Mandy Collins & Associates

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Why a table of contents is barely a start

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

So, you need a report written, and you approach a #writer with a table of contents. Don’t expect to get a useful cost estimate out of them.

A table of contents is a good starting point, a kind of skeleton to hang everything on, but you need to add some meat to that framework to allow the writer to figure out how much work it will really be.

Writing relies on good raw material. Some may exist, and some may need to be generated by the client. Some may require additional research on the writer’s part. All of those things require different levels of effort, plus you need to factor in time spent chasing clients for the content they have promised.

So writers, make sure you get a much more detailed picture of what the client wants – which will involve asking a lot of questions and clarifying murky answers – and clients, be prepared to answer them.

The result will be expectations that are realistic and well managed on both sides of the relationship, a realistic reckoning of costs, and most importantly, a better product.


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