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Monday, October 9, 2017
Keeping Up with Language Shifts
I have spent the last few days doing a careful word-by-word check of the manuscript for my next book, which is scheduled to come out in November. Because it is something of a "How-To" book on self-publishing, I have been more than usually aware of any mistake that might cast doubts about my ability to write such a book. After the usual spelling and grammar check done by Microsoft's Word for MACs, I put the entire thing through two passes of Grammarly Pro, which promises to find any of 250 common writing problems, including spelling. And only then did I turn to reading the manuscript out loud, almost one word at a time, to spot words left out, awkward phrases, unclear explanations, and random typos. I did that three times!
Today I was confident enough of its correctness that I uploaded the .mobi file into Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing Platform. The program accepted my formatting and then announced it was searching for errors. "Ha!" I thought. Then to my dismay, it churned out a list of 51 possible spelling errors. The instructions said I should consider correcting these and then re-submitting.
I couldn't decide how to react. Angry? Insulted? Embarrassed? Ashamed? Humbled? I started going through the items, one by one. A few were proper names, which I could simply mark as "Ignore." Three were British spellings -- not exactly incorrect, but needed "Americanizing" for a US audience.
But the rest? They were all terms that have come into common and accepted usage in the last few years as we all become more and more computer-literate. Several were words I used repeatedly, which increased my total number of errors. Here's the list:
I'm trying to be understanding about this, but deep down, I have to wonder why an internet powerhouse like Amazon's KDP is not as current on computer language as this 78-year-old woman!