Writer's FAQ

Technical Writing Frequently Asked Questions

Click on any of the following links:

Who is Mecanamix?
What is Mecanamix seeking to purchase?
Are royalty payment contracts offered?
How is contact made when I have a product to sell?
What is the outline of events to sell my article?
Does Mecanamix publish articles with the original author’s name?
Are there article format suggestions?
What are the final form requirements for an article?
How is payment of my work arranged?

Who is Mecanamix?

Mecanamix is a publisher of licensed-right informational products of interest to those –

  • who are involved with some portion of the industrial aspects of product-process life-cycle issues (from concept to obsolescence as idle assets, and possibly with a renewed life),
  • who need to know about business practices (example; product or budget-program management) that are inherent to an industry segment or business in general.

Except for the realm of computer science (software and networks) plus bio-medical-health related fields such as anatomy, botany, genetics, medical devices and physiology to name a few (also referred to as the Life Sciences category), we offer to purchase your full authorship rights to what you deem as your final version products. The desired products are oriented towards the business aspects of the applied sciences, engineering, statistics, the trades, technologies and so forth.

Our experienced technical authors recognize that our history and reputation results from the dedicated effort of the first-timer to experienced technical writers. Further, we believe that such subject matter research applied to your writing abilities in a business-oriented sense, with accompanying illustrations (if any), is a talent.

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What is Mecanamix seeking to purchase?

Mecanamix seeks application-guidance articles, how-to calculation oriented spreadsheets, data tables involving the physical sciences, research papers and so forth that advance knowledge by addressing real time business practices, processes and procedures that help effect viable products and services within an industrial environment. These focused technical information products, business tools in a sense, range from generalized to specific and/or specialized topics. A technical writer could address a product-process design and development procedure, formula, product manufacturing techniques to decrease direct or indirect costs, quality control and inspection. Perhaps a writer presents an analysis to help a reader to optimize the system integration of components, or addresses an aspect of asset performance (the material, as a component part etcetera) and its diagnostic characteristics. A technical author could also present synthetic and natural substance ratings, a best-practice technique in manufacturing and/or operation at an end-user location, preventive maintenance, cost-effective repairs and so forth. With the goal of helping to advance personal knowledge and productivity of our readers, the industry related issues, problems, processes and techniques risk being better understood, managed and/or resolved in a timely manner.

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Are royalty payment contracts offered?

Many writer oriented guilds and societies along with publishers advocate that authors should not sell their authorship (copyright) rights and instead, insist on royalty income streams. This would be a very good arrangement if an author is famous and/or an industry recognized subject matter expert, or intends to become such a person some day. For those who do not professionally write for their living wherein permission to use your materials is sought, Mecanamix makes the offer to purchase your authorship (copyright) rights. To better appreciate our viewpoint on this matter, selling your authorship rights versus royalty payments, please click here Sell v Royalty or use the menu bar: Writer’s Corner >Sell v Royalty

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How is contact made when I have a product to sell?

If you have not worked with Mecanamix in the past and are interested in selling your technical writing, please visit the Writer’s Corner webpage and scroll down to the “Yes – I’m Interested!” section near the bottom of the webpage. Three portals require your input in order to contact us. Type your name in the first portal; your first name is satisfactory, in order to start a dialog. The next portal requires your full e-mail address so that we may contact you by e-mail. If an incomplete or incorrect e-mail address is given, Mecanamix will not be able to contact you. Next, there is a verify code shown that needs to be typed into the Verify portal. The verify code helps to prevent someone from using automated signup software which attempts to maliciously “stuff” the receiver’s e-mail account. Then click on the Send Email button and we will attempt to contact you within two normal business days.

If you do not receive an e-mail response from Mecanamix within two business days, please revisit the “Yes – I’m Interested!” section of the Writer’s Corner webpage and re-submit your name, a functionally correct e-mail address, and the new verify code shown.

In our response to your “Yes – I’m Interested” portal inquiry, we shall ask for some basic information about you and the final copy product being considered for buy-out. To preview the list of basic information that is to be requested, please click here First e-mail Contact or use the menu bar: Writer’s Corner >First e-mail Contact

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What is the outline of events to sell my article?

A. Visit the Writer’s Corner webpage and scroll down to the “Yes – I’m Interested!” section near the bottom of the webpage. Three portals need your input in order to contact us. You may then expect a response within two business days wherein some questions will be asked (see First e-mail Contact or use the menu bar: Writer’s Corner >First e-mail Contact), and for your review, a sample Confidentiality Agreement will be attached to that e-mail.

B. If mutual interest continues to exist, a filled-in Confidentiality Agreement is mailed to you for signature, along with any co-authors (mail-out costs at our expense). When signed, send the [original signature] form back in the envelope provided (postage is at your expense), along with a printout copy of all the material offered for sale (one side per page printout and without text double-spacing). When we receive the signed form and material and our interest continues, we expect to then ask you to send the electronic version of the information being considered for buyout.

Please make sure the printout copy you send to us is complete, and that you made a duplicate copy for discussion purposes. The duplicate copy is also an effort to protect your interests.

If photographs are mailed, lightly mark the figure number on the back with a soft pencil and pack it between two stiff cardboard sheets. Also, do not use paperclips or staples on the photograph.

Material that is considered unfinished, risks being returned to the sender.

C. When the electronic version of the information being considered for buyout is received, we will advise you. Then 2-3 weeks for review is needed. If mutual interest continues to exist, an offer to buy your original authorship rights shall be made. When the buyout price is mutually agreed to, we then proceed to enter into a legally binding contract, with signatures by mail (postage at our respective expense). After the contract formalities and any residual issues are satisfied (unlocked for edit version files of all the material and photograph negatives are received, as examples), our full payment to you will be made.

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Does Mecanamix publish articles with the original author’s name?

After the original authorship of your material is purchased, our production staff shall manage the editing and overall design-layout of that material. At the point when the final version is then ready to be published as a Mecanamix product, the material may not clearly and fully reflect the original author’s vision. By not including the author’s name, a right that is not included in the purchase agreement, the author is protected from having their name used to the publisher’s commercial advantage in any way.

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Are there article format suggestions?

The Mecanamix readership audience involves a culturally global array of professionals with various educational backgrounds and industry related experiences. With this great diversity in mind, a certain style of uniform writing is suggested:

Are you thinking about writing your first technical article? Then please click here First-Time Writer or use the menu bar (Writer’s Corner >First-Time Writer) if you are interested in seeing some basic writer suggestions.

Text notes –

  • Edit words that may sound lofty or seem to be very impressive. As two examples, a synonym for vernacular is ‘language’ and a synonym for elucidate is ‘clarify’.
  • Avoid the words “according to”, “can”, “interestingly”, “on the basis of”, and “under the provisions of”.
  • Avoid the use of an abbreviation to start a sentence in a paragraph.
  • Do not use the apostrophe symbol. As an example, use does not instead of doesn’t.
  • Do not hyphenate a word at the end of a line unless the double vowel or word set actually contains a hyphen. As examples, re-sign has a different meaning than resign, and the word set year-end as in “year-end data reveals…” is considered appropriate with the hyphen included. By not purposely hyphenating a word at the end of each line in a paragraph as well, the sentences produce a [desired] jagged right margin.
  • Do not use footnotes. Incorporate them into the text or add a Comment remark where appropriate, as is exampled here:
    Comment: Additional information may be found at…

Math-Number notes –

  • Avoid higher order mathematical statements such as integral calculus derivations and theorems, unless they are necessary for someone to focus on.
  • Assign a code number above each equation (if any) and reference that code number (example, Equation C3) in the text. If any equation requires more than one line for display, break to the next line at the = + or – sign.
  • Spell out whole numbers below ten but if mixed with a higher number in the same sentence (example, 6 flaws per 24 hours), write both as numbers. Yet if any number begins a sentence, or is a fraction anywhere in a sentence (example, two-thirds), spell it out. For a value less than one, add a zero (example, 0.44) unless the number is a statistic (example, r = .86). To reference a time period in the plural sense, add an ‘s’ (example, the 1990s).
  •  Display a unit of measure in its singular metric form followed by its equivalent English unit of measure. As an example, the weight of the widget is 10 kg (22.0 lb)… [not kgs]. Also note that kilogram and pound may be spelled out if the author prefers but be consistent throughout the material. Also append potentially confusing English units of measure: example, Gallon (US) or Gallon (Imp). Otherwise, add a comment to the material advising the reader that American or British units are utilized throughout.

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What are the final form requirements for an article?

Whatever the topic and its approach, an article (the product) needs to be structured to facilitate analysis or modeling, provide in-depth understanding, and/or provide the how-to guidance to get the job at hand, done! An article as a digital product, also involves multiple sheets, typically the equivalent of a booklet and/or pamphlet, with the appropriate combination of facts, definitions, descriptions, guidance, calculation spreadsheets and other contributing job aids as deemed appropriate by the author. The article is also focused to help answer the typical hard questions. What will the information help people do? Is the information in an easy to understand, plain language format? Does the topic add insight and long-term value to the reader? Does the information save the reader time to research and processing time on their job? Keep in mind however, that each topic is to be academic in nature and not intended to offer engineering, financial, legal or other professional advice.

1. Avoid the following circumstances:

  • The use of clichés and slang words
  • Comments involving age, nationality, race, sex and stereotyping
  • Issues that read like subtle product or service provider endorsements, or attempt to entice a reader into contacting a particular product or service vendor.

2. Add an explanation into the material if –

  • The word “billion” is used, as the UK and US each apply a different value to it.
  • There are any special characters used.
  • An industry-specific technical word is used.

3. Preferences:

  • The number format is the business oriented nn,nnn.nnnn comma-decimal point display system. If the nnn.nnn,nnnn or nn nnn.nnn n number format system is already used in the material, add a comment to the final copy material to confirm the format used.
  • Review the material to ensure the letter O (oh) is not confused with the number 0 (zero), and that the letter l (ell) is not confused with the number 1 (one).
  • For each non-intuitive topic such as a plug-the-numbers spreadsheet, an instruction file is helpful. That file is to involve a plain language introduction and overview of the topic, terminology definitions, the applied how-to-use methodology as appropriate along with any application tips, and the default printout parameters when appropriate.
  • To avoid a suggestion that an author attempts to influence the reader when observation data is included in the material, add full clarification if possible. As an example, 6 flaws per 24 hours could be restated as: 6 (as 1%) of the widgets per 24 hours during the period 11/01/2011-11/12/2011 contained a flaw.

4. For topics involving calculations, plug-the-numbers or otherwise, full visual with cell edit access to the calculations is required, in addition to a copy of the electronic file formatted for the intended user. As appropriate, also add editorial-in-nature comments related to the calculations.

5. Statistics may be interpreted as a writer’s opinion for a snapshot in time (example, equipment on-line availability rates during the year 2009). Although Mecanamix makes no accuracy or completeness representations for the information products offered, an authoritative source for any statistic used in the article requires a cite as a professional courtesy to the reader.

6. Number and caption all illustrations, and ensure each is referenced within the text so that a reader cannot become easily confused.

7. Cite references in the text, if any, at the end of the article as a list entitled References and alphabetically display in a consistent style. The style is last name, first name initial, middle name initial (if applicable) followed by the publication date, followed by the title of the article, then the publication and page. As an example: Rabel, J., Conte, G. G., & Kinerr, S. (2010, July 6). Crafting batch product strategies. Petro-Chemical Street Journal, pp. 2–4.

8. Include a Table of Contents on the first page for text documents longer than two pages.

9. It is said that value comes from the quality of the work presented. Ask yourself if there are safety related issues that need cautionary comment within the material.

10. Only send the complete final copy version of the material being considered for buyout, to include any associated files such as spreadsheets and image files that provided input to the master document. The final copy involves the electronic file(s) and their respective print-out.

The typical written technical topic is expected to print out at two (2) but not more than twelve (12) one-sided A or A4 size pages and likely include a graphic and/or picture to help illustrate or reinforce important points you as the author feel is important.

11. The electronic file formats for the final product review and buy-out process are .doc or .docx for text documents, .xls or .xlsx for spreadsheets, .jpg (also .jpeg and .bmp) for illustration files, and .tif for photograph files. In addition, do not use files that require a password for access, and do not lock out files or spreadsheet cells to prevent user editing efforts.

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How is payment of my work arranged?

A part of the contract formalities to buy out your authorship (copyright) rights involves our obligation to process an Internal Revenue Service (IRS; U.S. Federal government) Form W-8 or W-9. We will also issue the follow-on Form 1099-MISC at our expense, if a Form W-9 is involved. When a Form W-8 is involved, there are no follow-on IRS tax requirements. To determine which form applies to your relationship as the Seller, please click here to Tax Forms or use the menu bar: Writer’s Corner >Tax Forms

Integer-Comfab Enterprises, LLC, also doing business as Mecanamix, as the Buyer, is not responsible for any governmental fee or tax imposed on you as the Seller.

After the U.S. tax form requirement is completed, along with any residual issues satisfied, a check is issued by Integer-Comfab Enterprises LLC (also doing business as Mecanamix), drawn on a U.S.A. bank to finalize the agreement to purchase your authorship rights (your copyright rights). For authors with a registered legal address outside the United States, an inter-bank account transfer or money order may also be transacted, to which we pay the sender expense.

Buy-out payments are made in U.S. Dollars (USD; $). If a currency exchange rate for your location outside the U.S. is needed, there are many free-service websites to choose from. As an example, the following website is considered to be reliable by many: http://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/

When converting money, the bank or business providing the currency exchange is expected to charge for their service. To suggest how much the service fee might be ‘today’ as your cost of doing business, note that the Interbank Rate conversion default amount on the suggested Oanda website is set at 0%. Perhaps change it to 2% for a revised conversion amount. With the future also unknown, select several past dates and you should be able to construct the trend-line for forecasting purposes. Unless there is a major economic upset though, the exchange rate of your particular interest should not move significantly over the span of several weeks.

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