I recently read a note online from a friend who was given a book by an author who wanted her to give her some pre-publishing feedback. She noted that she was enjoying the read, but immediately found herself taken away from the story because despite the fact that the book was set in her backyard of central Florida, the author obviously had never been there or even taken a look at a map.
Most readers might not have thought twice about this slight to central Florida geography, but for a local it can prove to be an affront to their sensibility. A little bit of research goes a long way. Alienating just one reader because you are unwilling to take the time to do little research, or perceive yourself above it, is just unacceptable from a professional or even aspiring writer.
It behooves a writer to know their subject matter inside and out if they want to be taken seriously. When I write I either have intimate knowledge of the subject matter already or will go out of my way to learn more than I’d ever need to know about a subject before ever putting pen to paper. I even find myself double checking myself on things I’m sure I know about it.
It comes down to doing a job properly. If you’re a writer, do us all a favor and take the time to get it right. You’ll be better for it. Your work will be better for it. And your readers will appreciate it.