The Insider’s Guide to Technical Writing, 2nd Edition

Cover of The Insider's Guide, linked to

The Insider’s Guide to Technical Writing, 2nd Edition
by Krista Van Laan. $35.95 (print), $24.95 (eBook)

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The first edition of Krista Van Laan’s popular The Insider’s Guide to Technical Writing has guided a generation of technical writers who are either starting out or seeking to take their skills to the next level. This classic has now been updated for the technical writer of today. Today’s tech writers truly are technical communicators, as they build information to be distributed in many forms.

Whether you’re thinking of becoming a technical writer, just starting out, or you’ve been working for a while and feel the need to take your skills to the next level, The Insider’s Guide to Technical Writing can help you be a successful technical writer and build a satisfying career.

In 2001, Krista Van Laan published The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Technical Writing with Catherine Julian. The Insider’s Guide to Technical Writing, is inspired by that book, but is significantly re-written, extended, and brought up to date.

Inside the Book

  • Is This Job for Me? What does it take to be a technical writer and how do you get started?
  • Building the Foundation: What skills and tools do you need to get started? How do you get to know your audience and write in a way that works for them?
  • The Best Laid Plans: How do you create a schedule that won’t make you go crazy? How do you learn about the technology you will be writing about, handle the tools you need for the job, and manage the development process, including Agile methodologies?
  • On the Job: What does it take to walk into a job and be productive right away?
  • The Tech Writer Toolkit: How do you create style guides, indexes, templates, and layouts? How do you manage localization, translation, and all the other non-writing parts of the job?
  • I Love My Job: How do you handle the ups and downs of being a technical writer?
  • Appendixes: References to websites, books, and other resources to keep you learning.

Praise for the second edition

“It was ten years ago that I read and reviewed the first edition of this book. At that time I said, ‘The book is a resounding success…. If you have ever wondered whether you might want to become a technical writer, wondered what a technical writer does, or you are a technical writer who knows there are gaps in your knowledge, buy and read this book.’

“The new edition came out recently and everything I wanted to see updated or added has been. My high praise for the first edition remains true and the new edition adds some extra polish that could not have been anticipated back in 2012.”
— Matthew Helmke, full review of the second edition at Matthew Helmke (dot) Net

Praise for the first edition

“The Insider’s Guide provides exactly the perspective that new technical writers need about teamwork, collaboration, responsibility, curiosity, and more.”
— JoAnn T. Hackos, PhD, President, Comtech Services Inc., From the Foreword

“An invaluable resource for anyone starting out in tech writing.”
— George Hayhoe, PhD, Mercer University School of Engineering

“I love it! … a quick and entertaining read that left me feeling inspired to get to work!”
— Kaylin Tristano, full review at

About Krista Van Laan

Krista Van Laan has worked in, managed, and built from the ground up multi-level Technical Publications and User Experience departments in telecommunications, consumer software and hardware, enterprise software and services, and Internet companies, both in the United States and Europe. She is co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Technical Writing.