Cover image for The Insider's Guide to Technical Writing

Book description

An introduction and reference for technical writers and aspiring technical writers.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Contents
  5. Foreword
  6. About this Book
  7. Part 1. Is This the Job for Me?
    1. Chapter 1. Calling All Tech Writers
      1. Making a Living
      2. Making a Difference
    2. Chapter 2. What Does a Technical Writer Do, Anyway?
      1. More Than Writing
      2. Filling Some Big Shoes
      3. A Day in the Life
      4. The Technical Writer Is the First End User
    3. Chapter 3. Having the Write Stuff
      1. But Can You Write?
      2. Juggling Flaming Sticks
      3. Getting Along
      4. Being Dependable
    4. Chapter 4. Breaking Into the Field
      1. All Roads Can Lead to Tech Writing
      2. Degree or Not Degree? That Is the Question
      3. What the Employer Wants Is What You Want
      4. But First, Are You Experienced?
      5. Making the Most of What You Have: For the Career Changer
      6. Why Is It So Hard to Get an Interview?
      7. Network, Network, Network
      8. Winning Interview Tips
  8. Part 2. Building the Foundation
    1. Chapter 5. How to Write Good (Documentation)
      1. Correctness Is Key
      2. Completeness Counts: Make Sure Nothing's Missing
      3. Having a Handle on Usability
      4. Clarity Is in Good Writing
      5. Consistency--Is It Really the Hobgoblin of Little Minds?
    2. Chapter 6. Best Practices Make Perfect
      1. Best Practices all Point to Clear Writing
      2. The Best of the Best Practices
      3. Easy as 1, 2, 3: Writing Procedures
      4. Show Some Respect
    3. Chapter 7. It's All About Audience
      1. Who Will Read the Documentation?
      2. Different Users Have Different Needs
      3. One Document, Many Users
      4. So That's the Way They Do It...
      5. Section 508 Compliance
    4. Chapter 8. The Deliverables
      1. Building the Documentation Family
      2. Combining It All: Single-Sourcing and Content Reuse
      3. Determining the Content Approach
      4. Delivering the Deliverables
  9. Part 3. The Best Laid Plans
    1. Chapter 9. Process and Planning
      1. Step by Step to Final Documentation
      2. Understand the Development Process
      3. The Documentation Plan
    2. Chapter 10. Become Your Own Subject Matter Expert
      1. The Importance of Product Knowledge
      2. Put the "Technical" in Technical Writing
      3. It Takes Time
    3. Chapter 11. You Want It When?
      1. Fast, Good, or Cheap: Pick Two
      2. Good Enough Has to Be Good Enough
      3. Battling Your Inner Perfectionist
      4. Get Your Speed On
      5. Working with Contractors
      6. Making and Following a Schedule
    4. Chapter 12. You Want it How?
      1. Today's Tech Writer Carries a Big Toolbox
      2. Location, Location, Location
      3. The Right Tool for the Right Job
      4. XML
      5. Go Green--Reuse Your Content
      6. Books and Other Narrative Material
      7. Graphics Illustrate Your Point
      8. Writing for the Web
      9. Developing Help
      10. Multimedia
      11. Going Above and Beyond the Basics
  10. Part 4. On the Job
    1. Chapter 13. Getting Started
      1. New Kid on the Block
      2. Ask About the Style Guide
      3. The Care and Feeding of Your First Project
      4. Making Your Deadlines
      5. Finishing the First Assignment
      6. Ask for Help
    2. Chapter 14. Gathering Information
      1. Scavenger Hunt
      2. Read, Read, Read
      3. Listen, Listen, Listen
      4. Keeping Up
    3. Chapter 15. Putting It All Together
      1. Following the Rules
      2. Jump Right In, The Water's Fine
      3. In the Beginning: Creating an Outline
      4. Help Is Not Linear But Sequence Matters Nonetheless
      5. Drilling Down
      6. Fleshing Out the Outline
      7. Drafting Your Draft
      8. How Fast Is On Time?
      9. Polishing the Rough Edges
      10. Battling Writer's Block
    4. Chapter 16. Everybody's a Critic--Reviews and Reviewers
      1. Reality Check
      2. It's Not Personal
      3. Choosing Reviewers
      4. Educate the Reviewers
      5. Sending the Draft Out for Review
      6. Gathering Review Feedback
      7. Consolidating Reviewer Feedback
      8. Once More, with Feeling
      9. Change Management
      10. Thank Reviewers for their Contributions
    5. Chapter 17. Wrapping it Up
      1. Testing, Testing...
      2. Rewriting and Editing
      3. A Final Delivery Checklist
      4. Freezing the Documentation
      5. Hold that Freeze!
      6. Sign Off
      7. Send Off
  11. Part 5. The Tech Writer Toolkit
    1. Chapter 18. The Always-in-Style Guide
      1. What Makes a Style Guide Such a Hot Property?
      2. Style Equals Speed
      3. Guideline or Requirement?
      4. The Classics Are Always in Style
      5. Creating a Style Guide
      6. Procedure Guides
    2. Chapter 19. Front and Back Matter: Or Do They?
      1. Let's Be Upfront
      2. About Back Matter
    3. Chapter 20. Design and Layout
      1. Whose Job Is It, Anyway?
      2. Enhancing Usability with Visual Elements
      3. Creating a Template
      4. Designing the Page
      5. Color Me Interesting
      6. The Final Layout
    4. Chapter 21. Gaining a Global Perspective: Localization and Translation
      1. Finding a Good Translation Company
      2. Translation Versus Localization: What's the Difference?
      3. Developing a Global Awareness
      4. The Translation Glossary
      5. Writing for Translation
      6. Managing the Schedule
      7. The More Ways You Have to Say Thank You, The Better
  12. Part 6. I Love My Job, I Love My Job, I Love My Job...
    1. Chapter 22. Working Outside the Box
      1. Working From Home
      2. WFH: The Other Side
      3. Consultant or Captive?
    2. Chapter 23. I Didn't Think It Would Be Like This!
      1. The "Dark" Side of Technical Writing
      2. Taking Control
    3. Chapter 24. Managing Your Career
      1. Moving Up
      2. Keeping Score
      3. Moving Around
      4. Moving Out
      5. Keep Your Knowledge Current
      6. Moving into Another Field
      7. Networking Doesn't Stop Just Because You're Employed
      8. The Future Belongs to You
  13. Appendixes
    1. Appendix A. Tech Talk: The Tech Writer's Glossary
    2. Appendix B. For Your Bookshelf
      1. Style Guides
      2. Writing Resources
      3. Tools and Technology
      4. Content Design and Planning
      5. People and Project Management
      6. And More
    3. Appendix C. Websites
      1. Writing Resources
      2. Structured Content
      3. Sites to Help Build Your Portfolio
      4. Networking and Job-Hunting
      5. Organizations and Conferences
      6. Technical Dictionaries
      7. The Lighter Side of Technical Writing
      8. Miscellaneous
  14. Index