I wrote an article on epublishing a while ago with the overall impression that it was a good thing. After reading a few books published in this manner, I now fully understand why people have reservations about it.
The first book I couldn’t even read. I technically read the first six chapters (of course each chapter was about a page and a half long). I stopped reading when the lack of editing was so atrocious that I literally wanted to throw my ereader across the room. The story could have been amazing but it was, as far as I could tell, a first draft. The word “draft” came about when some brilliant soul discovered how much better a story could get the more you wrote it. As in at least three times.
The next was not quite as bad as the first though I did end up putting it down for a different book. I may still pick it back up.
The most recent, I am nearly through. I have about seven percent left. The only reason I made it through, however, was the story and the fact that even though it was clearly an early draft, I cared about the characters and wanted to know how they got through the obstacles clearly laid before them. The issue was more the author giving us the same information too many times than anything else. If I were in her writing group I also would have made a few suggestions about progression. If we saw an event through one characters eyes and another was present, we know they saw it. Also if one character is going to hazard a guess as to how that other one felt about a given situation, you don’t need to say it the exact same way from said characters POV two paragraphs later…
Reading these books I literally want to contact the author and say “Hey, I will help you edit your book, please let me!” Because these are good, even great, stories and ideas but they are not yet developed enough. I wish I could remember where I read it, probably a Writer’s Digest article, but they said when you have finished your novel edit, edit and re edit. They were so right!
So if you have a novel and are querying agents who are telling you it needs work. Sit down, re-read and change it, and for the love of literature PLEASE print it out and have someone who you trust to be brutally honest attack it with a red pen.
My manuscript is currently bleeding out because of my writing buddy and that was only the first chapter. Sometimes you are too close to it to see the problems. Make sure they tell you what works well, in addition to what does not, so you don’t feel like giving up as soon you get it back.
In the end, your manuscript will be better for it and you will be even more proud of the end result.