The Cherryleaf world tour of England – fancy meeting up?

This Autumn, we’ll be in a number of cities around England, meeting up with people involved with content strategy and technical communication.

This is a great opportunity to tell us what you’re involved with at the moment, pick our brains, or discover more about our services.

You never know – if you have a content-related issue, we may be able to help.

Here is the current itinerary:

  • Week commencing 16th September – London
  • Week commencing 23rd September – Bristol
  • Week commencing 30th October – Brighton
  • Week commencing 7th October – London
  • Week commencing 14th October – Oxford
  • Week commencing 21st October – Cambridge
  • Week commencing 28th October – London
  • Week commencing 11th November – Reading
  • Week commencing 18th November – Birmingham
  • Week commencing 2nd December – Manchester

We’ll also be in Wiesbaden, Germany on 7th and 8th November.

If you’d like to meet up with us, simply contact us and we’ll get back to you.

If those dates don’t suit, but you’d still like to meet us, drop us a line. Together, we should be able to find a suitable date.

Our Kindle publishing experiment

We’re carrying out an experiment in publishing guides as Kindle ebooks. We’ve updated and uploaded our “Network to get Work” guide, which has been published today on Amazon UK and Amazon.com for £2.12 and $3.45 respectively.

There were two primary reasons for doing this.

Firstly, we wanted to test how easy it is to publish to the Kindle Publishing platform. The main thing to note about publishing to the Kindle platform: don’t let your book go near Microsoft Word. You need a clean and simple HTML file to convert. The other thing to note is the Kindle ebook version looks a LOT nicer than a PDF version.

Secondly, we wanted to test the economic benefits of this approach. We’d previously sold this as a self study guide, via our web site, for £20, so we wanted to see what impact there would be if we reduced the price and promoted it on the Amazon Kindle platform. There are tales of a 26 year old making $100K/month from her self-published vampire Kindle novels. Amazon offers 70% royalties, so the return is about the same as if you went through a publisher.

We’ll let you know how we get on.

And finally, feel free to purchase this book -it’s good!

Reducing IT support call times

At the Documentation Managers peer group meeting we hosted earlier this week, one manager commented his organisation was aiming to increase the average time for each support call. This was because it believed it could eliminate all the short duration calls – through redesigning the software and better user documentation. What would be left would be the more complex problems that take longer to solve.

Having worked on a support line when I left college, I can appreciate the benefits of this approach. There’s nothing worse than spending your time repeating the same solution over and over again. So a consequence may be that they’ll also see a reduction in support staff turnover.

Allied to this approach may also be the adoption of micro-blogging communication channels. Yesterday, Yammer announced it will be launching its Communities feature on 1st March. This means organisations will be able to create their own private network channel to communicate with its customers and partners.

Documentation Managers peer group meeting

The third Documentation Managers peer group meeting is scheduled for 2pm on Wednesday 13th January 2010, in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

Each meeting, one or two participants seek advice concerning a particular problem, or, possibly, the group discusses a previously agreed topic, under the Chatham House Rule of confidentiality.

This session is free of charge (there has been a notional fee for teas and coffees for the previous meetings).

Feedback on our 1st Documentation Managers/Leaders mentoring meeting.

If you might be interested in participating in future events, then do contact us.

First Documentation Managers/Leaders mentoring meeting set for 26th May

The first Documentation Managers/Leaders mentoring meeting date has now been set:  for the afternoon of Tuesday 26th May 2009.

 

The afternoon is dedicated to providing a safe forum where documentation managers can share the issues they face and get their challenging questions answered – not just by an expert but by people who’ve faced similar challenges to your own. It’s a process of learning and developing skills through the medium of shared experience: something from “real-life” and valuable to the recipient.

 

We’ve had someone step forward  with a problem they’d like to discuss. It relates to managing off-site/overseas authors and dealing with a headcount reduction/headcount cull.

 

The meeting will be held in Russell Square, London. We’re making a nominal charge to cover charge for teas, coffees and biscuits. Cherryleaf is picking up the tab for the room hire.  The group size is limited to 16 particpants (plus the chairman).

It should be an interesting and useful event!

Cherryleaf to host mentoring meetings for Documentation Managers

Cherryleaf will be hosting, half-day peer group meetings for documentation managers and leaders. These afternoon meetings will be held initially on a quarterly basis in Russell Square, London, under the Chatham House Rule basis of confidentiality.

These will be run in a similar way to the peer group meetings run for Chief Executives by organisations such as Vistage - in a trusted, confidential setting, leaders from diverse industries meet on a regular basis in a peer-to-peer environment to solve problems and take advantage of opportunities. A Chairman leads each meeting, guiding both process and content to ensure members achieve real results. 

These meetings are intended to complement the ISTC regional group meeting initiative. They differ in that there will be an emphasis on problem solving rather than networking, and they are aimed at a different audience.

Contact us for more details.

Cherryleaf’s article in “Communicator” – Benchmarks for High Performance

Copies of the Institute for Scientific and Technical Communication’s magazine “Communicator” should be arriving through member’s letterboxes today. This edition is special in that contains an article on page 22 by me, entitled “Benchmarks for High Performance”. I hope people like it.

We noticed this Spring 2009 edition also includes two articles by authors we’ve placed and another by a customer of ours.

We’ve also been asked to write an article for Society for Technical Communication’s “Intercom” magazine. Their July/August 2009 edition will be on the theme ”Technical Communication’s Value Proposition: Providing Value and Return on Investment.” Our article, if accepted, is provisionally titled “A different perspective on measuring the value of technical communication.”