What Makes an Expert?

Help A Reporter Out, affectionately known as HARO, was founded in 2008 by serial entrepreneur Peter Shankman and is one of the fastest-growing social media services in North America. The premise of HARO is this: Everyone’s an expert at something.

I totally agree. For a long while, “experts” had been relegated to a proprietary group, a certain to-go clique, and many times reporters felt compelled to use only “them” and often joined paid networks in order to have access to “them.” I’m glad HARO has opened things up and leveled the playing field. Of course, not everyone is an expert, even if they think they are, but at least now journalists can make that determination on their own when individuals of various experience levels contact them as story sources.

Personally, I’ve never considered myself a real “expert” at things — even if I am. (Apparently, one of my marketing flaws.) But now that I’ve made the move to novel-writing, I find my “expertise” or experience in virtually any field helps me. Many times, I call upon knowledge I acquired throughout my journalism career — home furnishings, design, parenting, business — to make Baby Grand feel authentic. I find that I often know enough about many topics to create believable scenarios. And for those fields where I fall short, I simply conduct research — something I’ve always done as a journalist — to get me to the level where I need to be.

Being able to call upon and research real knowledge to create a fictional world. With nobody to answer to but me. Less stress. More fun.  I definitely like it here.

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