what aren't they buying...

Subject: what aren't they buying...
From: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2005 09:33:28 -0400

On 6/13/05, HBacheler -at- aol -dot- com <HBacheler -at- aol -dot- com> wrote:
> With the experience that I see among the members of the list, a lot of
> companies only want to pay for 1/4 of what we (editorially) can do. What aren't
> they buying?

They're buying whatever we're selling. Some sell whatever they can for
whatever they can get, and others are very strict about what they sell
and have their prices set in stone.

So what is it that we can do, where we can earn 4x what we get?

Well, here's my $0.02...

There is nothing mystical or special about technical writing from a
business perspective. Same with development, marketing, sales, etc.
They are all functions that help the company make money. Development
is seen as more of a priority because without product, there's nothing
to document. Documentation is not always a necessary evil but when
budgets are tight, lighter docs are favored over longer time to market
or greater overhead in producing a product.

That's business. That will not change.

But I like your question... what aren't they buying?

I think it's more appropriate to ask "what do you not realize you're selling?"

Tech writing is a very interesting profession, as it's more a "diamond
in the rough" profession than others. Yes, we write. That's what pays
the bills. But what goes into writing? Well, a lot of stuff. We need
to be able to research, interview, analyze, consider audience,
consider purpose, negotiate, plan and manage, and do many other

These skills are extremely transferable. That's not to say "go find
another job" but think about what areas your company is struggling in.
Can you help? Can you make something better? And if you can and do,
well, what does that say about your visibility and influence in the

Job titles come with one price tag. How you function within the
company comes with another.

For me, work isn't about writing and then going home. My employer
invests in me and I in turn invest in my employer. It's in my best
interest to contribute toward its success. I don't think (actually, I
know I wouldn't) be happy in a "9 to 5" writing job. I'd go insane
from sheer boredom.

Does this sound like you?


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Re: Where did you get your feet wet: From: HBacheler

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