Re: Re[2]: Who's the author?

Subject: Re: Re[2]: Who's the author?
From: Herman Holtz <holtz -at- CLARK -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 17:07:42 -0500

On Tue, 14 Feb 1995, RoseCrowe wrote:

> On Mon, 13 Feb 1995, Shelly M. LaRock wrote:

> [snip about short interviews and explaining what you know
> about a manual or product to prove you worked on it...]

> I tend to be against having author names or credits in manuals.
> I'll tell you why -- to me a good manual is a team effort. As
> a writer, I lead that effort, drawing together the work of the
> developers, quality assurance folks, management, and sometimes

Let us suppose that you write a book for commercial publication on the
development of modern automation. You undertake many months of research,
interview many people, and finally assemble a fine book. Does your name
belong on the spine as the author? It most certainly does. Should you
seek out every individual to whom you are indebted for bits of
information gathered in hundreds of hours of research for co-author
credit--i.e., are they co-authors? Certainly not.

In my opinion, yes, you are entitled to a byline as the author. You can
and perhaps ought to acknowledge and thank all those other people on an
acknowledgments page, but you are still the author. I know that technical
writing has usually been anonymous--I wrote enough manuals myself about
rockets, missiles, simulators, and dozens of other kinds of Buck Rogers
equipment--but that does not mean that it ought to be that way. It ought
not to be. No matter how big your team of experts is, you are probably the
only one who could have assembled all that information into a coherent
mass, analyzed and organized it, and translated it into something
resembling everyday English. You are entitled to consider yourself the
author, whether you are accorded the recognition or not.

* * *
Herman Holtz [holtz -at- clark -dot- net]: Marketing Consultant/Proposal Specialist,
Writing & Ghost Writing Services, 35 years experience. Author of 60+
professional/business books, including best-selling How to Succeed as an
Independent Consultant (Wiley). PO Box 1731, Wheaton, MD 20915. Tel:
301-649-2499. Fax: 301-649-5745.

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