Interview with Dr. Penny Pincher

Describe your desk
Since I have downsized to save money, I no longer have a desk. I use an upholstered chair with an ottoman that I bought for $38 and write with my 7 year old laptop. This is a very comfortable arrangement. I have a nice view out the window and a quiet place to work. Sometimes I move to the dining room table or couch to work for a change of pace and to be with my family. Using a laptop to write is very convenient since I can move around so easily.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use my old laptop computer with a 17 inch screen as my e-reading device. Not exactly leading-edge technology, but I can read everything I want on it and it is portable. I have several free programs I can use to read eBook files, or .pdf files work fine too.
How do you approach cover design?
I think designing the book cover is one of the most difficult parts of publishing a book. As you can see from my book covers, I use a pretty simple approach. I took the photo of the "leave a penny" container that is on the cover of my 2nd book at a convenience store on the morning that I published that book!

I have tried a number of photo editing tools, but found that using PowerPoint to do the layout for the book cover works well and I then export the book cover from PowerPoint to a .jpeg file and adjust the image size as desired.
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy reading "Jack Reacher" books by Lee Child just for fun. Lately, I find a lot of interesting things to read on-line. I have found some interesting free eBooks on smashwords. I also like to read blogs about personal finance and coffee blogs.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have a blog, Penny Pincher Journal, that gets a lot of traffic. I added a page to my blog called "Buy the Book" which links to sites to purchase the book. I recently published a free eBook as a marketing technique for my first eBook and for my blog. I think it is hard for a reader to spend money to buy a book from an author they have not read or even heard of. Hopefully the free eBook will be a way for readers "try before they buy".
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on a small farm in north Iowa. My family was very frugal and we grew a lot of our own food and took care of things ourselves. This was a great way to grow up, and continues to be a source of ideas as I write about ways to spend less money.
When did you first start writing?
I had an outstanding English teacher in high school, and did some creative writing back then. I was in an honors English class in college, but didn't write much after that. I came back to writing in 2013 when I started writing my blog, Penny Pincher Journal. Writing a blog was an easy way to get into writing- it is informal and there are no hurdles to getting something published that anyone in the world can read. I wrote my first eBook in 2014. Writing a book is a much larger project, and there is more work to get the manuscript formatted correctly. I need to decide now whether to focus on my blogs or write another book.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Pinch Like You Mean It! 101 Ways To Spend Less Money Now is my second book. It is a free eBook that is focused entirely on spending less money. I started writing it on my cell phone while on an airplane a couple months ago. It started out as a list of my best tips on spending less money. I ended up with 101 tips and decided to add details to each tip to make a book. I decided to offer this book for free to gain a wider audience- people who want to read about ways to spend less money are reluctant to spend money to buy a book!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to publish a book in a way that is similar to how I write my blogs. I didn't want to mess around with lots of editing, finding an agent, etc. I had developed a lot of useful material that I wanted to share with readers, and I was ready to publish right away. In fact, I published my first book over a single weekend, including developing the book cover. For me, publishing my own book was an easy way to get my material out there in a format that is convenient for readers.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has slick tools for publishing an eBook. As I mentioned, I was able to format and publish a book in a single weekend. You can get an ISBN for your book and publish it free on Smashwords. The "meat grinder" takes your Word document and produces all kinds file formats for eBooks. Marketing channels are another benefit of working with Smashwords- my books are available from Barnes and Noble, Apple iTunes, and many other books publishers that have marketing relationships with Smashwords.
What are you working on next?
That is a great question! I recently finished my 2nd book, and am deciding on my next project. My blog Penny Pincher Journal is getting a lot of traffic, but I noticed that my coffee blog Coffee Maker Journal is also getting a lot of traffic. I could focus on developing these blogs by writing more articles. I also write for a site called HubPages which generates income for me, so I could write more there. Plus, I have lots of ideas for other books that I could write. I am not sure what I'll work on next- stay tuned...
Published 2014-12-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Great Coffee: Craft Your Cup of Joy
Price: Free! Words: 5,380. Language: English. Published: March 20, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » Beverages - Coffee & Tea
Discover how you can make exceptional coffee at home for a fraction of the cost of ordering coffee at the coffee shop! Learn the characteristics of great coffee and how you can make great coffee every time using inexpensive equipment and simple coffee brewing techniques. Once you have experienced great coffee, you'll never go back to mediocre coffee again!
Pinch Like You Mean It! 101 Ways to Spend Less Money Now
Price: Free! Words: 26,180. Language: English. Published: December 15, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Personal finance, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Budgeting
(5.00)
Pinch Like You Mean It! is all about ways to spend less money. Why give so much of your hard-earned money away by spending it? Get 101 free tips on how to spend less right now. Topics include duct tape and other cheap repairs, how to get furniture for almost free, what steps to take in a financial emergency, and many tips on practical ways to spend less money every day.
Penny Pincher Journal: How To Save Money Every Day
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 40,520. Language: English. Published: February 16, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Personal finance
Penny Pincher Journal provides tips on saving money every day. Spend a day with Dr. Penny Pincher and learn to save $17,000 per year! Dr. Penny Pincher has a Ph.D. in engineering and likes to share the ways he has found to enjoy life more while spending less money. Learn how to spend less money on food, shoes, clothing, heating, fitness, razor blades, gasoline, coffee, pet food, and much more!