Midnight Sins and Errors

Book CoverOne thing I have noticed in the past year or so is that the more romance readers are online speaking with one another, the faster we all get a working understanding of the publishing process. We learn more about how a book is produced, in other words, the more we speak with writers, editors, and publishing professionals.

Remember Navarro’s Promise, where the promised sex scene was entirely missing? That scene is available as a download on her site.

But alas, it seems the error-filled Lora Leigh books continue: the reviews for her latest book, Midnight Sins, are cringeworthy.

But what is interesting is that some reviewers spread the blame for the terrible finished product across several parties, including the editors and the publisher.

Once again, Lora Leigh has apparently gotten away with writing a book that was never read by anyone at her publishing company.

She screws up ages, details, names & relationships to such an extent that the story is incomprehensible….

There are just too many more errors—I counted 78 in the entire book—almost 3 a page. She can’t keep Rafe’s height correct – he’s 6’3”, no he’s 6’2”.

And where the heck did the villain come from? Never met him, never heard about him, just appears in the last 10 pages.

Not going to bother reading Lora Leigh anymore until someone actually begins editing her books.

 

I am just about fed up with the inconsistencies in the time line. One minute it’s been five years since they’ve been together, the next it’s been two. Or it’s been twelve years since her sister was killed, the next it’s eleven. I have to stop and think of the back story in order to figure out what they mean.

And the editing job is awful. There are quotations in the middle of statements and missing commas. It forces me to stop for a second and try to figure out what is being said or done. Instead, I should just be able to flow through the story.

Overall, it had the potential to be a really good story. I think the editors dropped the ball when they should have caught this stuff before it was released.

If you are a fan of Lora Leigh you know her mistakes in her books are getting worse. And I’m not even going to hold it against her editors completely. I mean seriously? This is her career…one would think she would have a bit more pride in what she is putting out there. It is the editors job to cach mistakes here and there but they shouldnt be expectd to hold Ms. Leighs hand the whole time and watch over her shoulder to catch her huge mistakes. Thats her job. Its her story. She should darn well know the timeline of when things happen in her books. I really dont think I have the patience to ever read another of her books. There are just to many other authors out there who actually care about their writing and want to share a great well written story.

It’s like her editor was drunk. We’re not talking typographical errors…this is BAD. The storyline is all over the place, pieces are repeated over and over and then they change at a moment’s notice. Not just once or twice but throughout the whole book. It had a decent premise but it was dropped and jumbled up. I checked and fortunately Ms Leigh did not dedicate this book to her editor.

I wonder if there should be a raffle, like guessing the total number of jelly beans in a big ass jar, only in this case, guess the total number of continuity, editing, and grammar errors in the book. 

Currently there are 16 1-star reviews, and six 2-stars on Amazon. Over at Barnes & Noble, there is a mix of 1-star angry reviews and squeeing 4 and 5 star reviews. Many of the 1-star reviews are angry and wonder what the hell happened. Some place more blame on the editor than on the author, and some vice versa. Still others absolve the writer, saying the editors should have caught the errors before the book went to print.

It is, in a word, embarrassing.

So who is at fault? My guess: everybody. My theory, based on unrelated conversations and a heaping spoonful of conjecture, is that Leigh turned in a manuscript that was likely extremely late, and it was full of the errors described above. But because the publisher had already sunk serious money into the promotion and marketing for the slot in the calendar in which her book was scheduled, they couldn’t reschedule her book to allow for editing. Plus, because it’s Lora Leigh, her books will sell on her name alone.

In short: better to make money on a flawed and terrible product than lose money and attempt to improve it.

What’s really freaking sad is that Leigh has an active interest, it seems, in connecting with her fans. She hosts the RAW Reader Appreciation Weekend every year, connecting authors and readers for four days in October, and authors I’ve spoken with say they love attending and meeting readers in an intimate gathering like that. Leigh also hosts a monthly book club in Hagerstown, Maryland, with a potluck and what looks to be, judging from the time reserved, one hell of a long-running and active discussion. That’s a tremendous amount of effort to make to connect with fans.

That effort is pretty awesome – and so I’m baffled as to why Leigh’s books themselves continue to be an utter embarrassment of errors. And, judging from the reviews, so are her readers.

 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    ShellBell says:

    Wow! I guess this is one of the few occasions where I’m pleased that geographical restrictions prevented me from buying the eBook.

  2. 2
    KB/KT Grant says:

    I heard Lora won’t allow an editor to edit her work. She also hands in first drafts. This is from a reliable source and both Lora and the publisher should be ashamed.

    But notice she continues to make the NY Times. What does this mean?

  3. 3
    Mireya says:

    Way back when, when Lora Leigh still published electronically, she was not known for being a “clean” writer.  Her editors had to really work on editing her stories.  She was also extraordinarily prolific back then.  At one point, I think there was a Lora Leigh book out every 2-3 months or so.  She had several ongoing series which she left hanging, probably for more than one reason.  She was EC’s biggest seller, but her books were coming out with editing work done, even when EC is often criticized for bad editing.

    If her current publishing company is allowing her to go without an editor, I am not surprised.  Though, as I said, she NEVER was a “clean” writer, she’s still raking in the dough, the publishing company will not give a damn and as to Lora Leigh, well, she’s business savvy, that’s the why she tries to reach her fans, she knows who is keeping her up there.  The sales show that at least a good portion of her fans are willing to forgive anything, and if there is one thing I know about her series, is that they tend to hook the reader from the start.  That’s what makes her so popular as well. 

    Personally, I stopped reading her work some time ago.  I never read her suspense work because I don’t read suspense at all.  I kept reading the Breeds for a while.  After that, I stopped, because the Breeds now all much read the same to me, and the characters are pretty much interchangeable.  It was a fun series to read though, so I felt sad when I realized that it was not doing it for me any longer.

  4. 4
    Kerry Allen says:

    @KB/KT Grant: “But notice she continues to make the NY Times. What does this mean?”

    It means habits are hard to break. I’m currently in the midst of a book purge. I have whole shelves of books taken up by authors who disillusioned me around book five, books I grimaced while buying because I expected them to be bad. (Book addiction much?)

    It’s only in the past two years or so that I’ve developed the ability to stop when I encounter an execrable book. I don’t feel obligated to torture myself by finishing it, and I certainly don’t waste my money on another one. Practice makes perfect, right? So they should get better with each book. When the name on the cover becomes the only selling point, the quality of the story inside is neglected.

    I find I care a great deal about the story and not a bit about authors who don’t care enough to tell a good one.

  5. 5
    Lucy says:

    This one ended my relationship with her books. I won’t spend any more money on her books no matter the reviews.

  6. 6
    Joanne says:

    What’s really sad is that her fans cut her so much for so long. Many of us thought that since she was going through a bad time she’d eventually be able to get her act together and we’d support her in the meantime.

    Her books were fun but they’ve become such cut and paste mishmashes that the publisher should have refused to release them.

    Who’s at fault? The author first and foremost. I don’t know what’s going on with her but now I no longer care and I wouldn’t read her books for free.

    The publisher should be slapped with a vat of ink for allowing these past ten or so books to ever see the light of day. 
    Talk about not respecting the customer.

  7. 7
    Joanne says:

    *sigh* should be ‘cut her so much slack’

  8. 8
    Jeannie says:

    I think this illustrates how there are different types of readers out there, not just writers. Things like punctuation and continuity don’t bother some. Others, like me, it annoys the hell out of. If I have to stop and reread sentences, it totally pulls me out of the story.

    Reviews, and review sites like SBTB and Dear Author, greatly influence what I buy and try. I’ve learned that on Amazon you have to take a lot of them with a grain of salt, but I’ve seen this particular book targeted on several different sites now so that lends more credit to the negative reviews. Ms. Leigh should be ashamed of herself. To me, putting out an inferior product is disrespectful to her readers, no matter how much effort she puts into connecting with them publicly. Many of us have tight book budgets so we’re choosy about what we purchase, so for her to settle for half-ass and expect her fans to do the same is insulting. And the blame goes from the author all the way through to the publisher. Maybe some of it should even go to the readers who buy this and give it glowing reviews when it quite clearly doesn’t deserve them (IMO). In a way that’s condoning bad behaviors, like rewarding the dog for pissing on the carpet when you’re too lazy to get up and let him outside.

    It seems that this type of thing plagues a lot of very prolific writers. Danielle Steele is another example. Over the years her stuff has become formulaic, repetitive and terribly boring. I tried to read the sample of Fat Girl on my Kindle (thank the Amazon gods for that) and couldn’t get through it because of the repetition. And that was just one chapter! Imagine what the rest of the book would have been like? But still, I’ve read glowing reviews for it, too!

    Just because you have a large, established fan base doesn’t mean you can rest on those laurels and start putting out crap. In this day and time, those fans will eventually turn on you. Or they should.

  9. 9
    Chelsea says:

    I’m not savvy enough in the ways of publishing to know who deserves what portion of blame. But I do know that when you put something out there as an author, and it has your name on it, it’s your responsibility. You should have to answer for the shoddy work that, in my opinion, cheats people out of their hard earned money. Mistakes happen. I have no problem with finding one or two little screw ups in a 350 page book. But when it becomes so frequent as to be distracting, I get upset.

    From a reader perspective, there are rose colored glasses that go on once an author becomes a favorite. The longer you’ve been in love with an authors work, the harder it becomes to be honest with yourself (and in reviews) about the quality of each new book. In my case, I’ve been struggling with J.R. Ward, who I used to love but who’s work has largely taken a turn in a direction I dislike. Not a full-of-errors kind of problem, just an issue of the work no longer matching my taste. Yet I keep buying the stupid things, I keep being disappointed, and I keep struggling to write honest rose-colored-glasses-off reviews. Old habits die hard.

  10. 10
    sophie858585 says:

    I get seriously annoyed with the amount of romance bashing I hear. I am mainly a science fiction and fantasy reader, and I hear so much of it from sf&f fans and authors—who really should know better! But authors like Lora Leigh do give the haters some ammunition.

    I haven’t read any Lora Leigh, so this may be wrong, but it sounds like she is just a terrible writer by any criteria. It isn’t just about punctuation—that can be fixed. And little continuity errors happen. But it sounds like this author is either not aware of or not bothering with the basic craft of story.

    But I know she sells a gajillion books.

    Which I guess is just the long way round in saying I’m so glad sites like this exist, to call out the unprofessional stuff, and praise those authors who really are making the effort!

  11. 11
    Robin Bayne says:

    Is it possible someone else is now writing and turning in her books?

  12. 12
    Rebecca says:

    I think placing the blame on the editor shows a lack of understanding how publishing works, not a greater understanding.  (Unless by “greater understanding” you mean realizing that there IS someone involved besides the author.)  Authors who sell well will be less edited.  Period.  They make money for the publishers, and the publishers do not want to annoy them, lest they take their money-making selves elsewhere.

    All new writers are emphatically told that it is NOT the editor’s job to correct basic grammar and time line issues.  A good line edit will pick up more subtle tics (like using the word “quick” four times in one page), and issues about whether a certain piece of information would be known to a certain character at a given time.  It will also catch the occasional obvious goof that the author doesn’t see because she’s looked at the manuscript a thousand times before sending it in, and it no longer makes sense to her.  But ultimately the responsibility rests on the author.  That’s why authors get page proofs AFTER the line and copy edit to make changes.  Established authors are ASSUMED to know this, which is another reason why they’re less edited (and another reason why they get annoyed about being edited – it’s insulting).

    This kind of mistake is on the author, and as someone up thread said, it’s disrespectful to her readers.

  13. 13
    LG says:

    I’m sure at least a portion of the people of buy Lora Leigh’s books are doing it out of habit. I’ve had that problem – I’ve bought books I know I’m probably not going to like, books that make me feel like it’s actual work to read them (my recreation should be fun, not work, darn it), so why did I buy them? Because the author used to be one of my favorites. I had nostalgic feelings about their works, I remembered past book signings that gave me warm fuzzies, and I still loved their earliest books. Usually, this kind of thing happens to me with authors who write series. I’ve invested a good deal of time in the series, so I feel like I need to keep going.

    It usually takes me many books past the point I should have quit reading to really quit. First I quite buying the author in hardback, then I quit buying in paperback and just get library books. The hardest step is quitting getting them via the library. Even then, it’s a bit like an addiction – there are authors I’ve technically quit, but when I see their newest books on bookstore/library shelves, I still feel a twinge of “must get.” It’s awful.

  14. 14

    I’ve not read this book. I stopped reading at the series where all the heroes were navy SEALS who never went anywhere near the sea.
    Leigh has never been a clean writer, but she wrote dynamics and outrageous situations that readers (including me) lapped up. Her first Breeds Berkeley books seemed to lose a bit of focus, or something, so I started reading her others.
    Leigh writes fast, with lots of errors. And the cleaner the manuscript you turn in, the better chance of the editor spotting all the boo-boos and correcting them. An editor usually has a stable of writers, not just one, and it’s not fair on the others to monopolize her time. So it’s a courtesy to the other authors, too, to hand in a reasonably clean copy.
    So maybe Leigh needs a panel of beta readers before she turns her stuff in to her editor? Maybe they should put her a book back, so they have one in hand, so to speak, and add the extra process. There must be lots of fans who’d be willing to do that for her. Or even – gasp – a secretary.

    security word – respect69. I surely do.

  15. 15
    Patrice says:

    I agree, LL has never been a “clean” writer. I wonder if her print publisher has cut staff, particularly final line editors or copy editors. As I recall from years ago when Lora was only electronically published she herself admitted she was terrible at grammar and punctuation. Still the author can’t put it all on the editors, she should know a character’s height, etc! Keep a notebook! lol Although that type of thing was what some authors used to ask “first readers” to check. I met Lora at various book signings and readers weekend. She was sincere and nice and kind of shy. I think she has great ideas and can hook a reader in with good premise, characterization and action. But I noticed, even early on, a tendency for her plots to ramble or for descriptive paragraphs to be repeated. Plus timelines were confusing in her series. The stories didn’t seem to come out in any order and that just got worse when she repubbed and put out new stories with her NYC contracts. Now I read an occasional book by her but have definitely fallen out of “gotta have it” impulse for LL. I’m certainly not one keeping her on the bestseller lists!

  16. 16
    Kerry Allen says:

    @Lynne Connolly: If it’s true she doesn’t want a professional editor touching her works of genius, I very much doubt she’d allow beta readers to take a whack at her.

  17. 17
    Lori says:

    I read some of Leigh’s earliest books and I’ve read a couple of her more recent books. Saying that she was never a “clean” writer is a serious understatement. I know this is going to make me sound like a bitch, and not in the not good way, but I’m going to say it any way—-Leigh is one of less than a handful of writers whose success makes me angry.

    She has never produced any work that meets what I consider to be the bare minimum in quality for a person paid to write. Her grammar, spelling and word usage have always been atrocious. I’m not talking about minor errors. I’m talking about the sort of things people are supposed to learn in elementary school and it has never gotten any better.  She also has consistency issues, both in characterization and story that, as others have noted, have actually gotten worse.

    Writing is her job. She should be doing far better and I see no evidence that she’s making any effort at all. Every part of the system that keeps her on the NY Times list makes me sort of annoyed.

  18. 18
    Donna says:

    Wow! What you all said. I’m not one of those people who can just let go when the WRFery becomes WHAT THE F***!!!! And, yes I’m anal enough that a comma in the wrong place or the wrong word is the mental equivelant of being thrown off a horse. Sure I’ll climb back on; if it’s just a typo all’s forgiven. But if the story/writing sucks on top of it? That’s like riding with a burr under your butt.
    I’m with Kerry. In the last few years I’ve gotten my book addiction under control & stopped the knee-jerk purchases based on author’s name. My book budget has taken quite a hit so there’s nothing worse than finding out I just spent hard cover money for a something no one from the writer to the publisher cared about.  We’re just an income stream to them. As long as there are plenty of fangirls out there who are blinded by their adoration enough to keep supporting this kind of crap, I don’t forsee a change. So, I guess readers have a share of the blame. Oh, no! I just blamed the victim!!
    I’m ashamed of myself… But I’m not exactly wrong….

  19. 19
    Gina says:

    I’m sorry, but this problem is as bad for Lora as for whoever is her editor and the publishing house. I can’t see how any editor or pub can’t take part of the responsibility or blame. NO WAY.  Did the editor even read the manuscript or just glossed over it??  If not, can anyone tell me what is the job of the editor if it isn’t to polish the manuscript that an author has given to them. Still, not everyone can be an editor nor everyone can be called an editor just because they put it after their name…

  20. 20
    Jeannie says:

    Out of curiosity I clicked over and read the omitted love scene from Navarro’s Promise. Ack! It’s way overdone and there were errors there too.

    @Lori
    If you’re a bitch then I’m one too, because I feel the exact same way. It pisses me off that some people continue to get crap published when there are really good authors out there who can’t get the break they deserve.

  21. 21
    Rebecca says:

    when Lora was only electronically published she herself admitted she was terrible at grammar and punctuation.

    This is akin to an accountant saying she is terrible at arithmetic or Excel. 

    can anyone tell me what is the job of the editor if it isn’t to polish the manuscript that an author has given to them.

    Assuming the question about the editor’s job is not a rhetorical one, see my comment up thread.  Also, recall that editors play a role in acquisitions (finding new, less terrible authors), and marketing. 

    As to polishing, how do you know the manuscripts weren’t even WORSE when she handed them in?  I know when I’m going through student papers my eyes glaze over after the first page of errors.  Perhaps the editors simply dragged it up to what they knew the minimum standard was that (enough) readers would accept, and then moved on to working with more rewarding manuscripts, with authors who actually make the effort to hand in clean work, and appreciate the editor’s effort?

  22. 22
    AgTigress says:

    I find this all fairly baffling. 
    All serious writers accept that their work will benefit from being read and checked both by friends and colleagues, and by a professional editor.  But at the same time, the text should always be as perfect as the author can make it before it is shown to anyone else.  We are all human, and we all make mistakes, but we eliminate as many of them as we can find before turning to other people, whose fresh eyes may identify other problems.  And then, we take heed of what they say.
    I find it outrageous that any manuscript that is still apparently in a draft stage should see publication at all.  It is an insult, not only to readers, but also to the many aspiring writers who work conscientiously at their craft, but have not yet been published. 
    Errors like internal inconsistencies in the descriptions of characters reveal a cavalier attitude to the craft of writing that would make me very angry indeed.  They demonstrate that the author’s actual writing process is sloppy and flawed.

  23. 23
    Las says:

    I’ve said it before – and others have already mentioned it in the comments – but Leigh books have ALWAYS been full of errors. Always. And they’ve always sold well. Which is, I think, a perfectly legitimate reason for her publisher to not bother editing her now, since clearly her fans like her writing as is.

    I’m flabbergasted that her fans are complaining now. Someone who’s new to Leigh’s work has the right to gripe about the errors, but long-term fans? Come on, now. I enjoyed a lot of her work but I always new that she was more of an “idea” person than an actual writer. Her writing might be worse now but it was always bad, and the outrage over her current books—as if her fans got cheated somehow—don’t make a bit of sense to me.

  24. 24
    Donna says:

    And has anyone noticed that authors who acknowledge their beta readers, are often writers who don’t have problems with that pesky continuity thing?
    @Lori, if you’re a bitch, I’d hate to think what that makes me. That’s kitten scratching compared to what I’d let loose with in a less civil venue.

  25. 25
    Lori says:

    @Donna: I’m right there with you. What I posted was the nice version. The unedited version of what I think about Leigh’s lack of professionalism and the fact that she makes the NYT list is much, much nastier and has a lot more swearing.

  26. 26
    Lisa J says:

    @las – could the outrage by existing fans be because of Agency pricing on her e-books.  It is possible the people making noise now are paying more for a product they once purchased at a discount and they want it to be better if they are spending more.

  27. 27
    J says:

    I was proofreader on some of Leigh’s books back when she was first being published in ebooks and I can corroborate – she was not a “clean” writer. The errors (grammar, continuity, spelling, sentence structure) were ridiculous. There is one specific misspelling that I still remember to this day and sometimes use as an example to others. I only remember two authors who were worse, actually.

    I don’t remember her refusing to edit or accept changes or suggestions back then, though. It sounds like success has gone to her head and she’s pulled an Anne Rice.

  28. 28
    Mary G says:

    This is disheartening because it’s unclear who to blame
    or if anything will be done.

    Authors don’t always have control over covers & titles
    & in some cases don’t have control over the way the story
    shakes out. Errors, however, are usually seen by many sets
    of eyes. I beta read & line edit for various authors who agonize over every single word & scene, who actually care about the finished product & the fact that their name is behind it.

    I really don’t understand the discrepancy between Lora’s
    books and Louisa Edwards’ who is with the same publisher. I’ve never seen any errors in Louisa’s books.  Could it be that the publisher feels LL’s books sell on name alone & they don’t have to spend any money on quality? That becomes the publisher’s responsibility. I know in my various reading groups, readers have been bitching & counting the errors in LL’s books & some won’t buy any more or will buy only used now. Doesn’t help the frustration in reading, only that they didn’t pay a lot of money for it.

  29. 29
    J says:

    @Lisa J – honestly, I think readers have a right to expect a clean product. We pay hard-earned money and I at least expect editors – and authors! – to do their jobs, which they are being paid to do, and edit the damn books.

  30. 30

    I put up a document as a PDF and it came through with one formatting error when I tried to quote a poem and I’ve heard of one typo where I left out the “i” in the word “his”.  True, I once worked as an editor, but she should love her story enough.  To me, it’s like going out when you know your shirt is dirty or your teeth not brushed. Like you not only don’t care what people think, but you don’t care about yourself enough.

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