Book Review. Modern Technical Writing: An Introduction to Software Documentation, by Andrew Etter, 2 of 3

by Scott Wilson on January 7, 2017

Part Two: The Talk

I don’t know if you’ve heard of it before, but there’s an organization called Write the Docs that calls itself a “series of conferences and local meetups focused on all things related to software documentation.”

You could be forgiven for not knowing about Write the Docs because, they don’t currently have a Los Angeles area meetup (that I could find), and they are focused on software documentation.

Now you’ve heard of them. More information is available at, stunningly,

Anyway, they had a meetup in San Francisco in November 2016 where Andrew Etter, author of Modern Technical Writing, was the speaker.

Here are some of my takeaways from his talk:

  • He didn’t just restate what’s already in the book. I had read the book, so this was a pleasant surprise.
  • He is a low-key, engaging speaker. Again, a pleasant surprise. Not all good technical writers are also good speakers.
  • His new content was good. He spoke about the process of creating an ebook, he provided some additional content related to the recent developments in technical writing, he spoke of his experiences as a technical writer and tech writing manager, and he provided his take on what is the “differentiated value add” of a technical writer. If you don’t know what that phrase means, as I didn’t, he explains it.

My advice: Find the video online (here’s the link: and watch it, especially if you read the book and liked it. You’ll learn more about the author, about creating ebooks, and about his thinking of what’s important in technical writing.

For another take on the same talk, visit

Part One is an overview of the book Modern Technical Writing, authored by Andrew Etter.

Part Three covers my thoughts on both the author’s take on some of the technical writing best practices and on some of the recent developments in software technical writing that he mentions.

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