Edited and produced 2 paperback books for sale

Technologies Used: MS Office 2013,  Sublime text editor, Gimp

Samples: (Coming soon)

Dates: 4/2013- 10/2013

References/Testimonials: Amy Valentine (author)

Although my primary interest is publishing ebooks,  I have played an instrumental part in publishing paperback copies of 2 books with Createspace.com

The first book was a 250+ page  technical book about open source software which was supported by a previous employer. I did all of the production work (except for cover design). I did all of the writing and most of the editing as well. I wrote one edition in 2010 (and described it thoroughly here).  Between 4/2013 and 9/2013 I did a thorough rewrite of the same book, adding several chapters and providing more reference material.  I used the same docbook xml to PDF production method I used for the first edition to produce a PDF suitable for printing by Createspace.

From 9/2013 to 10/2013, I did substantial editing of a personal memoir. I provided technical and marketing advice to the author. I also produced the book in two different book formats (Kindle and .epub)  and in a PDF version suitable for printing by Createspace. For the paperback edition, I customized a commercial MS Word template and ensured that everything met the Createspace specifications. For the ebook edition, I produced a Kindle format and tested it for usability on the most popular Kindle platforms. I also produced a general epub for Barnes and Noble and the iPad.

Documenting Windows infrastructure for an IT department

 

Technologies Used: Visio, SnagIt, Personal Brain mind-mapping software, Exchange 2003 & 2010, Remote Desktop, Google Postini, Active Directory, ActiveSync, Outlook Web Application (OWA), Sharepoint, Windows Server 2003

Dates: 9/2012 to 11/2012

Samples:  (Confidential, but I might be able to reveal short excerpts of these docs in person).

An IT company hired me to document email architecture for a major international media company.  This media company had three administrative groups for running Exchange in 3 different data centers. Two were running Exchange 2010, and  one was running Exchange 2003. But  all administrative groups shared Active Directory  Resource to allow all users and distribution lists. The media company used public folders, ActiveSync and OWA; the Exchange 2003 data center (which I documented most thoroughly) used clusters and Storage Groups on Storage Area Networks (SANs); it also ran servers for  message archiving, web proxying, faxing, Blackberry,  business continuity and antivirus. It also used Postini (a Google Enterprise app) for  email security.

The Exchange 2003 data center  was constantly experiencing  outages and needing to implement stopgap fixes. Also, the media company lacked any documentation of what the current system was like (because a key Administrator had recently left).  My job was to talk to  current Exchange administrators and outside Exchange experts to write a 12 page technical white paper recommending short and long term solutions to upper management. I also wrote a 25 page Technical Design Document which documented all major system components of the 2003 data center plus all the configuration settings for the Exchange bridgehead/frontend/servers, system policies, connectors and message formats.

An important part of my job was producing system architecture diagrams  to illustrate the ways that different components interacted with one another. These diagrams  could be used as quick references by management and support staff to understand the implications of any proposed action.

Running a small ebook publishing company as a side business

(If you are looking to hire someone for editorial or ebook production, check out the rate sheet of services I offer.)

Technologies Used: XML Oxygen Author, Docbook 5, MS Office, Docbook XSLT stylesheets, Gimp, Audacity,  Sony Vegas Pro 12

Samples: Author Website

Dates: 8/2010 to present

References/TestimonialsJack Matthews (author)  , Amy Valentine (author)

Since 2010 I have run a small ebook publishing company called Personville Press. So far, I have published 7 ebooks already, with current agreements to publish 4 more. I do this during my breaks between jobs and contracts, but I also work on these projects to a lesser degree when I am working full time.  This is   a “fledgling business” which I expect to grow over time.

On the business side, I:

  • Negotiated publishing terms  with the author and wrote everything up in a legally enforceable contract.
  • Set up a (rudimentary) accounting system for tracking royalties and transferring payments to the author.
  • Created marketing strategy and identified potential audience for the product.
  • Wrote press releases, product descriptions and announcements for online stores,  blogs and social media.
  • Hired talent as needed for illustrations, actors, studio engineers.
  • Evaluated ebook distribution channels for  reach and revenue potential.
  • Set up a customer relationship management system using market data I have personally collected.  (In progress)

On the technical side, I:

  • Created a Docbook XML-based toolchain for producing ebooks.
  • Researched ebook standards and implementations from the different devices and distribution channels.
  • Wrote  simple XSLT customizations to optimize the ebook file and a CSS template appropriate for the ebook and device.
  • Tested ebook templates for the major devices and ebook platforms.
  • Ran a promotional website for the author.
  • Set up a turnkey shopping cart solution for customers to buy digital files directly.

On the editorial side, I:

  • Selected and proposed material for the ebook.
  • Wrote prefaces and relevant supporting  material.
  • Queried author for clarifications  and offering editorial suggestions when appropriate.
  • Set up a workflow for editing and producing an ebook (Basically, MS Word –> Filtered HTML –> Docbook XML –> Epub files).
  • Proofed text thoroughly and submitted files and metadata to distribution channels.

On the multimedia side, I:

Writing manuals for clients

Tools used: Microsoft Office, Gimp Graphics

A recent employer (Enfold Systems) provided consulting services for web site management. My role was to produce end user manuals for individual clients to document advanced system administration tasks. These manuals were narrow in scope and needed to be completed within a defined period of time (usually less than a week).  Deliverables were usually 10+ pages and given to clients in PDF format.

Topics included:

  • configuring  a proxy and load-balancing solution on  Linux using open source software (Apache, Varnish, Plone).
  • setting up and maintaining a wiki, with usage & usability tips.
  • backup and disaster recovery in the event of hardware failure
  • other Windows system administration tasks: site migration, performance monitoring, user management.

Writing Online Help (Managing & Troubleshooting a Complex Project)

End User/Intended Audience: Electrical engineers, Digital Signal Processor (DSP) developers

Tools used: Winhelp, Microsoft Office, Robohelp, Clearcase, Winmerge, Clearquest

The original online documentation for the Code Composer Studio IDE tool was delivered in the form winhelp files (generated from Microsoft Word files & Robohelp). Winhelp as an online help platform had limitations. It was buggy, didn’t scale well, was dependent on MS Word and plagued by file corruption problems. In many ways, it was a legacy documentation method, but when I started, thousands of topics had already been written using that tool, and the existing software architecture did not allow for an easy migration to a new help system like HTML help. So I needed to manage the existing architecture and project and enforce standards across documents.

Because of the potential for file and project corruption, I had to implement changes slowly and carefully and only after testing. I used Robohelp to generate the winhelp files. I started with a master project and created 10 different winhelp + TOC files for 10 different software platforms. By using “single source layouts” and conditional topics, I was able to customize documentation for each platform while maintaining a uniformity of look and feel.

Even though our company paid for the top support plan, the complexity of TI’s help project made it impractical to rely on outside experts to solve our problems. An important part of my job was troubleshooting tricky problems and devising workarounds when needed. If a F1 help call from the program didn’t work (for instance), was it a problem with the MS Word macro, the Robohelp tool, my PC or the application code that was supposed to trigger the help call? I worked closely with application developers to devise a solution when something was seriously wrong. In addition, I was responsible for fixing documentation bugs filed by other developers.

I managed the department’s documentation drops for all documentation related to software. I used Rational Clearcase version control system to provide the deliverables and created logs for easy verification about what had been dropped. Although my job title was technical writer, I actually spent about 1/3 of my time performing these system administration and troubleshooting tasks.