Volume 43, Issue 3

December 2003


Features

"Hey, Kids! Become an Author at Home in Your Spare Time and Earn Big Bucks!"

Part 1

by John Hedtke, Principal, JVH Communications, and STC Associate Fellow

Even if you can't write the Great American Novel, you may be able to write the Great American Manual. There is a huge market for nonfiction—books about software and computers, fixing cars, photography, mountain-climbing, or cooking. This article is for anyone who wants to write a book and get it published. It's not hard. In fact, it can be a lot of fun.

Getting Started

The first step in writing a technical book is to decide what you want to write about. It's not necessary for you to write about a topic that's never been written about before. Look at how many different books there are about almost any topic. Most of them sell, though they all cover roughly the same material. What makes each of these worth considering is that they are approaching the same material in a different way.

However, you might decide to write a book because you discover that there's no book on the market that addresses the topic you're interested in. For example, I wrote one of my first books—Using Computer Bulletin Boards—because it was the book I wish I could have read five years earlier when I was starting to use bulletin boards and online services. Or you might have a new angle on an old topic that makes it worthwhile: for example, A Field Guide to Windows Icons and Internet for Cats are fun but helpful guides that have a novel and humorous spin.

Building a Basic Proposal

When you have your idea, you'll need to create a proposal. A proposal should contain the working title, the scope and purpose of the book, a description of the intended audience, what the reader should know at the beginning and at the end of the book, and a table of contents or outline.

Your proposal should also include any salient marketing information; for example, whether this book is the first of its kind or whether several other books address the subject but this one takes a new slant. Also tell the publisher what you can do to help market the book. Most publishers are very receptive to having an author work with them on the marketing.

Tip: Many publishers have proposal guidelines on their web sites. All of them will require the basic information described above, but many have additional preferences for proposal information. Once you've drafted your proposal and have chosen a publisher, check for the publisher's proposal guidelines to expand and tailor your proposal to the publisher's preferred style. As you do so, you'll find that you'll develop a proposal format that you like to use and that's acceptable to almost everyone.

In addition to information about the book, you also need to sell yourself. Sell your understanding of the topic and your ability to plan and write 300 to 600 pages in the allotted time, which is never as much as you'd like. Demonstrate that you can write, organize, research, meet deadlines, and stick with the project through completion. (Acquisitions editors live for people who never miss deadlines.)

What if you don't have a specific idea in mind? You may still have general topics that you'd like to write about. One of the best ways to identify potential topics is to identify your own strengths and preferences. For example, I don't care to write books about software development, but I enjoy writing books on computer and software basics. If you're already writing manuals or articles, look at what you've been writing about professionally. Don't forget to note whether you have other skills that you can add to this list: for example, you may be a whiz at setting up computers, at cooking, or at helping your clients analyze their interior design needs. All of these add depth to your writing and increase the potential for a variety of nonfiction books. Good topic knowledge combined with writing ability is enough to sell most publishers on you as a potential author. So, even if you don't have a specific book idea to propose, a general list of topics might well be enough to start with. You can focus your ideas later to fit the publisher's needs.

Choosing a Publisher

With your proposal or topic list in hand, you're ready to choose a publisher. Like other kinds of freelance work, you should ask people in the business for referrals. One source of contacts is local writing groups. Most of these are aimed at the fiction writer, but you might be able to contact other authors by talking to the local chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (at www.stc.org) or the International Association of Business Communicators (at www.iabc.com). Another organization to check into is the National Writers Union (www.igc.apc.org/nwu), which is the trade union for freelance writers of all genres. They have a number of resources, including model contracts. Other sources to check out are the Studio B web site (www.studiob.com) and the Computer Book Authors' list. You can also make some contacts through the www.raycomm.com/techwhirl newsgroup, a moderated newsgroup for technical communicators.

As part of your research, you should go to a large bookstore and look at other books on the same or similar topics. You'll rapidly notice that each publisher has a certain look and feel to its books, which are designed to appeal to a specific audience. Write down the names and addresses of the publishers whose books you would most like to have your name associated with. Ask your contacts if they know anything about these publishers, or check the current Writer's Market (a guide available at all large bookstores) for more information about each publisher.

Tip: It's a good idea to find out whether the publisher already has a book about the topic you want to write about. You can check www.amazon.com and do a topic, title, or keyword search for all the books on this subject. Don't be alarmed if you find 30 titles on the subject. Many of these books may be out of print, dated (books on software and technology can go out of date overnight), or focused on a different aspect than the one that you want to write about. Make careful notes on what's already out there in the market—it can help your case and impress the publisher if you know who you're competing with—øand be ready to show why your book is different from the others. This distinction will go into the marketing section of your proposal.

Phone the publishers on your list and ask to speak to an acquisitions editor. The acquisitions editor looks for authors, solicits and reviews book proposals, and is the project manager for a book. If you already have an idea for a book, you can present it to the acquisitions editor for consideration and see if she likes it. If so, send her the proposal you've drafted. (Be prepared to send a resume and a few writing samples, too.) If you don't have a specific idea but are willing to write on a range of subjects, approach the acquisitions editor as you would approach any other employer. Acquisitions editors frequently have projects that need good writers, and the two of you are likely to find a project that complements your skills and interests, in which case, she may ask you to write a proposal for a specific topic on her desk. By the way, many publishers prefer to consider new authors exclusively by mail. Be prepared in such cases to get just the acquisitions editor's name, address, and instructions for submissions; then hang up and send her your proposal.

If you don't already have extensive technical writing experience, you might need to prove yourself before the publisher considers you as an author. Ask the acquisitions editors if they need technical reviewers. Technical reviewers check the manuscript for technical accuracy and readability.

This takes from 50 to 100 hours of time, for which you'll get paid $400 to $1200. The money is not great, but the work isn't very hard. Technical reviewing gives you and the publisher a chance to evaluate each other.

Once you submit your proposal, the acquisitions editor will consider it for publication. Large publishers usually have an editorial committee, a meeting in which all the acquisitions editors discuss the proposals they've received and make decisions about which books they want to handle. You'll usually know within a couple of weeks whether the acquisitions editor has accepted or rejected your proposal. One possibility is that the acquisitions editor will come back to you and say "We like the general idea, but we'd like to have you write the book for a different audience (or with a different scope and purpose or in a different style) than you've proposed." This is generally a good sign: it means that the acquisitions editor believes in your ability enough to keep talking and that she thinks elements of your proposal could be profitable.

Tip: Always let the acquisitions editor know that you're willing to consider writing about other topics as well. My first book actually originated because I was trying to sell another book idea. An acquisitions editor at Osborne/McGraw-Hill said, "Well, we don't think that your book will sell well enough for us, but we like the way you present your ideas. How'd you like to write a book on Microsoft Word for DOS?" I prepared a proposal and sent it in. The editorial committee reviewed it, made some changes to my proposed scope and the audience I was writing for, and I had my first book contract a week later.

If you have a great idea for a book and one publisher doesn't bite, try another publisher. A rejection doesn't mean it's a bad idea, simply that they weren't interested or it didn't fit. (Do ask why they didn't want to do it, though; frequently, the information you get about one rejection will give you what you need to refine the proposal so that you can sell it to the next publisher.) Keep sending proposals out. Publishers are always looking for new books and new authors. And you might be able to resubmit a proposal to a publisher, who will then approve it the second time: what the publisher wants right now may change in six months. Don't submit a proposal simultaneously to different publishers (known in the business as "multiple submission") until you have a good understanding of the publishing process.

Avoid publishers who are flaky or have very bad reputations for how they deal with their authors (there are a few of these, sadly). If you don't know and you don't know someone to ask, you might try phoning a few of the authors in a publisher's stable. You can frequently track them down through their biographies on the back of the book. Many authors of computer and other books will add their e-mail or web addresses as part of their acknowledgments or contact information. You can also use Internet-based telephone directories to do simple detective work for tracking down e-mail addresses, phone numbers, or mailing addresses. And as a last resort, you might send a couple of letters to authors via the publisher. Seal the letters, send them to the publisher, and ask the publisher to forward them to the author at her or his home address. It's as good a way to get to them as any, and it stands a fair chance of success.

Advances, Royalties, and Contracts

Suppose the acquisitions editor likes your proposal and offers you a contract. The biggest question to ask is "How much will I get paid and how often?" There are two types of payment: royalties and advances.

First-time nonfiction authors usually get royalties of 10 to 15% of the publisher's net receipts—that is, the income the publisher gets when they sell a copy of your book, which averages out to around half the cover price of the book. Foreign royalty rates will probably be about half of the standard royalty rates, and other types of sales might pay less than the full royalty. Most publishers expect to sell 15,000 to 25,000 copies of a book over several years, so if the book sells well, you can make $25,000 or more in royalties.

An advance is a sum paid to you in advance to subsidize your expenses while you write the book. Advances are levied against your future royalties. Publishers generally pay between a quarter and a half of the advance when you start writing, with the balance spaced out over the writing period for the book. In other words, if you negotiate a $6000 advance, you'll likely see $2000 up front, $2000 at the midpoint, and the remaining $2000 when you are finished. The advance is yours to keep, even if the book doesn't sell well enough to "earn out the advance"that is, to generate enough royalties to pay for the advance you've received.

Publishers aren't required to pay your royalties until 90 days after the end of the royalty period, and they don't. Acquisitions editors may be sympathetic, but they don't write the checks. Advances alone usually aren't enough to live on. Plan on having other sources of income until your royalties start arriving, and always keep some cash in reserve in case they don't arrive. Don't quit your day job right away.

Look out for clauses in the contract that let the publisher pay you a reduced royalty on discounted sales. These clauses usually work out so that the publisher can use your royalty to subsidize discounts to wholesalers. Remember that everything in a contract is negotiable, even if the contract is preprinted on pretty bond paper.

Find out what production costs you are liable for. For example, you may need to pay for an indexer to create the index on your book. Costs like this are levied against future royalties, not against your advance. Make sure there are no unpleasant surprises.

As a first-time author, you won't have a lot of bargaining power. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want, but don't expect to get it. If you can get the publisher to increase your advance or the royalty rate a little and get 15 extra copies of your book, call it a victory.

Publishing contracts are a complex and fascinating subject. Buy a copy of How to Be Your Own Literary Agent by Richard Curtis and read it before signing your contract. If you want outside help in deciphering the contract, consult a lawyer who specializes in publishing, entertainment, or intellectual property law. Some literary agents will review a contract for you for an hourly rate. You probably won't need more than an hour, and you'll learn a lot about what you are agreeing to.

One last piece of advice on contracts: never sign a contract with a publisher (or anyone else, for that matter) whom you don't trust. It doesn't matter how much money you're being offered, how good the deal looks, and how much opportunity the contract may give you; if you don't trust the other party, you'll sleep poorly every time you think of it. Nothing is worth that.

Do You Need an Agent?

Although some nonfiction publishers prefer to work only with authors who have agents, you don't have to have an agent to start with.

There are many things an agent can do for you as a beginning author. An agent is supposed to help you find a publisher and negotiate the contract, for which you will generally part with 15% of your earnings. Agents can provide a valuable entrance to the publishing business, and some of the best will even help manage your career, but you shouldn't sign up with an agent just because you think you need one. As you've seen, finding publishers can be easy and fun. For information on negotiating contracts, How to Be Your Own Literary Agent will tell you most of what you need to know. You might, therefore, be comfortable foregoing an agent entirely if you enjoy researching and contacting publishers and are willing to consider negotiating your own contracts.

The moral of the story is: "Don't get an agent until you know why you need one, then get the best you can find." Stephen King says that if you're a bad writer, your agent gets 15% of nothing; if you're a good writer, agents will come looking for you and you can pick a good one.

Warning: Agents range anywhere from "great" to "terrible." Moreover, an agent who works well with one person may be terrible for another because of personality and style differences. Ask your contacts who they like to work with and why. If you've already written a book or two, ask your acquisitions editor who they like to work with and why. Their preferences in an agent might be 180 degrees from your own goals, but that information will help you make an informed decision.

Recommended Reading List

Editor's note: The second half of this article will appear in the January 2004 issue of Dateline Houston.

This article copyright 1990-2002 by John Hedtke (john@hedtke.com). One-time serial rights granted to STC newsletters to reprint the article in entirety in exchange for advance notification and permission and two copies of the printed final version. All other rights are reserved by the author. To request reprint rights, contact the author at john@hedtke.com.


Recommended Reading List

by John Hedtke, Principal, JVH Communications, and STC Associate Fellow You should add several books on writing to your library:

How to Be Your Own Literary Agent by Richard Curtis

The book explains the basics of contracts and what agents do. Required reading before you sign your name to a book contract. If you become interested, you should also buy the author's Books into Bestsellers, a clear look at the publishing industry and how it works.

The Writer's Market (annual)

This book is the most commonly available source of information about publishers. It contains profiles of hundreds of publishers, their focuses, and contact information.

1001 Ways to Market Your Booksb y John Kremer

John Kremer's book will excite you with the opportunities for marketing your books. Most of the ideas are ways to market your book over and above anything your publisher might be doing for you (though you can frequently get your publisher to do more by pitching ideas).

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

This book is a 12-week self-taught course on creativity. You can do it by yourself, but it really works best with a small study group for the commitment, the interaction, and the insights. These are vital components of examining and understanding your motivation before making a career change—and choosing to write books as a large part of your professional life is definitely a career change.

The Secrets of Consulting by Gerry Weinberg

Although this topic is slightly tangential to being an author, this is an amazing book for the independent worker. Gerry makes his points by telling stories and creating aphorisms, maxims, and rules that stick with you; for example, "Rudy's Rutabaga Rule: Once you solve your number-one problem, your number-two problem gets a promotion." You'll want to read this book every year.

Clutter's Last Stand by Don Aslett

This is an amazingly helpful book on how to keep clutter out of your life. Don Aslett runs a multimillion dollar cleaning organization and writes dozens of fun, approachable books on cleaning and organizing. No author should be without this book.

The Richest Man in Babylon by George F. Clason

None of us are in this business for our health. This book gives you the basics on how to become rich, and it won't put you to sleep while you read it (unlike most other books of this kind).

Computer Book Publishers

The following list contains information about some of the computer book publishers that I have worked with or that I would be willing to work with. You can take a look at their books and get an idea of their focus by checking their web sites. (Note: Some of these companies might be out of business or purchased by another company by the time you read this.) For up-to-date (and much longer) lists of publishers, check out the web links listed in the "Web Resources" section coming in the January 2004 issue of Dateline Houston. In addition, the annual Writer's Market lists hundreds of publishers of all kinds.

Addison-Wesley
One Jacob Way
Reading, MA 01867
781-944-3700, 781-944-8243 (fax)
www.aw.com

No Starch Press
401 China Basin St., Suite 108
San Francisco, CA 94107-2192
415-284-9900, 415-284-9955 (fax)
www.nostarch.com

Morgan Kaufmann Publisher
340 Pine Street, 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104-3205
415-578-9911, 415-578-0672 (fax)
www.mkp.com

Osborne/McGraw-Hill
2600 Tenth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
510-549-6603, 510-549-6603 (fax)
www.osborne.com

O'Reilly & Associates
103A Morris Street
Sebastopol, CA 95472-9806
707-825-0915, 707829-0104 (fax)
www.ora.com

Prentice Hall
One Lake Street
Upper River, NJ 07458
201-236-7139, 201-236-7131 (fax)
www.prenhall.com

International Thomson Computer Press
115 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
212-254-3232, 212-254-9499 (fax)
www.thomson.com/itcp.html

Peachpit Press
2414 Sixth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
510-548-4393, 510-548-5991 (fax)
www.peachpit.com

Prima
P.O. Box 1260
Rocklin, CA 95677
916-632-4400, 916-632-4405 (fax)
www.primapublishing.com
John Wiley & Sons
605 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10158-0012
212-850-6000, 212-850-6088 (fax)
www.wiley.com
Sybex
1151 Marina Parkway
Alameda, CA 94501
510-523-8233, 510-523-2373 (fax)
www.sybex.com
 

Go back to "Hey, Kids! Become an Author at Home in Your Spare Time and Earn Big Bucks!"—Part 1

Regular Features

From the President

Strategic Planning: A Collaborative Effort

by Jocelyn Williams, Independent Consultant

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen R. Covey discusses the importance of "beginning with the end in mind." STC Houston realizes the importance of having a clearly defined mission and an action plan that provides direction and positive growth. We have in place a strategic plan that outlines the strategies and tactics needed to achieve our objectives.

Organization

Our strategic plan is organized into five objectives whose accomplishment will enable the chapter to help meet its goals and the Society's mission:

Beginning A New Strategic Plan

This is not our first strategic plan. It was time to go through an extensive planning process to develop a completely new five-year plan. Some changes were made in the process to make it more inclusive and to encourage wider participation in accomplishing the plan. Workshops generated discussions about the chapter's strengths, trends in the profession, and objectives for the new plan.

Annual Review

As part of our continuous strategic planning process, the administrative council will review the plan to determine progress in achieving strategies and tactics. We may revise due dates, add items as new areas come into focus, and remove completed items to an addendum.

At the planning workshops, you offered many great ideas, which created a plan that is truly strategic. We, the owners, can share in this strategic plan accomplishment!


From the Editor

Resources for Authors

by Rebecca Taylor, Product Marketing Manager, Hewlett-Packard

As professional communicators, many of us are bitten by the author bug. Many in our STC Houston community are already published; I'm sure many more are hoping and waiting for their first book to be published. This issue of Dateline Houston is devoted to the authors among us.

Book Publishing 101

John Hedtke, our guest author this month, is a knowledgeable and prolific author with over 25 book titles to his name. John shares his vast experience with us this month in our feature article, "Hey, Kids! Become an Author at Home in Your Spare Time and Earn Big Bucks!" This is only the first in a two-part series, so be sure to check out our January 2004 issue to read the conclusion!

Local Resources

We have several members of STC Houston who are active in the Association of Authors and Publishers (AAP). According to the AAP web site, the group seeks to "encourage tomorrow's Hemingways, Vonneguts and Sagans." The AAP is based in Houston and includes authors (and would-be authors), editors, artists, printers, publishers, self-publishers, marketers, distributors, booksellers—anyone associated with the creation and distribution of books.

Learn more about the Association of Authors and Publishers on its web site: www.authorsandpublishers.org.

STC Authors

Don't forget that if you're an STC member with a technical communication book, you can add your book to the member book list on the STC web site ( www.stc.org ). Just look under the Publications menu to find a member books submission form.

Please let me know if you find this series on publication helpful—your feedback is important to the continued usefulness of Dateline Houston! If you'd like to share your experiences with publishing, please visit our STC Houston Forum at forum.stc-houston.org.

Chapter News

January Program Meeting

Suzanna Laurent from the Oklahoma chapter is an Associate Fellow. She earned this distinction as well as many others by working tirelessly for the Oklahoma Chapter, as the Region 5 Director-Sponsor, and now as second Vice President for the Society. She has served the Society as the Bylaws Committee Manager and manages the new Leadership Tips Committee that she started.

She has written more than 35 articles that have been published over 500 times in STC chapter newsletters around the world.

The American Business Women's Association—America's fourth largest women's organization—selected Suzanna for her outstanding career achievements as one of their Top Ten Business Women in the nation.

Suzanna is a consummate speaker, having presented over 110 chapter programs, leadership workshops, keynotes, and sessions at more than 33 conferences from Toronto to Hawaii.

She has a repertoire of programs that she can present. We've requested, "It's a Jungle Out There!" for our January 13, 2004 program. In this presentation she will explore change and its effect on all of us. But, she goes a step further by giving us strategies for making change work for us.

Join us for an evening filled with friends, good food, and a dynamic speaker. You'll take away a lot more by the end of the evening.

Place:

Hilton Houston Westchase
9999 Westheimer Road

Date:

Tuesday, January 13

Time:

5:30 p.m. networking (hors d'oeuvres)
6:20 p.m. announcements
6:30 p.m. program

Cost:

$10 (members)
$15 (nonmembers)
$5 (student and unemployed members)
$10 (student nonmembers)

Drawing:

A drawing for various prizes is held at the end of each general meeting. Proceeds benefit the Marx Isaacs Student Scholarship Fund.


STC Houston Breaks 500-Member Milestone

by David Remson, Information Developer, NetIQ

STC Houston broke the 500-member milestone in early November. Congratulations, Houston! Each year, STC provides chapters with funds for programs and activities based on the number of members in each chapter. Please help our chapter continue to grow by promoting our society among your peers, help us continue to enhance the programs and activities by renewing your membership, and help us add value to your membership by participating, giving feedback, and sharing your knowledge.

It's time to renew your membership for 2004. Have you asked your employer to subsidize the cost? You may be surprised to find that your employer will readily pay your membership dues. Many employers recognize the value of your participation in STC. From an employer's perspective, dues are a tiny price to pay for even one good idea that you bring back and share with your team. If you need help explaining the tangible benefits to your employer, download the STC Can Help brochure from www.stc.org/PDF_Files/new_employer.pdf.

Need a thoughtful holiday gift for a college student? Give them an STC student membership. STC provides tremendous opportunities to student members all year for the bargain price of $50. No matter the student's academic discipline, STC activities are a great place to get an insider introduction to technical communication and related professions, to skills and methods that add value to any profession, and to the people who define the local professional community. Student members also receive the technical communicator essentials, Intercom and Technical communication. Help your favorite student jump start their technical communication career with an STC student membership.

STC has a great year planned for 2004! We look forward to seeing you at the first program meeting on January 13. Remember, we all benefit from our chapter's continued growth, so bring a non-member with you to share the experience!


Employment Report

by Steve Shriver, Contract Technical Writer, Baker Hughes

Here's great idea I got from Tom Green, who gleaned it from the TECHWR-L web site: www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/employmentarticles/tletter.html.

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the purpose of a résumé—to get an interview. The résumé entices the recruiter to want to meet you and then you get an opportunity to sell yourself. I'm going to try this idea myself, especially when I see something I really want to go for.

I've had a lot of sales experience in my previous life and I'm grateful to have that skill to fall back on. I might end up selling real estate someday in my "retirement," for example. I want to emphasize that it is a skill, that is, a talent that can be developed. Sales is something we all do, whether we realize it or not, and whether we're good at it or not. It's basic people-skill stuff.

There are three things that are important in progressing along your career path and I've been talking these until I'm blue in the face: 1) a 30-second sound bite, 2) résumé accomplishment statements, and 3) a targeted résumé, outlined in minute detail in the link noted above. Notice that two of them focus on the résumé, just to get your foot in the door.

If you can't get the interview, you can't sell yourself. That's where the 30-second sound bite is so important. Most of us are conditioned to handle any pitch for 30 seconds. Think about it—how many TV commercials have you seen in your life? We're actually entertained by commercials, sometimes enlightened, but always sold.

However, a good sales pitch never seems like it. It makes me think it's my idea. Nobody wants to be sold. But lots of people are buying all kinds of stuff. We live in a consumer-oriented culture; some would even call it consumer crazy.

A good sales pitch takes lots of planning and practice—Madison Avenue has been using this magic formula for years and years. Write it out first, then rewrite it, time it, and practice it in front of the mirror. Seriously. This is how it works, it has to sound conversational, perfectly natural.

And you can't ramble on and on. This is where many people get in trouble, especially a poor salesman. They don't know when to shut up. Thirty seconds is it. Never talk more than 30 seconds—you'll bore your recipient. Try to finish off your short spiel with a question. This is a natural transition for the other party to talk.

You need to know how you're coming across, so now you can practice the other equally important part of your sales pitch—listening. These are basic people skills and they work wonders in selling yourself, which is your most important sale ever.

Society & Industry News

STC News

STC Prorated Dues Explained

According to the prorating schedule for STC annual dues, new members joining in 2003 pay full dues ($125), and their memberships extend to December 31. During the first renewal period, prorated "credit" is extended to all new members based on the month they joined the Society.

For example, members who joined in February will receive a 10 percent (or $12.50) credit on their first renewal, members who joined in March will receive a 20 percent ($25) credit, and so on. These credits will be deducted from the 2004 renewal rate of $140.

As part of STC's annual fall membership drive, new members joining in November and December 2003 will be credited with full dues paid for 2004. The credits will appear on new members' renewal invoices, which will be mailed in late November. The table lists monthly credits and renewal rates for new members.

Month Joined

Credit Toward 2004 Dues

2004 Renewal Rate

January '03

$0.00

$140.00

February '03

12.50

127.50

March '03

25.00

115.00

April '03

37.50

102.50

May '03

50.00

90.00

June '03

62.50

77.50

July '03

75.00

65.00

August '03

87.50

52.50

September '03

100.00

40.00

October '03

112.50

27.50

November '03

N/A

0.00

December '03

N/A

0.00

Note: The STC office will apply all credits at the time of renewal. New members should not adjust their initial dues payment of $125 by the amount of credit they anticipate receiving.


Procedures for STC's 2004 Election

The annual STC election will be held in early 2004, and only members who have paid their dues by February 28, 2004, will be eligible to vote. An option on the dues renewal forms and new membership applications for 2004 allows members to receive their election materials by e-mail. In March, members who selected this option will be e-mailed the slate, candidate biographies, and voting instructions. Members who did not select this option will receive these materials by first-class mail. The election closes April 15, 2004.

Be sure to renew by February 28 to have a say in STC's future!


STC's 51st Annual Conference Registration Rates

STC's 51st Annual Conference will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, May 9-12, 2004. Members can register for the conference using the form provided in the Preliminary Program, which will be mailed with the February issue of Intercom, or online at www.stc.org . Online registration will open in mid-February.

Advance Registration Rates

The last day to register for the conference at the advance rate is April 23, 2004.


Educational Opportunities

Phone Seminars

Here is a list of STC telephone seminars scheduled for December 2003 through March 2004. Further details will be announced on the STC Web site at www.stc.org/seminars.asp.

December 10, 2003

January 14, 2004

January 28, 2004

February 11, 2004

February 26, 2004

March 10, 2004

March 24, 2004


Networking Opportunities

If you have a networking opportunity to share, please tell us! Go to www.stc-houston.org/contacteditor.htm.

Volume 43, Issue 3

December 2003