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Hot Text: Web Writing that Works Paperback – January 21, 2002

ISBN-13: 075-2064711513 ISBN-10: 0735711518 Edition: 1st

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Hot Text: Web Writing that Works + Search Engine Visibility (2nd Edition) + Ace the IT Interview (Ace the It Job Interview)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (January 21, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735711518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735711518
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #577,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

There is no shortage of material on web site usability (see Computer Media, LJ 3/1/02). Hot Text shines in its comprehensive coverage of online writing. One will find information on XML and writing for database-driven sites; creating FAQs, blogs and newsletters, and online r sum s; and becoming a web writer or editor. Although it does not break any new ground, Back to the User is a solid summary of current thought on the "user-centered" approach, covering both writing and design. It largely focuses on business sites, with additional information on e-commerce and branding. Both titles are appropriate for public libraries. Shaping Web Usability, while more academic, also addresses specific issues such as designing for older adults and handheld devices. Recommended for larger public and academic institutions.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Hot Text examines good writing practices and discusses their application to and implementation on the web. -- Dr. Jean A. Pratt, Business Information Systems, Utah State University

Inspiring, authoritative, fun, and personal—Hot Text is an instant classic. -- Rich Coulombre, Principal, The Support Group, Needham, Massachusetts

This is the best web writing book around, with excellent coverage of history, theory, and application. -- Muriel Zimmerman, Coordinator, Programs in Technical Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara

Warm, informative, conversational, inspiring, and honest, this book gave me great ideas and models without feeling like a lecture. -- Colombe Leland, Web writer, newspaper editor, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Why is online writing so bad? Probably because books like this haven't been available until now. Buy it. Read it. -- Seth Godin, Author of Survival is Not Enough, Permission Marketing, and Unleashing the Idea Virus

More About the Author

As a journalist, I've enjoyed getting to know people in the worlds of art, computers, video, and the web.

As a conceptual artist and concrete poet, I absorbed a lot from brave audiences.

As a teacher, I've learned enormously from my students at NYU, Rutgers, the Shakespeare Institute, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, UNM, and professional organizations such as the ACM, IEEE, and STC.

And as a writer, I've always gotten a kick out of working collaboratively with other writers.

I live in New Mexico, along the Rio Grande, in an adobe house with a satellite dish on top, and two dogs who chase away balloons during the annual fiesta.

My wife Lisa is a writer and director of operations at a call center.

My son Ben runs an insurance office here in town, and Noah coaches customer service reps at a major cell phone company.

Me, I'm busy doing art pieces, fiction, and a bunch of writing about art on the web.

You can learn more about all of us in the books...and our blog:


You can get the gist of our ideas about web writing on our YouTube channel:

For even more, please take a look at our web sites:



I occasionally respond to email at theprices@theprices.com.

Customer Reviews

The authors do an excellent job in this book breaking down the content structure of web writing.
Thomas Duff
I particularly liked the way the authors presented punctuation because in paper-based text a mark such as a colon is easy to spot, whereas on a monitor it's lost.
Mike Tarrani
Those with a lot of experience will quickly do a read-through and pick up a few good ideas and be done with it.
Susanna Hutcheson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Mike Tarrani HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on November 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
There are only a few books about writing that I consider classics, and despite the relative newness of this one, it qualifies.
First, the advice on writing online text is on the mark, especially with respect to organizing your message and presenting it with impact. Much of the advice can also be effectively used in paper-based documents. I particularly liked the way the authors presented punctuation because in paper-based text a mark such as a colon is easy to spot, whereas on a monitor it's lost. I've since begun using a dash instead of a colon when developing online content and that small piece of advice works where a colon does not. Of course there are literally hundreds of other tips and advice that will combine to make your content readable and understandable.
Second, the way the authors show you how to organize your thoughts, distill them into a coherent and succinct message, and how to present that message is a strategy that anyone who develops online content needs to carefully read and heed.
Finally, this book covers much more than how to write - it also gives excellent advice on a full range of related topics, including search engine placement using meta tags, humanizing the technical nature of web pages (such as making URLs easy to read and remember for non-technical users), and how to structure your content to find items of interest. The latter extensively uses principles from Information Mapping©. One disappointment was the omission of any mention of Robert Horn, the inventor of Information Mapping©, from the extensive list of cited references and recommended reading because the authors' approach is closely aligned to much of Horn's work.
If you're developing online content you cannot afford to pass this book up. Mine is a constant deskside companion and is likely to remain so for years to come.
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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By David E. Rogers on June 24, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're interested in writing for the Web, "Hot Text: Web Writing That Works" by the prolific Jonathan and Lisa Price is the best and most comprehensive guide thus far published.
The book is at its best in the section aptly titled "Write Like a Human Being." Here, you'll find dozens of practical tips and techniques for Web copywriting. From "Shorten That Text" to "Write Menus That Mean Something," the Prices not only tell you how it's done, but demonstrate it in "before and after" samples. And each tip is evaluated in an "Audience Fit" grid that assesses how well it suits various types of site visitors. These five chapters alone (covering nearly 200 pages) are worth the price of the book.
Hot Text is much more than a style guide. Another 150 pages discuss how to write for the various genres found on the Web--help text, FAQs, marketing copy, PR and news releases, 'zines, e-mail newsletters and (yes) Weblogs.
Throughout, the book is extensively supported by a wealth of useful references (many of them available online) and pertinent callout quotations. And just when you think there couldn't be any more good stuff, you'll find helpful information on how to find a job as a Web copywriter.
I have two major quibbles with Hot Text. For a book that emphasizes clarity of expression, it begins on an odd foot. After a brief introduction to some general principles of Web-writing, it jumps into a discussion of object-oriented writing that is bewildering to novices. The normally crisp text slows to a snail's pace as they wax a little too theoretical. Don't get me wrong--this is important stuff, but it is the least successful part of the book.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book examines the subject of writing for the web, and how it differs from writing for hard-copy media.
The book is divided into the following chapters:
Part 1 - Catch The Net Spirit - Who Am I Writing For, And Incidentally, Who Am I?; What Kind Of Thing Am I Creating?; What Will The Web Do To My Text?; Attention!
Part 2 - Write Like A Human Being - Idea #1: Shorten That Text; Idea #2 - Make Text Scannable; Idea #3: Cook Up Hot Links; Idea #4: Build Chunky Paragraphs; Idea #5 - Reduce Cognitive Burdens; Idea #6 - Write Menus That Mean Something
Part 3 - Fine-Tune Your Style For The Genres - Writing In A Genre; Creating Customer Assistance That Actually Helps; Persuading Niche Markets, Individuals, And The Press; Making News That Fits; Entertaining People Who Like To Read; Getting A Job
Part 4 - Become A Pro - So You Wannabe A Web Writer Or Editor
Part 5 - Backup - Writerly Sites; If You Like To Read
On the surface, you may think that writing is writing, regardless of the medium. You may think that if you can write a 2500 word article for a magazine, that you can successfully use that same style for web sites. And unfortunately, you'd be wrong. The mindset of online writing is completely different than for print, and this book will help you to understand that.
People read books and magazines for many reasons, but often it's to be entertained or to learn about a subject in depth. But when people visit web sites, it's usually to find an answer quickly. The reader wants to find the chunk of information they seek and then move on. If they don't see what they think they want, it's off to another site. The authors do an excellent job in this book breaking down the content structure of web writing.
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