a stock warning about quality or be removed from sale because of reports of poor quality. It might be drama-mongering from panicking bloggers. You might recall though, that somebody complained that my title ‘Ivory’ infringed on copyright–with no disclosed example–and my title was threatened with removal by Amazon. It was a stressful time trying to get the decision overturned, and it made me appreciate how I’m a flea on an ant to Amazon. I’m not exactly making them much in the way of money for them to worry about. Self-publishers aren’t backed up by legal teams either, so our titles are potentially vulnerable in the land of vindictive trolls.

Reading through Kindle’s guide to quality control the expectations all seem as they should be… until the final bullet point at the bottom of the page… [‘We do not allow content that disappoints our customers, including but not limited to:’] ‘Content that does not provide an enjoyable reading experience’. Reviews just got scary. Especially the couple of reviews I’ve mentioned. Which aren’t really balanced out by other more positive reviews and opinions. Quality control should always be important, but I realised my inability to spot stupid mistakes and the need for an editor after self-publishing (*sigh*), but thankfully before this new development over at Amazon. Hopefully good story spinners beneath spelling, grammar and structure issues, will also realise the need for external creative input and ensure that their production matches their imagination.

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