Tag Archives: research

Says the Editor: Authenticity


You guys know I love Rock Fiction.

But lately… I have found myself disillusioned. Disgusted. Annoyed. Frustrated.

Because the authors aren’t bothering to do their research. There’s a HUGE difference between a band manager and a tour manager. Massive headlining tours don’t come together in days or weeks. And for crying out loud, know the difference between poetry and the structure of song lyrics. My favorite was the band who slept in their dressing rooms in the arena — umm… WHAT?

There really isn’t any excuse for this lack of research. And sorry, but, “I copied what someone else did,” or “I asked someone on Facebook” isn’t doing research. You need to talk to people who’ve worked in the industry, people with hands-on experience, people who’ve been there and seen it. Make sure what you want to have happen is plausible. If your star is the darling of the moment, can he REALLY take off to the beach and have a bonfire? Won’t there be security issues? No one notices and posts it to social media? He’s not too tired from all the touring, which is hard, exhausting work? If his alcohol problem is really truly that bad, can he spend that time without a bottle or can at hand?

Notice how my issues of authenticity begin to sway away from only the details of the music world.

That’s because, having found a string of errors, the author has broken the contract between us. I can’t trust what the author is presenting.

And therein lies a bigger problem, doesn’t it?

If you, as the author, can’t be authentic and therefore credible in your writing, why should I, as the reader, spend time with your book?

Think about it. A few small details is one thing. But the bigger issues… that’s undermining yourself. Your career. And, unfortunately, it hurts the entire genre or category, too.

If you love something, don’t hurt it. Build it up. Take the time. Do the research yourself. Check the facts. Build your authenticity. Get firsthand knowledge, even if firsthand knowledge means watching YouTube videos that established bands post of their tour busses or finding articles that describe busses that strain believability before you network your way to the people who can confirm and/or deny what you’re seeing.

Put the time in. Because if you don’t, why should I, as a reader, put the time into your book?

Increasingly, that’s the question I’ve been asking myself.


#SaysTheEditor The Lengths to Which I’ll Go


So I’ve got a client, right? And she’s got a new book in the works. You with me so far?

We’ll call her Stevie ’cause I’m on a Fleetwood Mac kick (as Lacuna Coil blares from my speakers). And Stevie’s written a good twenty or thirty books, most before we teamed up. She insists she’s a better writer since she found me, and I have certainly seen her grow in the 10 or so books we’ve worked on together.

Like ambitious writers everywhere, Stevie doesn’t want to rest on her laurels. She wanted to push herself, stretch, see how far she can grow as a writer. So she wrote something new. Something that for her, is a definite stretch.

Still with me? See where this is going? It did require more from her than either of us were prepared for. And so even though I finished the edit, we’re still talking, still brainstorming. How to make it better, more authentic. And can she do what she wants with her characters while still succeeding in the genre she’s chosen for the book? (That sounds wrong, but to say  much more will reveal too  much, so trust me when I say it’s not like she’s way off base. She’s not.)

This led me to do what all good editors do: I put a call out on Twitter to see if anyone had book recommendations for me. Yes, I’ll read and study how others have done it so that Stevie (and I, to a lesser degree) can get it right.

It’s a tricky thing I’m looking for. Romances where the loss of the first spouse is still new, still raw. How appropriate is it, Stevie wonders, for the female lead to fall in love with another man so soon after the loss of a husband she loved? Even if he’s a man she’s known forever and yes, there’s a romantic — albeit unresolved or explored — past between the two.

I picked up one of the books last night at my library, but I’m hardly done yet. If you’ve got what you think is a great example of a romance where a seriously grieving widow is able to move on and find love again, leave ’em in my comments. I’ll read as many of them as I can while Stevie and I work. And then, who knows? Maybe I’ll keep reading. I love to read, after all…

Oh, the things I do for my clients… and the worst part of it all is that it’s delightful fun, every step of the way.