Interview with David Roberts

How do you approach cover design?
I rank cover design as one of the most important aspects of my ebooks. This is pretty much all a potential buyer can see initially. If the cover looks poor or vague or dull, then there is nothing for a potential buyer to get excited about. However, if your cover is bright and attractive with all text clearly legible, there is a good chance that the cover will jump off the page at people. I always try to use a graphic to try and relate the title of the book to that graphic. It will give people a clue as to what the ebook is about.

You cannot take a chance with getting your book cover wrong. It is very important, so spending some time on this would be a good idea.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My favorite books are. Anything by Jack Higgins, Stuart Woods, and Robert Parker. These guys are terrific authors and can keep your eyes glued to their pages for a long time. So all my favorites are included in the books by these authors.

These authors tend to grab your attention from the very first page and can hold your interest right through to the end. Never a dull moment in any of them. Woods and Parker do have an element of humor in them and this all adds to the excitement of the book.
What do you read for pleasure?
Same as previous answer. However, I do like FBI thrillers, private detective and gumshoe titles.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
At the current time I have two Kindles - both latest color models. I use the smaller one while traveling... planes and hotel room and the other one while at home.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have nothing substantial to report on that currently. I am trying various methods including PPC, Classified Ads, SEO, and I have a couple of girls working for me that place links and info to my titles in any place they can find. So it's really a mish-mash of testing. One of the avenues I am trying is to advertise my titles to the relevant groups in Facebook. Jury is still out on that one.
Describe your desk
Usually clean, tidy and acceptable, but currently a mess.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in West Wales on the bottom left corner of the map of Britain. I moved around with my parents - just like an army brat. I finally settled in Southampton, England and most of my adult life was spent in that area. I moved to the United States in 1996 and have never really looked back.

My upbringing didn't really influence my writing but through my adult years I have always taken time to read the newspapers and watch informative TV. And also taken a strong interest in all things computers. From here I have self-educated myself over time which has resulted in my English language skills being a little better than the average.
When did you first start writing?
My first writing experiences were in Web Design which I undertook for various small businesses. As is most usual, the owners didn't know what they wanted to write - until they saw it, of course - so I was forced into doing it for them and this also enhanced my copy-writing skills which have always leaned towards some form of sales or marketing. So the answer is mainly from my early days in web design and for clients who wanted some form of copy-writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest title is "The Brit Made Me Do It" and will be published to the ebook market very soon. It is a true account - with a little embellishment here and there - of one man's three-year journey of adventure and skullduggery while trying to obtain a green card and legalize his presence in the United States.

While on his adventure, he came into contact with several nice young American ladies who attached themselves to him in a romantic sort of way. He had a lot of juggling to do to keep himself out of trouble while trying to exact the maximum pleasure possible from his young ladies without each finding out about the others.

He pressed on in his quest until he landed at Seattle International Airport one spring afternoon in April 1996. Then everything changed and took a turn for the... well, buy the book and find out for yourself.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Nothing really. I have always had a strong interest in all aspects of computers and have spent may years training people to understand and use various software titles - mainly the easier stuff - Word, Excel, Web Design, Photoshop are examples - which people always seem to have trouble in grasping. Training others was always exciting and I could immediately see the fruits of my labor.

After some time doing this - alongside other things - I decided to help people a little further by designing and creating "How To" guides so that people can study and learn for themselves in an easy-to-understand sort of way. This is what started me off in writing and since then I have progressed and now have 11 titles published.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I have only just discovered Smashwords, to be honest, but I am very confident they will assist in the marketing of my ebooks resulting in additional sales. Smashwords is a household name in writing circles and I am sure that I will be benefiting from their marketing strategies very soon.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Seeing others benefit from advisories and training documents I have written.

I try to write in an easy-to-understand way - sometimes even to the extent of writing in "baby steps" fashion - such is my wish to make sure my readers understand and benefit from my work. Knowing that I have helped people is usually sufficient to keep me going.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Being self employed should be sufficient motivation in itself. I always have plenty of work to do so it is no problem getting up each day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Mainly on my computers - browsing around. My favorite place on the web is Amazon and Rakuten. I buy quite a lot online and rarely pay any shipping charges at all.

A couple of hour's TV each night before going to bed finishes off my day.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
It sounds crazy, I know, but I don't read that many ebooks myself. I am too busy writing them. I get email newsletters from Amazon quite regularly, and from my previous purchases, they seem to know the type of things that interest me. They seem to pique my interest at just the right time and I will generally buy a couple of cheap bundles from them for bedtime reading.
What is your writing process?
If I was writing fiction, I would try and build a structure in my mind of how I was going to write the book. Have some chapter ideas or main section ideas to keep me on track. However, I rarely write fiction.

My titles are generally of the How To or educational kind so I tend to rattle off everything I can think of and then try and piece it together is some form of meaningful way. Moving paragraphs around is quite easy and I am reasonably good at putting a guide together in this way.

When everything appears to be in place, I then go back through to edit and expand on my writing so far and generally end up with much more than I started with. Rinsing and repeating adds more copy and corrections each time your brain sees what you have written.

Finally I go through the whole document checking my word choices and their meanings along with grammar and spelling and usually end up with something that I had hoped for in my mind at the beginning. I then polish it off and send it out to my girls who give it a once-over and the final result is something I am usually proud of and which is ready for publication. Then comes the cover design and keywords.
What are your personal strengths and weaknesses?
Personally, I am a confident person and confident in my abilities to do what I set out to do. But I do understand there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Very often I am referred to as the latter. However, I don't feel I am too arrogant, and my excitement in being asked my opinion about various subjects is often mistaken for arrogance. Sometimes being an extrovert works against you.

My main strength is the ability to talk to anyone, anywhere, at any time, about any thing. In the past I have accepted bets that within a certain time - say a minute or so - I could strike up a conversation with anyone that is selected for me. Supermarkets are the best place to do this. Yes, I can go up to anyone, especially females, and start pretty much an instant conversation using my British accent to break the ice. It can be anyone, male or female. This is something I can easily do.

Sometimes when in a supermarket I pretend to be a "guy in trouble" about making a good selection. Lady shoppers fall for it every time and there is always one that comes to my rescue. It is all in fun, of course, but it adds to my self esteem knowing I can still do it. Others would be simply horrified at the thought of doing what I do.

My main weakness is that I will often write more than I should do in my quest to make everything as simple as possible for my readers - especially in my How To books. However, I have been advised on more than one occasion that by writing more, I tend to confuse people with more info than they really need. Keeping things simple should be closer to the top of my priority list.
What is your best advice you can give anyone?
Always Think of the Other Guy!

Too many people go throughout their daily lives not thinking too much about others. This is fine, of course, if they want to think that way. But most of us need to have things done by others for us at some stage each day. We do not realize this too much, but we do have to rely on others - both in our personal lives and our daily working lives.

My main concern over this "Always Think of the Other Guy" expression is in a more professional sense by what it can really do for you and how it can change your way of thinking about others in your work life. I am biased towards Sales and Marketing as this is something I am involved with every day of my working life.

A good example would be when trying to sell something to someone. Most sales people will try and sell the features of their products without a care or concern about "the other person's actual needs." In other words, they are trying to sell something the other person doesn't really want or need. A better approach to this would be to find out what the other person's needs are and offer him a product that will satisfy those needs. All too often we are told about the features of a product when all we want to know about is the benefits of those products and what they will do for us.

Thinking of the other guy will open doors that you have never seen before.
Published 2014-05-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

How to Write a Cover Letter for Job Applications
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 16,490. Language: English. Published: May 18, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Careers / job hunting, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Personal success
This book gets right to the nitty-gritty of cover letter writing. If you follow the directions you almost cannot fail to get an interview. This book leaves no stone unturned as it walks you step-by-step through the cover letter writing process. Get an unfair advantage over your competition. Buy this book today and be confident that getting a job interview will no longer be out of your reach.