Author Topic: Second piece of advice for non-fiction writers: check your facts  (Read 1930 times)

Offline Amie

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Okay, maybe most of the people on this forum write fiction, so this advice may not be of interest - but I read a lot of non-fiction, and since I've got kindle unlimited, I've started reading a lot of self-published non-fiction, so I am becoming acutely aware of the pitfalls in this market.

Table of contents I think is the biggie, but coming close on its heels is: check your facts. Even if you think it is just a cute throw-away line that isn't critical to the overall message (which then begs the question of why it's there, but let's not go there for the time being) - it still matters.

Very often I am seeing quotes attributed to the wrong people, definitions that are incorrect, references to scientific studies that mis-represent what the actual study was intended to show, etc. Today (prompting this post) I read someone refer to knowledge that is passed on from generation to generation via an oral or written tradition and accepted as fact without evidence - and the author said, "Carl Jung referred to this as the Collective Unconscious". Well no, that is not what Jung was referring to at all when he coined the term "Collective Unconscious", and the most rudimentary research would make that obvious.

Sheesh people, if you can take the time to write a non-fiction book, you can take the extra 10% and check your facts and quotes.

Mini-rant over :)
"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Kafka

Artemis Quark

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Re: Second piece of advice for non-fiction writers: check your facts
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2016, 07:34:07 AM »
I support your rant and raise it higher by pointing out that news 'journalists' in today's Internet-connected world seem to have the same affliction as your non-fiction writers. Too lazy to check or maybe it's just a convenient way to slant the news to agree with their personal views?

Come on, I dare ya to add to this. Rant, rant, rant.  ;D

Offline Amie

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Re: Second piece of advice for non-fiction writers: check your facts
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2016, 08:37:56 AM »
;D

Well, since you insist ;D

Have none of these people heard of the concept of proofreading? I realise that many may not be able to afford a professional editor/proofreader (although, if you attach any value to your reputation you might want to re-think what you can afford) but surely some of them must have a literate friend or relative, who could read for them and point out all the misspellings, typos, formatting errors, grammatical errors and such like?
"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Kafka

Artemis Quark

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Re: Second piece of advice for non-fiction writers: check your facts
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2016, 10:53:44 AM »
Yeah, what you said. And another thing,... what about those texting habits that spill over to story writing. I refer to missing punctuation, phonetically spelled words, etc. that might be sufficient to convey a thought but show a lack of respect for the reader, IMO. So there. Rebuttals anyone?

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Second piece of advice for non-fiction writers: check your facts
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2016, 10:58:38 AM »
Agreement rather than rebuttal here.

We all have our blind spots, but once we are aware of them we can add them to a pre-publication check-list, can we not?

My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Artemis Quark

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Re: Second piece of advice for non-fiction writers: check your facts
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2016, 11:02:52 AM »
Amen, brother. There are many editing tools to help us, too. From spellchecking to excessive use of adverbs and adjectives with sites like http://Hemingwayapp.com, thereby giving no excuse for 99% of the errors, even if we self-edit.