Contractor needed/Editing prices

Subject: Contractor needed/Editing prices
From: "Martin R. Smith" <martins -at- NEWAGE -dot- OTSUKA -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 15:32:03 -0600

Hi. Is there anyone on this list who works as a private contractor in the
Denver/Boulder/Greeley/Fort Collins area? I am the one technical writer for
a Fort Collins manufacturer of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)
spectrometers. We have a major product release every January and I am
always overwhelmed with work during the fourth quarter.

Specifically, I am looking for someone to lightly edit and index five
manuals. These include two software reference manuals, an on-line software
reference, and two manuals that describe how to write code in
custom-designed pulse programming and macro languages.

Expertise in NMR and C-language programming is not required. However, the
two language manuals do contain sentences that describe C-like statements.
The editor/indexer needs to be comfortable with sentences like this one:
When the pulse program reaches the .start/.end block, real-time execution
of the pulse sequence begins. The periods before the words start and end
are a critical part of the syntax and can not be deleted.

Along these same lines, could anyone tell me how much I should expect to
pay for this service. Last December--when I was already knee-deep in
alligators--I obtained a bid from a Denver-based technical writing company.
They wanted $1,200 just to perform a light edit on one manual (roughly 250
pages). This price did not include the indexing. In an environment where
books are updated twice a year, this price was too high--perhaps by as much
as a factor of 10. Management did not find the value-added improvement of
catching a few typing errors to be worth the $1,200 expense, given the
book's six month shelf life. The book had already been read by the
scientific staff who evaluated the book for technical accuracy. (They found
a few typing/spelling errors as well.) My question is this. Was the price
of the bid competitive? If I need to pay someone $1,200 to read a book, how
much do I need to pay someone to compile an index?

I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.

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