Putting Kindle readers to work as proofreaders

Putting Kindle readers to work as proofreaders

I’m told by Allegra, the editorial assistant at Turnstone, Simon & Schuster, in New York, that ebook errors happen because the text is shrunk. I’m simply to let her know and they will be corrected. (Thank you, Allegra.)

So I returned to AmazonKindle to check what’s been highlighted by reader/proofreaders. Here’s what I discovered:

From The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.:

–3 readers highlighted: In the light I see security, but in the shadows I see grief . . . in the shadows I see defeat.

–4 highlighted the typos “aman” (a man) and “aspisspotin” (as pisspot in)

–4 also highlighted: intelligent; she amuses; she is pleasing. She is grace and charm and heart. Unlike Rose: scared, haunted and needy. Unlike Rose with her sad life.

From Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe:

–3 readers highlighted, from the copyright page: Ogni talento matta. (Every talented man is a madman.)

–3 also highlighted: A woman’s truths, how secret they must be. Hidden, buried, only to emerge in the night.

From The Last Great Dance on Earth:

–6 readers highlighted the sentence: That we are born, we live and we die—in the midst of the marvelous. (A wonderful Napoleon quote, in truth. I worked hard to get it in.)

–3 highlighted: We are punished for our pleasures; if only we were rewarded for our pain.

From Mistress of the Sun:

–3 readers highlighted: Patience is the companion of wisdom, her father had often said, quoting Saint Augustine.

What does this tell me?

One, that there are not too many typos. And two, that readers like wise nuggets. And three: that the Amazon recording system may be suspect. It seems too coincidental. As a novelist, I’d never get readers to believe it.

You might be pleased to know that the second most highlighted text for all of Kindle is:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

From Pride and Prejudice, of course, by Jane Austen: highlighted by 3547 Kindle users.

As for the #1 favourite? It’s a quote from Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese that begins:

The key to your happiness is to own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don’t.

What do you think? Are you a highlighter? (I am: shamelessly so.)



(Check here for more details.)

  • April 7 — Historical Tapestry: http://historicaltapestry.blogspot.com/ Guest post: “Why I love unhappy endings.”
  • April 10 — Reading Group Guides: http://www.readinggroupguides.com/content/index.asp Guest post: “How a bookclub changed me as a writer.”
  • April 14 — Scandalous Woman http://scandalouswoman.blogspot.com/ Review.
  • April 15 — Reading the Past: http://readingthepast.blogspot.com/ Guest post: “What to leave in . . . and what to leave out: crafting a story from history.
  • April 16 — Marta’s Meanderings: http://martasmeanderings.blogspot.com Review, giveaway, guest post: “The ups and downs of historical research.”
  • April 17 — Travels of the Bookworm: http://travelsofthebookworm.blogspot.com/ Giveaway, guest post: “Viewing history through a kaleidoscope.” Hosting the giveaway right now!
  • April 20 — Historical Novels: http://historicalnovels.info Q&A
  • April 21 — Devourer of Books: http://www.devourerofbooks.com/ Guest post.
  • April 23 and 24: Peeking Beteen the Pages: http://peekingbetweenthepages.blogspot.com Review and guest post.
  • April 24 — Epicrat: http://epicrat.blogspot.com Q&A
  • April 29 — Planet Books: http://planetbooks.wordpress.com/ Q&A
  • April 29 — Booking Mama: http://bookingmama.blogspot.com/ Review, giveaway and guest post.
  • May 1 — The Tome Traveller: http://thetometraveller.blogspot.com Review and giveaway.
  • May 1 — Racous Royals: http://blog.racousroyals.com Review and guest post.
  • May 4 — Shhh! I’m Reading: http://shhhimreading.blogspot.com/ Review and guest post.
  • May 5 — My Friend Amy: http://www.myfriendamysblog.com/ Review and guest post.
  • May 7 — Enchanted by Josephine: http://enchantedbyjosephine.blogspot.com Review, giveaway and guest post.
  • May 8 — Skrisha’s Books: http://www.skrishnasbooks.com Review.
  • May 14 — Linus’ Blanket: http://linussblanket.com Review and giveaway.
  • May 15 — Kris Waldherr http://kriswaldherr.com/blog Review, Q&A and giveaway
  • May 20 — Books Love Jessica Marie: http://bookslovejessicamarie.blogspot.com Review and giveaway
What next?

What next?

James Macgowan has published an article in the Ottawa Citizen, “After the End,” asking writers what they do after a novel is finished. I’m in that space now (and starting to feel a bit too much at home in it). I was somewhat pained by Alan Cumyn’s claim that the novel is never really over, reassured by Andrew Pyper‘s “cut adrift” feeling, and totally related to Scott Gardiner‘s getting onto all the chores that were ignored in that all-consuming last push to finish. Gail Anderson-Dargatz‘s answer was romantic and charming:

I have a confession to make: I have an “affair” with my next project before I finish the first, just so I avoid many of the feelings of separation that come when I “divorce” my main novel project and move on. And I do go through real separation at the end of a project, with many of the accompanying feelings of grief, anger, exhaustion and general stress, before finally coming to an acceptance that yes, the relationship is over and it’s time to move on. After all, I’ve spent the better part of five years with this novel. Moving on to that new project before the old “marriage” is over means I have something exciting to look forward to, a place to redirect my focus, so I don’t stay in the doldrums as long. So a little fling is a good thing. I think those feelings of separation as we move out of a project are necessary in giving us distance from it, so we can move into the editing process with a new perspective. It’s very much like that moment when you see your old love on the street (after the divorce is over) and you can see the guy for who he really is, and can judge him accordingly, without the fuzz of love to distort your perceptions.

It took me a moment to realize that this is exactly what had happened with Mistress of the Sun. I’d finished The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B., and decided to have “an affair” with Louise de la Vallière‘s story before returning to the very long marriage of the Trilogy. After finishing the Trilogy and writing an early draft of Mistress, I took a detour into the life of La Grande Mademoiselle—whose story I may well write about now. It reminds me that writing is more of a meandering journey where nothing really is wasted.