Mangled E-Books

A few years ago when Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare was first published, a local book club read the book and invited me to be a guest at their meeting. I really looked forward to the discussion because I thought the club would have enjoyed reading a book where one of their members was a character, and where their town itself played a part. If nothing else, I would have thought they would have been interested in what parts of the book were a true reflection of the dance class, and what parts of the book were pure fiction.

As it turned out, it was a miserable experience. Not one person had a question. Not one person had a good thing to say about the book. In fact, the meeting was dominated by a woman who grilled me about the editing. Who edited it? Did you edit it yourself? Did your publisher edit it? Did anyone else edit it?

Then she said she’d never seen so many typos in a single book. The truth is, I’m sure there are some errors, but considering all the people who proofed it for me before I turned it into my publisher, I have a hard time believing that the half-dozen proofers all missed the same myriad errors, though it is possible. It’s almost impossible for any book to be 100% accurate, especially this one considering that my then publisher had a penchant for making unauthorized changes to my books. I didn’t mind another set of eyes, of course, but I let him publish the book with the caveat that he was to inform me of any changes he made. Which he ignored. Foolishly, I did not do a word-by-word check of the book again when I got the proof copy, but I simply could not handle another argument if by chance I found something that needed to be changed. Nor did I ever see an electronic version of the book, so I have no idea what it would have looked like, though, as it turns out, it would probably have been a good idea to check it over.

But I’m getting off the point, which is that book club meeting.

After that woman grilled me about my editing skills, I asked her if she could tell me the pages she found errors so I could perhaps correct them on future editions. She said she’d read the ebook, which didn’t have page numbers, but that there were errors on every “page.” Then, almost as an aside, she asked if there were ever translation errors when a book was made into an ebook. I told her there were often such errors and mentioned a book I was reading at the time where the name of the love interest, Illyena, was consistently mistranslated as Hyena, which had turned a touching story into a farce.

But even that isn’t as egregious a mistranslation as the book I am currently reading. This current book is so badly mangled that way too many passages were almost impossible to understand, such as this one:

“They made a lovely pair, the two women wand honey-skinned, their laughter gay and slim and young ads ruffling in the sultry Puffs Of and sweet, their dark and he and air off the desert.”

Really? This was a passage in an ebook by an internationally acclaimed bestselling author that had been published by one of the biggest publishing houses. How did they ever let such a mess get through?

Still, I bet if he had been a guest at that book club meeting to discuss his book, no one would have thought to grill him about the mangling.

I do know that the typo discussion was a way of putting me down, though I have no idea what I could possibly have done to those unknown women to merit such disparagement. All I know is that I was glad when they went onto other business and I could gracefully make an exit.

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Click here to buy: Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare.

Killing friends is a good way to lose friends, even if the murder is for play. When Pat’s adult dance classmates discover she is a published author, the women suggest she write a mystery featuring the studio and its aging students. One sweet older lady laughingly volunteers to be the victim, and the others offer suggestions to jazz up the story. Then the murders begin. Tapped by the cops as the star suspect, author Pat sets out to discover the truth curtained behind the benign faces of her fellow dancers. Does one of them have a secret she would kill to protect? Or is the writer’s investigation a danse macabre with Pat herself as the bringer of death?