I have read quite a few self-published books for the Lesbrary now, and the majority of the time I come back to one point: editing. Some authors do self-publishing well and put in the time to have their work edited thoroughly (I haven’t had any issues with Sarah Diemer’s editing, for instance), but a lot of the authors I’ve read do not, and it really detracts from the book.
Seasons Change needed a lot of editing. It’s not that the premise is bad; I was looking forward to the plot, which is different from the standard lesbian romance storylines. Seasons Change is about Annette, a woman who is coming out of an abusive relationship, fighting her ex for custody rights, and trying to sort out her relationship with her lifelong best friend, Monica. It focuses on an interracial relationship and has a bisexual main character. It’s a nice change from the more commonly published white lesbian romances. Their relationship has an interesting dynamic, and I enjoyed the amount of backstory and subplots introduced. There is definitely the material in Seasons Change for an interesting book, but as it is, it reads like a rough draft.
The most significant problem in Seasons Change was the constant typos. Typos like “flee market” and “she peaked out the window” appear constantly, sometimes two to a page. “Wave”, for instance, is spelled “waive” throughout the book. More than once I had to put down the book after reading such a terrible typo. One was at “he tied the towel around his waste” (sadly, not the first time I’ve seen that typo in the book. The other time was Fireflies by Lacey Reah). Another was in response to this: “He thought if the government gave the green light to freedom of sexuality and the acknowledgement of same-sex union, people would request the right to marry their pets, and the country would become a nation of half-bread animal lovers.” (bold mine, italics hers)
There were some other problems editing could have helped with, too: some awkward sentences, odd pacing, and an ending that seemed too neat. But those would have been a lot more bearable if the typos had been fixed. Near the end of the book, it talks about sodomy laws making “homophobic activity” illegal, which is pretty much the opposite of what was meant.
I think this was a story worth telling, and to be honest, I always feel bad writing bad reviews. But I always come back to the same thought: I’m not reading anyone’s diaries. I think that if you are publishing a book and putting it into the world, you have a responsibility to live up to a certain standard. And I just don’t think this story was ready for print yet.