Agencies and Documentation Services

Subject: Agencies and Documentation Services
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1998 12:06:23 -0700

As many of you know, I'm looking for a new contract
gig. (I've picked up a couple of short term contracts,
but as yet nothing that's seen as long term.) In the
course of trolling and for job leads
and contacting an astounding number of agencies, I've had
a few thoughts about the whole business. However, rather
than leading with my opinions, I'd like to get yours.
Thus, here's a two-parter for discussion.

For tech writers who have any experience with
agencies (working through them, opting not to
work through them, or whatever):
What's your ideal agency like? Active or hands-off?
Tech communication specialists or generalists?
Anyone who places you quickly? Do you care if
you're an agency employee or a contractor to the
agency? Can you describe your ideal agency
(and if so, does it have a real name and address,
or is it mythical)?

For documentation managers or anyone else who
employs contract tech writers, either through an
agency or direct independents:
How do you like to find contractors? What kind of
agency suits you best? Do you prefer to hire contractors
directly? If so, why? Do you want a body shop
or turnkey services? Active or hands-off? If you
find that you're 1 FTE short of a project, do you
call an agency, post an ad directly, or what?
How do you decide what agency to go with for a
project? If you were to describe your ideal agency
from your perspective, what would it look like and
how would it act? Would it resemble any existing agencies
(if so, do you have addresses and contact info)?

Feel free to respond on or offline--I'll summarize offline
responses anonymously unless you specify otherwise.
I suspect this is of fairly wide interest, so please don't
hesitate to post responses to the list.


Eric J. Ray RayComm, Inc. ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com

*Award-winning author of several popular computer books
*Syndicated columnist: Rays on Computing
*Technology Department Editor, _Technical Communication_

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