Sunday, June 30, 2013

Where's the Spell Check?

by Leann

I understand mistakes happen to everyone, but it seems when big online companies--and I am referencing Amazon and Audible right now--are dealing with a spelling mistake, it creates big problems if you are an author.

Let's go back several years ago to my second Cats in Trouble Mystery, The Cat, The Professor and The Poison. My publisher, The Penguin Group (see? I can spell penguin!) sends in book covers to online retailers like Amazon well ahead of release, and certainly well ahead of the book even being finished. That's great, UNLESS they spell a word wrong in the title. In my case, they sent in a cover with "professor" spelled "proffessor."

Here's the problem this created. When Penguin sent Amazon the cover for the book for the KINDLE version--and the Kindle version only--they sent it with professor spelled correctly. Well, computers being what they are, it was determined that these were two DIFFERENT books. So, my Kindle version and my paperback version did not appear together on the same sales page. Readers alerted me to this. It was only after many emails between myself and Amazon that they agreed to pair the versions on the same page. But there was a "HOWEVER" involved. To correct the misspelling on the paperback, Penguin had to send an entirely new PDF cover file to Amazon. Depsite my requests, this never happened. You can see what I mean! This is what is up there to this day:

For me, this is an embarrassment even though it not my fault. (Please rest assured, the actual book has "professor" spelled correctly on the cover!) Every time I see that page I cringe. You would think it would matter to Penguin, but apparently not.

Moving on to Audible. First, Audible now has all the Cats in Trouble books produced (YAY!) except one. You guessed it. The Cat, The Professor and The Poison. I don't know if this is because of the difficulty pairing the audio to the book page on Amazon or not. (Amazon owns Audible.com and gives special prices on kindle and audio titles bought together, so I am only guessing this misspelling has created a problem.)

But there's MORE. The Cat, The Wife and The Weapon, the 4th book in the series now out on audio, does not appear on the same page as all my other audio books when you go to Audible.com. Well, guess what? THEY SPELLED MY NAME WRONG! Here's the link and you can see what I am talking about.

The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon: A Cats in Trouble Mystery
UNABRIDGED

Leann Sweeny instead of Leann Sweeney, but only on that one book. So, this title is being put up as if it is written by different person--because that's what the computer has decided.

Can I scream now? You might hear it across the ocean if that's where you live! :-)

If you are interested in audio books and want to buy the Cats in Trouble series and listen in order, I have asked my agent to find out why book #2 is missing. Nothing I have done seems to have made any difference. And maybe, if enough people use the "contact us" section on these sites and talk about the misspellings, they might decide to fix these problems. Thank you for reading this!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Those e's will get you every time. I spell my name LeAnne and most of the time they leave off the last e and don't capitalize the A.

Nancy said...

How frustrating!

Anonymous said...

I emailed the 3 feedback email addresses listed and 1 under advertising. From a money making stand point it would be better if they spelled your name correctly because then we customers could find it and purchase it. DUH!
-Sandi

Peg Herring said...

It is embarrassing, and it's such a time-consuming pain to get someone to pay attention and fix these things! My first book was misfiled by the Library of Congress because someone assumed that Peg Herring (me) was the same person as Peggy J. Herring, (another author). The years of birth were different, so they sent my publisher a note saying I'd made a mistake. (Like I didn't know my birth year!) It took a lot of emails and time to fix the problem, because many retailers get their info from LofC files.
It's the worst that the mistake in your case is on the cover, of all places. Who could have guessed all the conflicts that would create with selling!

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks for sending messages to audible and amazon! And Peg, I'm glad I'm not the only one who has experienced these issues. A real human being who is fact checking might have caught all this. But computers only know what is programmed in--and apparently I have written two books with different titles (though AMAZINGLY similar) and I spell my name two different ways. Sigh.

Deanna Lilly said...

I will add this... unfortunately design programs do not have spell check. I make a colossal typo on my own company 6 ft x 6 ft display banner design setup file that I sent off to the company, and only noticed it when I set it up the first time. I spent hours matching paint to the display colors and literally re-lettering the typo and following text with a paint brush. I taught me a valuable lesson about triple checking every word when I'm designing.

Carol B said...

It really is amazing that the publisher doesn't even seem to care about getting it right. Spell check is good as a very basic tool for corrections, but I really don't like it. I am, apparently, a NATURAL good speller/proofreader. Errors just jump out at me, although I admit I usually get in a hurry while typing emails or message posts and send before I go back and correct my own errors. But it just infuriates me to have a computer try to tell me that I have misspelled a word--or used incorrect grammar--when I have not done either one. And, of course, there are also those times when a word IS spelled correctly, but is not the word's spelling that should have been used (desert and dessert, for example). Not only because I would love to be able to earn some extra money by proofreading (preferably at home, but even in an office) but no one hires humans anymore to do that, but also because it just plain drives me crazy to be reading a book, newspaper article, whatever, and find such senseless errors. (And, yes, even humans like me will occasionally let an error or two slip by them--no one is perfect.) I never turned on spell check/grammar check when I was doing desktop publishing or just writing my own stuff using Word. (I still don't, but I don't do much of that any more anyway.)

Leann Sweeney said...

Nothing amazes me except how relying on computers can create apparently unrepairable problems. Ugh!

Adrienne said...

It's a sad day when the computer becomes the focus for your talent and not you or your great works. I'm just so sorry to hear about your having to deal with these issues. But I'm oh so glad you keep right on writing your wonderful books!

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Adrienne. Surprisingly I received an email from my agent this morning (on a Sunday, no less!) saying that she would take care of this for me. I hope she's can because I had NO LUCK whatsoever!

Brooke said...

How frustrating! I'm so sorry you're having these issues.

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Brooke. Just a little rant since I feel helpless!! :-)

Adrienne said...

Leann, I've noticed how many of you authors thank your agents in the acknowledgement segment of your books. Perhaps this is why! I hope she gets this straightened out for you so you can concentrate on more important things, like writing - and breathing easier. :-)

Leann Sweeney said...

If I had to deal with the paperwork generated by my publisher I would lose my mind! So I am grateful for that alone! Plus, my agent wrestled my very first book away from an ornery publisher that wanted to "hang on to it" even though they had offered no print contract for months. I had another publisher who DID want to publish it. She solved the problem in about 3 hours. Agents know editors and what works--and that's why they are so invaluable!

Aurian said...

That sure is awful Leann! And I think I have a bookmark with that same typo ... I work at a civil law notary's office, and typo's in a deed are bad, so due to my work I immediately spot errors made by someone else, like they jump out of the text or something like that. Of course that does not mean that I don't make typo's myself! I just spot them easily.
Where ever I go, to a restaurant, or read some advertisement, I always spot the mistakes, and often want to correct them. Most people don't like it when mistakes are pointed out to them though.

I would not mind a second job, proofreading for fun.

Leann Sweeney said...

You would think on a cover, it would jump out, but it didn't jump out even for me when I was sent an early cover copy. But, that was because I had so many issues with that cover from the beginning that I was focused on many many other things. And THAT is a whole other story. I'll call it--The Doomed Cover! when I write that book.