Independent Authors SIG, winter 2007
One member asked for advice about agencies and working from home.
Many of the agencies that specialise in technical communicators have a proportion of their contractors working from home, noted Steve Rickaby (www.wordmongers.com). He thinks that one's ability is more important than one's work location, but not all clients see it that way. However, he knows clients who were glad that a technical author was able to work off site. Mainstream contracting agencies generally have a low level of knowledge about technical communicators, their needs, and their abilities. He suggests Contractor UK (www.contractoruk.com) as a useful resource, and JobServe (www.jobserve.com) for job listings.
Peter Finch (www.opensecret.co.uk) suggested that one option is to work directly with clients, rather than through an agency. He markets himself though his local Chamber of Commerce, direct mail and networking organizations. In all cases, he negotiates contract terms directly with his clients who pay on an invoice basis. He points out that this route is not easy.
During the previous quarter, many of the postings to IASIG were job vacancies. That's all well and good, but it left me with a problem: what to write about. A little lateral thinking resulted in an analysis of trends in IASIG postings, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Cumulative monthly postings to IASIG
Yahoo sequences the raw data in complete years. The data was rearranged to start from August and span years because:
- IASIG started part way through July 1999 and the postings in that month are, therefore, not representative.
- A full year's data for 1999 and for 2007 does not exist. By spanning the years, the chart compares like with like (every column contains data from the same years).
Over the years, for most months, the number of postings in any one month fluctuates greatly. However, one obvious trend is that over the years, December has the fewest postings, and January has the most. On reflection, that makes a lot of sense: Christmas followed by a bout of New Year activity (to help pay the bills, maybe).
Quality Authors (QA) is a subset of IASIG. It is a co-operative marketing venture for freelancers, with a website at www.qualityauthors.co.uk. A new Yahoo sub-group of IASIG has been set up for QA members only. This will enable QA members to discuss QA business, to vote on QA issues and to share surplus work. If you are a freelancer and a member of the ISTC, contact Alison Peck (www.clearly-stated.co.uk) at firstname.lastname@example.org if you:
- Do not have a QA website listing and would like one
- Have a QA website listing but did not receive an invitation to the new group.