I once received an email from the minions working for my publisher, Kindle Direct Publishing. The following is the email’s text:-
We’re writing to let you know that at least one of your readers has reported some problems within your book, and we have confirmed the issue. Potential errors have been identified: for example, “alter stone at Stonehenge’s centre.” should be “altar stone at Stonehenge’s centre.(loc: 52), “that surrounded the ancient alter.” should be “that surrounded the ancient altar.” (loc: 1311) Please check them and look for others.
While I accepted the error at the time, and that it may have been pointed out to them by a genuine reader, given that KDP along with Goodreads and CreateSpace are wholly owned subsidiaries of Amazon.com where all kinds of literary malcontents currently lurk, the chances are that it was one of them who pointed out the spelling error, hoping to get an irate reaction from me.
Well they got a response, but not necessarily the one they were hoping for…
The person from KDP who sent me the email may be genuine also. But you will pardon me for being overly cautious in this instance, having been caught out once several years back in a similar situation, which led to my being targeted for months by a particularly nasty individual.
If it was a genuine comment made by a genuine reader, then I would point out one thing to them – there is no such thing as an error free book. Even the most fastidious editor within the world of conventional publishing is human. Face it folks, errors like this minor one on my part get missed every day during the editing process. What did I do with the email? I merely filed it.
Within the world of literature, while companies like Amazon take the side of the troll over that of the writer and genuine reader citing ‘free speech’ as their reason for doing so, any writer who ‘bites’ when receiving something like this in his or her email tray is in for a nasty surprise if in all good faith they attempt to publically defend themselves. These days they can, and sometimes are banned from Amazon. Hows that for unjust!
Like most writers I know, I have nothing whatsoever to do with the act of engaging with people not known to me. Trust me when I say that in instances like this it is far better to err on the side of caution rather than react in any way shape or form…
PS – I forgot to mention that at the time of the infamous misspelt word back in 2012, the book in question had sold well over five thousand copies in its first month. I wonder if the same people who go out of their way to trash an Indie book via the online review system, do the same to traditionally published books. After all you sad people, if you look as carefully as you obviously do in an ebook, mistakes can also be found in their pages as well…