Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Royal Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England. It is a place of outstanding natural beauty and where I lived was definitely considered to be rural. I came to appreciate the countryside and nature and would find it hard to live in a city. I did enter a technical world when I started work and I enjoy technical challenges, but they can come in different forms. Learning how to look after a garden, for example, can be every bit as challenging as getting to grips with a software program. Sometimes even more so. I suppose writing books has allowed me to communicate and hopefully help people understand problems and how to solve them. I just like sharing what I have learned in a way that is easy to grasp, just like the way people did that for me.
What annoys you most about technical writing?
I have always striven to write in a way that is clear, concise and communicates sufficient information at a level people can understand. I really don't like overuse of jargon, convoluted phrases or the use of words that hardly anyone understands (without referring to a dictionary). With a little care and thought it is possible to communicate at a level that almost everyone can understand. Why would anyone chose not to do that?
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book was about Web Marketing & SEO and I wrote it really because I blog on the subject and have spent quite a lot of time researching it. I was also getting clients and sometimes friends in the industry asking me about how they should deal with the changes made by Google that had cost them a lot of traffic.
Well the fact is Google tell you what you should be doing in lots of different ways, videos, guides, help pages and so on. It isn't really a secret. But what they say isn't always easy to find or sometimes understand, so I just spent a reasonable amount of time checking out what Google were currently saying on the topic of SEO and summarised it in a way that brought everything together in one place as a set of rules. I subtitled it Google Do's & Google Don'ts, because basically that is what the book is about. So now when friends ask me what they need to be doing I just send them a free copy.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Primarily I had become a website designer after I left my job in the UK and moved to the South of France. Then I met a people that were desperate to publish some books in a digital format. So I started to look into it and discovered that actually an ebook is a sort of website design. So actually I worked out the technical aspects of getting a book formatted so that it worked well as an ebook and then started formatting and publishing books for other authors. Then I sort of realised that if I can publish books for other people then I can also do it for myself. And that's really how I got started, writing 'how to' books on things I know about. I have to say however that I feel there is probably a fictional book in me somewhere as well, I just need to make writing it a priority.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I love Smashwords because they have captured the essence of the Internet and how it works. They give so much away for free, style guides, marketing guides, promotional tools, a platform that anyone can use to publish their books and access to all the major distributors in the world. In return they deal with all the admin involved with publishing a book and in terms of royalties they take a small percentage. I guess I just feel Smashwords offers value for money and that encourages me to engage with the site and push more and more books out using their service.
Virtually all the people who publish through Moulin Publications are on Smashwords with premium status, which means their books are being marketed, not only by Smashwords, but by Apple, Sony, Barnes&Noble, Kobo et al. All that and with only one spreadsheet to download for all the sales. That means I have more time to go and promote the books wherever they are for sale.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy I get from writing is when someone reads what I say and gets what I mean. In other words there has been a communication; simple as that!
Do you think a person has to be a little masochistic to become a writer of novels?
I think I do actually, quite a few of the people I have published books for have been trying for years to get their book published and out in front of the public with little or no success. They have had knock back after knock back, but they still kept going. That must mean they are a little masochistic musn't it? Or perhaps they are just very determined. All I can say is I admire them for whatever their reason, there are no guarantees in the publishing world, independent or otherwise, but there is always hope once you have that book published!
What are you working on next?
I might be cutting my own throat, but I do get asked a lot to set up and publish Wordpress blogs for people that don't know how to do it but want to try and at least manage their own content when it is all up and running. So I am thinking along the lines of writing a book that tells them how to do it, step by step. I know some people have already done that and I have read a couple just to see what they are like. They weren't bad, but I feel they could be better and go a bit further. So those are the lines I am thinking along, unless I do decide to prioritise that fictional novel after all.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have genuinely come to like the authors I have published books for. I always have a final read through of what they have written, checking for typos and small errors, albeit I do advocate proper proof reading and editing as well, and in doing so I have really gotten into the stories. One or two I have even found very difficult to put down once started. But I guess from the lists of famous authors I absolutely love the books by Wilbur Smith and Robert Ludlum. Also at a personal level I read a book called Shiny Pennies and Grubby Pinafores by Winifred Foley, she also wrote Child of the Forest which was all about the place where I was born and a time when my parents lived a similar life to hers. Very nostalgic.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My wife's right foot! Only joking, I think if you could see where and what I live in you would understand that is sufficient inspiration, especially now I work from home. Just wish we were able to share it with our families a little more, one of the prices you pay for moving to a new country I guess. But they come whenever they can and we do take time out to go back and visit. So getting the mix of work and leisure right is important, time to relax and enjoy the world we live in and time to do some work and get some job satisfaction, both important ingredients in life.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.