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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Credibility Counts

We’re all experts in something. My husband might say I’m an expert in shoe shopping. I’d say I’m more an expert in the fine art of amassing a collection of colorful shoes obtained at a bargain price for maximum enjoyment! I have a lot of shoes (is 150+ pairs really a lot?), I shop at many shoe stores, but does that really make me an expert? That’s up for debate.

When you are writing a book, your credibility on the topic you’re writing about counts because it will come into question. You could become the subject of scrutiny by many, including literary agents, publishers, potential readers, other authors, or journalists. But if you’ve written about a topic that is truly in your area of expertise, then there is no need to worry, right? Well, that does not mean you shouldn’t still be prepared. Here’s how you can prepare yourself for the inevitable scrutiny that comes with being an expert:
  • Get your facts straight: Go through your resume or bio and be certain that everything is accurate, up to date, and most importantly, truthful. Polishing your resume and bio is one thing, but adding things that are not true is another. Avoid falsehoods at all costs.
  • Be prepared for the tough questions: You might be asked by the media, an agent, or someone else, “What makes you an expert?” or “What makes you qualified to tell others what they should do?” Do you have an effective answer ready for this question?
  • They may research you: Fact-checking does happen. Past employers, colleagues, friends, and others who have a past or current connection to you could be contacted about you at any point. That doesn’t mean you need to worry about every traffic ticket you’ve received coming to light, but if you have dirty laundry, it could be aired.
  • Consider the legal ramifications: It’s cliché, but remember, “Anything you say can and will be used against you.” The same is true for what you write in your book. If you give advice that you’re not qualified to give, and maybe that you cannot defend later, you may risk being sued, or held liable for that advice if someone believes it has caused them harm or damage in some way.
The editing process is a great time to fine-tune your manuscript and remove material that may put you at risk. Keep these suggestions in mind when you work with your copy editor. Ultimately, you want to produce a book that you are proud of, that will enhance your credibility, and that is the best reflection of you both personally and professionally.

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Angela DeCaires is the Marketing & Communications Manager for BookLogix Publishing Services. She oversees Corporate Communications for BookLogix, and also assists BookLogix’s authors in the publishing process. Angela’s background includes experience in public relations, writing, broadcasting and journalism, having held positions in public relations and working for a number of years as a news writer/TV news producer.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/booklogix

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Angela! You always have such good advice!

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