Shoddy Publications

Subject: Shoddy Publications
From: Marilynne Smith <m -dot- smith182 -at- GENIE -dot- GEIS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 24 May 1995 03:54:00 UTC

Re: the groups who produce shoddy manuals because management refuses to pay
the tarif.

I wouldn't be quick to knock the writer for poor quality printing. In some
shops the writer has nothing to do with ordering the print work. Sometimes
it's done by the purchasing department. <shaking and hiding my eyes>
However, as writers we sometimes have to sell our work a little.

I consider documentation, whether online or paper, the key to opening the
product. The user installs the product, but with most products he or she
can do very little with it until they read the documentation. The better
the documentation, the faster the user learns the product and the more
satisfied the user is with the product. Sure the icons will get you
started, but if you want to get value from the product, you need some clues.
The documentation is where you'll find them.

Sometimes you need to give a non-writer a little sales pitch. Convince him
or her that a good product is a good buy for the company. The product I
complained about could have been produced nearly as cheaply and still
performed well for the user. So try it, salesmanship and good writing will
take you a long way.

m -dot- smith182 -at- genie -dot- geis -dot- com

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