RE: RARA-AVIS: Fact checkers

From: Anthony Dauer (
Date: 21 Apr 2002

According to Susie Bright in her book, "How to Write a Dirty Story," yes
(her book is far more of a writer's autobiography than a erotica how-to). Since she's been publishing since the late 60s/early 70s she reports a steady decline in the skills of the editors in the traditional houses that she has worked with. As publishing was taken over by the media giants they big business practices and profit-focus took over as well. Personnel always being the most expensive component of any business (especially trained, skilled, and experienced personnel) they tended to get rid of the high salary, skilled workers and replaced them with lesser skilled, junior personnel who weren't even likely to have more of an English education than the core requirement. I've noticed a definite rise in errors within the books I've read that have been published since the 70s/80s and I'm not even anal about that stuff. I'm literate enough to fix the errors as I read so in the end my enjoyment of a book remains seated in whether it's a good story or not. Not whether or not it was a quality manufacture. Where I'm seeing less and less errors are in self-published books. While there are still a lot of vanity writers (writers who believe their skilled and no one can tell them otherwise and have an excuse for ever error they make), there is a growing number of people who love reading and telling stories who go the extra mile to have someone skilled proofread their work before they email it off to their POD or e-Book publisher of choice. About the only place you're likely to find an anal grammarian to copy edit with skill your work is at a small press and as Susie Bright points out, it's also going to be the only place where the publisher is going to be 100% behind you since they only choose those works that they believe in.

When it comes to fact-checking, George P. Pelecanos said it best in response to an audience question this past February (paraphrased from memory): "That's why I write fiction and not non-fiction." At least that's what I took away from what he said. Not that that is a declaration of war on facts. As Warren Murphy warned recently, don't let research become an excuse not to write.

Anthony Dauer, MSM IS
Alexandria, Virginia

2nd Annual Country Noir Issue ...
... submit by 4 May 2002
-----Original Message----- From: Colin Sent: Sunday, April 21, 2002 6:14 AM
Is copy editing a dying art? Not working in the trade I wouldn't know, but as you (more knowledgeable) people say that it is I see no reason to doubt it.

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