What is a Technical Writer?
Depressingly (for me), I get asked this a lot. We write any supporting material that's needed for a product or service. This can be internal content for company use only, like functional specifications and technical design guides. Or it can be external support for customers or clients, such as user guides, FAQs and online help. We're also known as Technical Authors, Information Designers, Content Writers, Documentation Consultants and a variety of other interesting names. As a profession, we have a bit of a thesaurus mentality when it comes to titles. Personally, I prefer Queen of Documentation and Ruler of All She Writes.
How much do you cost?
Well, it all depends on what you want and how much of it you want. My basic day rate is £320 and my hourly rate is £40. But I'm more than happy to estimate based on the deliverable required and work to a fixed budget. The money's important for paying the mortgage but I also enjoy a challenge or new subject, so get in touch and I'm sure we can find a way.
How do you work?
Ideally, I need access to the product or service you'd like documented and a Subject Matter Expert (SME). I'll also check whether you have a style guide or corporate guidelines that I should follow. I draft the content using either Microsoft Word or your preferred format, depending on whether you have a particular preference. Should I have detailed queries, I'll set up a call with you or send across my queries. Once the draft is ready, I'll send it across to you for review. Then I'll complete a second draft for sign-off and finalisation. It's as simple as that!
Where do you work?
Wherever you want! However, I usually suggest I remain off-site, especially for short projects. Apart from the initial information gathering phase, there's often little benefit to you seeing me sit in the corner of your office, muttering to myself as I write. It saves you providing me with space or equipment and allows me to maximise the time spent on your work, meaning you're more likely to get your content quickly. I'm comfortable using Skype, GoToMeeting, WebEx and Live Meeting, so there can be as much or as little communication as you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm often asked these questions, so they should give the answers you need. If not, let me know.