Re: Okay all you independent contractors: hit the bricks with THIS

Subject: Re: Okay all you independent contractors: hit the bricks with THIS
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2003 09:13:39 -0700 (PDT)

"Dick Margulis " wrote ...

> So why haven't tech writers penetrated the consulting
> world and proven their value?

When a company pays for a consultant or consulting reports, they are paying for
expertise and insight. And insight does not always come delivered in a
beautifully packaged, well-written, fully-singled sourced documentation.

I think the most obvious answer to your question is "because customers are not
demanding it." Technical writers, like yourself, are probably not the intended
audience. The intended audience is managers, executives, and such. And they
don't always care about documentation quality.

While it is certainly a big plus for consultancy spend some energy delivering
good documentation, it is not always a motivating factor. Furthermore, since
consultants must be experts in their relevant field, its probably difficult to
locate writers who possess the necessary expertise to edit their material

There is also the economic factors. Most people of the non-tech writer
persuasion expect experts to be difficult to understand. Simplicity implies
commoditization, and commoditization implies mass production and lower per unit
cost. If something is very simple, executives assume its not worth as much,
since it was mass produced. Thus, a book that is easy to read might make the
ideas within it seem less valuable. By making the book a more unreachable, it
makes the information seem more *mysterious* and special.

When information becomes commoditized, consultants can't charge $425 for the
information. That might seem dreadfully unfair. But if you're mortgage payments
depended on making $425 per copy, it suddenly makes a lot more sense.

Editors and tech writers ultimately commoditize information. As such, there is
a perception, in some circles, of reduction in value when information is
commoditized. Hence, in such industries tech writers may be seen as detrimental
to business.

Andrew Plato

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