Monday, September 25, 2017

We Are Living In A Digital Age - Use it!

I spent the weekend working through a ton of submissions, and, as usual, I found myself rejecting a ton of authors who cannot read, or simply believe they can just ignore the rules. Of course, I do believe the real issue is that these authors, who seem to believe they have a grasp on technology, really have no clue how to use the tools in front of them.

As all of you who follow this blog know, I represent ONLY romance and women's fiction. That is it! The information is out there for my agency, like it is for every other editor and agent in the business. We take the time to keep up our websites. We take the time to post, every now and then on social media what we are looking for. And yet, authors do not seem to take the time to use the tools in front of them. Instead, they dive on website clearinghouses that claim to have the most information on editors and agents, click on an email and then madly start sending submissions to everyone on the list. They do not take the time to read or research!

Are you getting a feeling that this is a rant? Yep, it sure is. But I do want to take this beyond those people who probably have no business being in the publishing industry because they cannot do their research. I want to talk to those of you who do your research on the editors and agents.

The present world population has more access to information than any other generation before. You can take virtual tours of museums in foreign countries. You can access primary sources that had once only been available to people who were high ranking professors and major universities. Use these sources! Quit relying on asking quick questions on those social media groups you are part of and then running with that information. Quit tapping into Wikipedia and thinking this is the end-all-be-all of research. Look for real information! Look for research from people who know their stuff, and quit using the research from the people who claim to be experts.

So who are those people who "claim to be the experts?" I am going to target the historical authors on this one. These are the people at conferences who (yes, I know I a stereotyping but you will get the idea). These are those people who are "retired" but have spent the last "x number of years" really digging deep into this research. They are the people who will throw out dates and states left and right, and proclaim their expertise. Probably not a good source.

Here is another example. I think the world of the people who do the SCA re-enactments. The Society for Creative Anachronisms is a great group of people. But, far too many are people who simply have "learned their history" from other SCA people who claimed to have been experts. Not always the best source.

I don't care why type of writing you do, it is your responsibility as an author to present accurate information to your readers. Don't make things up. Don't just run to a "sourcebook" or Wikipedia for that crucial information. Use the tools in front of you. Trust me, it will make a world of difference.

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