Productivity techniques for writers (of all stripes)  Clip to Evernote

In February, Scott gave a talk about productivity techniques for bloggers to a Meetup group to which he belongs in Auckland. While the talk was aimed at bloggers, writers of all stripes can use these techniques to become more productive.

After a period of (more than) a bit of procrastination, Scott’s finally posted the slides and notes to his talk to Slideshare. Here are the slides for the talk:

And here are the notes:

Thoughts? As always, your comments are welcome.

Open Help Conference 2014 announced  Clip to Evernote

Open Help Conference 2014 Once again, Shaun McCance is running the Open Help Conference, an event that:

brings together leaders in open source documentation and support, as well as people from across the technical communications industry who are interested in community-based help.

This year’s edition of the conference takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 14 and 15. On top of that, the conference is hosting documentation sprints for open source projects from June 16 to June 18. If you’re interested in running a sprint at the conference, contact Shaun.

If you’re interested or involved in writing documentation for open source projects, the Open Help Conference is an event that you should seriously consider attending. I was there for the first edition of the conference in 2011, and I learned a lot. I’m sure you will, too.

Taking a look at APE (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur)  Clip to Evernote

Cover of APE

(Note: This post was originally published, in a slightly different form, here.)

I don’t have to tell you how much publishing has changed since the advent of the personal computer. In the last decade, that change has been massive. Now, it’s easier than ever to bypass traditional publishers and put your own books on the market.

It takes more than a good idea and a well-written book to translate into sales, though. You need to become an Author, Publisher, and Entrepreneur. And that’s the thrust of APE by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. If you’re a technical communicator (or other writer) who wants to jump into the world of self publishing, APE is a must-read book. No matter what your level of experience.

Let’s take a closer look at APE and what it holds for you.

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A review of Frictionless Freelancing  Clip to Evernote

Friction. We run into it in all aspects of our lives. Sometimes we cause it ourselves. But more often than not, that friction happens. It slows us down and causes problems.

If you’re a freelance technical writer (or a freelancer or any stripe), chances are you’ll know all about friction. In all sizes — from the uncomfortable chair that you use in your home office to a slow internet connection to clients who decide not to pay you on time (or at all).

Battling that friction is difficult. But it can be done. That’s the thrust of Frictionless Freelancing by Aaron Mahnke. In the book’s 175 pages, Mahnke offers some valuable lessons and even more valuable tips and techniques for combating friction in your freelance life.

Let’s take a quick look at the book.

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Moving our content to a Creative Commons license  Clip to Evernote

As the title of this post says …

Most of the posts in this space are now licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. That’s definitely a mouthful! But what does it mean? You can use the post that are under that license in any way you see fit — in their current form, as part of a remix or mashup, or as the basis of something else.

Let’s say that you do want to use one of our posts. Remember 1) to give us credit, and 2) refrain from using the content for commercial purposes. We’re a bit more flexible on the second point. If you do want to mention parts of a post in a book then feel free to do so. If you want to use one or more posts in their entirety in a book or similar work, please contact us to discuss commercial licensing.

The Creative Commons license doesn’t apply to all of the content in this space. The exceptions are our guest posts (the rights to which are held by the authors) and content that is cross-posted from one of the three blogs that Scott maintains. If you’re not sure about the license, look at the end of each post. The license that applies to it is in plain view.

Diving into EPUB  Clip to Evernote

(Note: This post is adapted from part of a presentation I gave at FSOSS 2011)

I don’t have to tell you how publishing, and preparing documents for publication, has changed in the few decades. Nowhere has this change been more pronounced than in the production of ebooks. Since the 1990s, ebook formats have bloomed like a thousand flowers. Many of them died on the vine, while others persisted or were overshadowed by newer formats.

One format that’s taken a dominant place among ebook formats is EPUB. You might be surprised, though, to learn that a number of people (including those in our profession, don’t really understand what EPUB is and how a file is structured.

I’ve been using EPUB for my ebooks and they generally outsell the PDF versions of those books by a margin of about 2 to 1. And I’ve found that a basic knowledge of the innards of an EPUB file can come in handy when troubleshooting problems with a book.

Let’s take a closer look at the EPUB format.

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