I've looked at some of the largest outsourcing sites. These have huge amounts of software developers, and huge amounts of casual writers. I'm having enormous difficulty finding authors that would be suitable to create technical white papers.

My requirements are:

  • Very Technical (experience in at least one programing language, and with at least one database)
  • Someone who is comfortable writing marketing style or other more creative work (I'm not looking for a 'dry' technical document)

How do I find a writer like this? Are there freelance sites dedicated to technical writers that I just haven't been able to find?

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    Eric, I've removed the sentence "As I expect most people here look for work from time to time, I'm very interested to know where it is you look for work" because this is not a discussion forum. (But have you tried Stack Overflow Careers yet?) Mar 25, 2012 at 22:12
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    Maybe you should try by dropping the word 'technical' altogether and start looking around with the kwd 'content' instead. That's what you really need, I can say for sure. We have of course had great difficulty in convincing people about that, until they saw the results. Excellent solutions for your needs can only come from multidisciplinary writers.
    – Kris
    Mar 28, 2012 at 6:43

5 Answers 5


One resource is Techwr-l, a large, long-running mailing list and web forum. You can't just post job ads to the mailing list, but they accept ads/sponsorships. I've never advertised there so I don't know how well it works, but you could ask them about success rates.

You could also look into the Society for Technical Communicators (STC), a large professional organization. My experience is that writers who can program are rare but not non-existent there.


I'm late to this discussion, but we call ourselves "programming-writers". And yes, we are rare and expensive. For example, on my current contract I add Doxygen comments into Java source file, read C++ files (the native implementation of many of the Java files), post the files on a Linux server where I modify Php and JavaScript, write SQL statements to interact with a MySql database, modify Windows BAT and Cygwin Bash shell scripts, while using emacs with custom modifications.

Most developers dread writing documentation and most writers do not have the technical breadth. I suggest you try Craigslist and use the heaviest technical requirements. Be prepared to be inundated with responses from the barely qualified (as in they wrote a VB program once).



There are regional sites like this one: http://www.minneapolistechnicalwriter.com/

(Check out their "Other Directories" tab.)

I think I would look for programmers who know their field but who can also write well. (Maybe ask to see their English class grades?) As @Monica stated, writers who can program are rare. You might ask a faculty member at a university (either a technical writing instructor or a programming instructor) whether they know of anyone looking for freelance work.

If you find someone comfortable with your subject matter, then you can steer them in the direction you want your marketing copy to go. My experience (in medical publishing) is that technical writers usually are not that comfortable developing marketing copy.

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    I would ask to see writing samples rather than grades. Mar 27, 2012 at 3:47
  • If they have some that would be great, but these are programmers.
    – JLG
    Mar 27, 2012 at 11:30
  • While writers who can program are pretty rare, what I meant to say there is that they seem to be particularly rare in STC. I suspect that some gravitate to ACM or IEEE instead, and others (like me) just don't join professional associations (unless it's a side-effect of going to a conference). Mar 27, 2012 at 16:55
  • Programmers who have risen to a certain level have almost certainly written design docs. You can ask to see samples of those. Mar 27, 2012 at 16:56
  • @MonicaCellio Apparently, design docs kind of writing is just what the OP does NOT want -- I'm not looking for a 'dry' technical document. I had to contend with people who are steeped in that 'dry' style.
    – Kris
    Mar 28, 2012 at 6:40

Given the number of software development books available, it's fair to say theres a lot of writers out there who can program, and with a healthy dose of google you should be able to find the websites for quite a few of them.

If you want a head start you then, as a writer with a published programming book, I'd be happy to hear about your idea if you want to drop me a comment on my website.

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    Alas a precious few make for lively reading. Mar 28, 2012 at 21:45

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