Exchange 2010 Inside Out receives “Distinguished” award

I received a note from Microsoft Press yesterday to let me know that Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Inside Out had received a technical publications award. The note said:

Every year, Microsoft Press enters our highest quality titles from the past year into the Technical Publications competition hosted by our local chapter of the Society for Technical Communications (STC). Entries are evaluated on rigorous standards for information design, use and appearance of visual elements, usability, writing and editing, and how well the publication meets the needs of the intended audience.

We’ve received the results from the 2011 competition, and I am pleased to inform you that Microsoft® Exchange Server 2010 Inside Out received a Distinguished award in the Informational Materials category. Distinguished is the highest level of award granted in the competition and signifies very high competence in technical communication. It also means that your book is eligible to be entered into the International competition.”

Now, I have no idea about the importance of this award within the technical publication community (in other words, does anyone care) or the process used to assess entries. However, I do know that “Distinguished” is the top-level award, so that’s good. I also assume that the decision is made on the basis of a review of the publication aspects of the book by at least two independent judges because I received two reports from “judge A” and “judge B”. These reports were very interesting because they help shape ideas for future books.

The criteria used include:

  • Organization and content scope (see screen shot below)
  • Information design – visual appeal; typography; artwork; consistency of design implementation
  • Navigation – table of contents; signposts and cues (headings, etc.); index
  • Writing – audience and purpose; technical vocabulary; capitalization, spelling, and punctuation; grammar and syntax; consistency
  • Essentials of style – word choice (diction); clarity and conciseness; tone (attitude of writer to audience)

The judges didn’t understand much of the technical material being presented so they can only judge from the perspective of an uninformed person who picks up the book rather than an Exchange professional who wants to find details how something particular works.

Some of the comments from Judge A

I found it interesting that so much attention is paid to writing skills because that’s certainly not something that seems to be highly valued in many third-level courses today, possibly because people believe that it’s more important to get information out than worry about how words and sentences are structured, whether spelling is correct, and if the topic being explained is covered in a clear manner rather than obscured in obtuse text.

It’s also interesting that huge value is seen in well-done indexes. Some publishers have tried to convince me that short-cuts are possible when building indexes for technical books. I don’t agree at all. I also like that focus and attention is put on how books are laid out, the typography, and how things like tips and screen shots are integrated with the general body of text.

I learned a lot from the assessments and wish that a similar job had been done on previous books. It reinforced the need for many quality inputs that are required to produce good books – writing, technical editing, copy editing, indexing, production and layout, and printing. A book suffers if you fail in any of these inputs and I’m just glad that Microsoft Press did such a splendid job in helping to publish Exchange Server 2010 Inside Out.

Now on to the next book, whenever that might be…

– Tony


About Tony Redmond

Lead author for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook and writer about all aspects of the Office 365 ecosystem.
This entry was posted in Exchange 2010, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Exchange 2010 Inside Out receives “Distinguished” award

  1. Dan Wallace says:

    Well done Tony. Not as nice as our website award but excellent nonetheless.

  2. Hernán Guerrero says:

    Hi, again, Tony. Congrats on the award!!!! I am learning a lot with your blogs. I have a question that it´s getting hard to find. According to the Network Admin in the company I work at, he says we have to deccommise Exch Server 2007 from the AD. I am looking up and it is hard to find how to do it. I am not asking for a solution from you, but if you could guide where to find the right explanation and follow-up, I will gladly read and try it out. Thank you again, and “Felicitaciones”!!

    • Hi,

      What does the admin mean by “decommission Exchange 2007 from the Active Directory”? All you should need to do is to remove the last Exchange 2007 server from your organization when it is no longer required by running the Setup program to remove the software from the computer. How does he propose to decommission Exchange 2007? Is this a fan of brain surgery on the Active Directory using ADSIEdit?


  3. Wayne Brandt says:

    Congradulations Tony! Well deserved. I have the book and I couldn’t agree more with the “Distinguished” rating!!!

  4. Rob Adams says:

    JR Simplot, Idaho
    Paul and I use it almost weekly to fine tweek our multi-node system.
    Would you like the 2012 Backcountry Horsemen of Idaho Calendar? I will need a shipping address.

  5. Pingback: Thursday trivia #48 | Paul's Down-Home Page

  6. Terrance Brennan says:

    Well deserved; I try to get all of your books because they are rare ones that give practical daily admin information along with the detailed under the hood information about how things work. Obviously, I also try to keep up with your blogs both here and at Windows IT Pro. Thanks for sharing your insight and knowledge.
    PS. I agree with your assessment of Craven Cottage; I don’t get to England much, but, I try to get to the Cottage whenever I do. It is a welcome contrast to the huge, impersonal stadia that blight professional sports (and big US college sports); and it is one of the best settings in sports.

  7. Garry says:

    Congratulations Tony. I have the book sitting on my desk now and couldn’t agree more with the result, truly excellent work.

  8. Muhannad says:

    Hi Tony
    My name is Muhannad and I’m working as Microsoft system administrator.
    I’m Exchange 2010MCITP.
    My company is using Microsoft Exchange 2010 and would like to change max message size from 10 MB (default) to 20 MB.
    I have change the
    • Organizational Limits
    Maximum size for messages received: 20MB
    Maximum size for messages sent : 20MB
    • Connector limits
    Maximum message size through a Send connector: 20MB
    Maximum message size through a Receive connector: 20MB
    Maximum message size through an Active Directory site link: Unlimited (default)
    • User limits: Unlimited (default)
    My problem is I’m still cannot receive email that exceeds 10MB from the internet
    I’m wondering if you have any suggestion or advice that can help me??
    Thank you


  9. Pradeep says:

    Congrats Sir…..this book truly deserve much more appreciation. For me its my holly bible of Exchange 2010 that transformed me from zero to hero (at least for my team) 😉 Thanks again for writing such a nice book.

  10. Congratulation Tony!

    It is really exciting to have “Distinguished” award. I wish you good luck for future endeavors and yes in providing helping material and guidance for Microsoft Exchange Server.


  11. Paul says:

    Congratulations Tony 🙂 book is perfect, hope to see updates for Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2 also.

  12. imkottees says:

    Congratulations Sir!!!

    Last week I got this book, hope soon will complete it.


  13. Steve says:


    you really deserved this award for your book. For me it is the Exchange Server 2010 bible. I pick up something useful every time I flick through a page or two.

    I would go as far as saying this is probably the best technical book I have read. I wish more were like it.


    • Thanks Steve… I appreciate your opinion. It lifted my spirits after reading a very negative (1 star) review of the book on I just couldn’t understand where the person who wrote the review was coming from… Maybe some of you who like the book can enter a review on Amazon to provide your views (good and bad).

      Thanks again,

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