It seems like ages ago that my freshman novel, Letters from Linc, received a poor review on Amazon with the reader’s main complaint being she couldn’t get past all of the typos. If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, you’re no stranger to this story. If this is your first time hearing about it, here’s a short recap:
A few months ago, I stumbled across a review of Letters from Linc giving the book only three stars and saying the multitude of typos made it difficult to read. Even worse, the reader returned the book for a refund, costing me a sale. Initially, I ignored the review, but I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I downloaded a free sample of the novel, convinced I wouldn’t find anything wrong with it, and was shocked when I found the e-book riddled with errors that did not appear in the printed version.
When I first brought this to the publishers’ attention, they requested I review the book and identify all errors. I was charged with not only finding the mistakes, but providing the corrections. It quickly became clear this was a bigger task than the publisher understood so I contacted them again. A little more research on their part uncovered the problem was with their software and not with my spelling, grammar and punctuation. E-readers didn’t exist when the novel was first published. The first e-reader came out the following year, and the printed book was scanned for conversion to an e-book. Apparently, there was an issue with character or text recognition during this process which resulted in the errors the reader pointed out. The publisher is now working on correcting this.
While I’m happy the issue is being rectified, something else is bothering me. As much as it pains me to admit this, I don’t think Letters from Linc is my best work. I love the characters, and I think the storyline is sound. I’m just concerned with the mechanics. In looking at the novel all these years later, I can see a lot of things I’d like to change. There are a number of instances in the story where I told readers what was going on instead of showing them. There were also some scenes which I felt needed to be expanded on. I also used far too many adverbs.
Looking at all of these things now, I can honestly admit if this wasn’t my own novel, I probably would have been turned off by the writing style. Likely, I would have rewritten it in my head as I went. In fact, I find myself doing that now when I read the story.
Seven years ago, I sent this novel to as many agents as I could and was crushed by one rejection after the other. It was that experience that prompted me to pursue releasing it on my own. Now, I’m a little ashamed to admit I think those agents made the right decision. I get it, but I promise you I’m going to fix it! I owe my readers that much.