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Top 5 Books for Technical Writers

Posted by
Anastasia in Education on 6/17/20204 min read

man sitting on a bench with kindle banner

Do you enjoy reading as much as I do? The best part about books is that you can find one for any cause. Our today’s cause is technical writing. And, there are a lot of great books directly about tech writing, or there are the ones that can provide you with knowledge in other spheres that helps a lot too, starting with things like grammar and punctuation and reaching as far as marketing and time management.

I know a lot of people who not only benefit from the information they get from books but just find the whole book-hunting process fun. Today I am going to provide you with several book titles. You might have heard about some of them already, but these gems simply can’t be omitted in any list like this for the sake of those who weren't so lucky as to stumble upon them yet.

Technical Communication 12th Edition by Mike Markel

This book is not only about creating user manuals, it is preparing readers for any writing situation they can find themselves in. The book is quite popular among students studying technical communication. ‘Technical Communication’ teaches readers to write professionally in any format be that an email, a microblog, a CV, or a memo. And, the author provides relevant samples to support the material. This is a very practice-oriented book. This is also a good reminder of how broad the term ‘techcomm’ really is.

The Insider's Guide to Technical Writing by Krista Van Laan

This book will give you insights into the profession you can only get from a peer. This is priceless, really. This is actually a re-write of an older book - ‘The Complete Idiot's Guide to Technical Writing’. But ‘the insider’s guide’ was significantly extended and so it is now far from being ‘the idiot’s guide’ :)

The book is still more fitted for those who are only starting their career in the field. The author will guide you through the journey of becoming a good tech writer. It all starts with the main question - is this job for me? If you answer positively, Krista Van Laan will help you along the way - the book talks about how to be a tech writer in an agile environment, how to plan things, how to be productive, how to handle failures. Basically, it is like talking with a more experienced colleague who is ready to support you and explain stuff in a fun and easy manner.

Technical Writing Process: The simple, five-step guide that anyone can use to create technical documents such as user guides, manuals, and procedures by Kieran Morgan

Another book for beginners? Not exactly. This book is a perfect choice for people who need to understand how to create great user manuals, how project management is supposed to work in tech writing, and how to set up efficient documentation processes. While Krista’s book is more laid back and inspiring, Kieran Morgan’s guide is more... technical? I guess you can say that.

This is a great book for aspiring tech writers, students and, even more so for those who were put to the task of creating user manuals. Some companies are still using devs or whomever to write help articles, and this is quite unfortunate, of course, but, this book can help learn so much about the backbone of technical writing and help establish an efficient workflow.

in a library

The Handbook of Technical Writing with 2020 APA Update 12th Edition by Gerald J. Alred, Walter E. Oliu and Charles T. Brusaw

This is a very fresh take on a classic book for technical writers. A dream team of techcomm professionals incorporated decades of hands-on experience in technical writing on the pages of this book. This is undoubtedly something bigger and deeper. The book promises 90+ sample documents, extensive grammar and style coverage, handy checklists - and it delivers!

It has been updated with chapters on job search, social media, and understanding your target audience which are pressing matters in modern help authoring for sure. Each edition of this book brings more useful information to the table. Even if you read an older version, there’s always something to look forward to with this one.

Managing Writers: A Real World Guide to Managing Technical Documentation 1st Edition by Richard L. Hamilton

This book came out in 2008 and it still has it. This is a practical guide explaining how to manage a documentation team. Hamilton touches upon many things when it comes to managing people - you will find chapters on hiring, evaluating, and motivating your employees.

The next thing you will learn is how to manage projects. A complex topic that the author again turns into something very straightforward and practical. A lot of vital matters are described here - how to communicate with the devs, how to juggle multiple projects, and even create effective working schedules. If we for a moment forget about the techcomm specifics of this book, I’d say any manager can have valuable takeaways.

woman in white on windowsill

Conclusion

At ClickHelp, we are no strangers to writing ourselves, so, to go with these great books we can offer you our own guides - check out free technical writing ebooks. Understandably, investing time and money in a book is not always something one is ready to do, so the ebooks can work pretty well in this situation. But, a real book lover will always make time for this occasion! What does your techcomm library consist of? Share your favorite books with us!

Good luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices

 

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