Interview with Merl K. Miller

What motivated you to become an indie author?
During my 26 year career as a financial advisor, I met with over 5,000 middle class families in their homes. Three things motivated me to become an indie author. First, the middle class is hurting but it doesn't have to be that way. There are some simple straightforward ways to deal with money but most people get their advice either from someone who is more screwed up than they are or someone they can't understand. I used to have a cartoon on my office wall. A stockbroker is talking to a couple. In his bubble are all kinds of things about how an investment works. In the couple's bubble it says gobbledygook, gobbledygook, gobbledygook. It helped me remember to keep it simple.

Second, the money management books are written by stockbrokers who never dealt with the middle class so they have no idea when the average family's concern's and problems are.

Third, traditional publishers take too long to publish books. Money management can't wait for a traditional publisher to publish a hardback book. Besides, I read about 15 books a month and I read 14 or more of them on my iPad or my phone.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords opens up a world of options. I am still discovering all of the things Smashwords does. For instance, many of my potential readers read books on their phone. Smashwords makes it possible to reach these markets and others I wouldn't reach otherwise.

The real strength of Smashwords for an author is the education. Smashwords does a wonderful job of teaching authors what to do and how to do it.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Helping people.

I know that short answer doesn't say much but it is my greatest joy. When I was a financial advisor, I helped thousands of people but it is not enough. For instance, over my 26 year career I helped a couple of hundred people deal with debt collectors. There are 35 million people in debt to collection agencies. My first book, How to Fight Debt Collectors and Win can reach thousands rather hundreds.

When I am writing a book, I am thinking about the person who is going to read it. I want to make it easy for them to understand and I want to make it extremely useful. I know how important this is. The number one cause of divorce and breakup is lack of communication and the number two reason is money. I would guess that the number one thing they fail to communicate about is money. I know that my job as a financial advisor kept hundreds families together. Now, I want my role as an author to keep thousands of families together.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite author is Richard Bach who wrote Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I also like a large variety of motivational and inspirational authors such as Zig Ziglar, Jack Canfield, Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer.

My favorite fiction author tends to change on a regular basis. Recently I discovered Michael Grumley, Christopher Allan Poe, Diane Capri, Christopher Nuttall, and Walter Knight.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
A long to do list inspires me. Most people don't know whether they will live to be at least 80. I do! I am 71 and I am about 9 years behind so I'll make it to 80.

Okay, enough silliness. I know that families suffer because of money problems. I can't help everyone but I can try!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to read and I love children. When I am not reading, I spend my time with my best buddy who is 4 years old. He was born the day before my 67th birthday so we are ideally suited for each other. I know the names of the Ninja turtles but I still have a little trouble telling them apart so he has some work to do.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I search in the categories I like. When I find an author I like, I search for other books by that author.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No but I remember the first story that had an impact on me. It was Secret snow, Silent snow. It is a short story written in 1934 by Conrad Aiken. As a kid, I loved to read science fiction magazines. I loved authors like Issac Asimov and Anne McCaffrey.
How do you approach cover design?
My wife designed my first cover. Because it is about people being in the red, we made it red. I'll have future covers professionally designed.
What do you read for pleasure?
Science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read on either my iPad or my Samsung Galaxy S3.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I've found mentioning my book and my ideas on Twitter is very effective.
Describe your desk
My desk is mostly clean. I'm organized. I have two desks with a computer on each.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in Wyoming. I was the second of seven children and I had a wonderful childhood because I had a wonderful family. From that I developed the idea that families should love each other. My Dad had a 5th education and my Mom lacked graduating from high school by one year. My Dad worked on the railroad so they never had much money but they managed it well. I learned that anyone can manage their money if they focus on what's important.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote short stories in high school.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach Why? It shows anyone can be anything.
The Greatest Mystery in the World by Og Mandino Why? You choose your life and how people see you.
The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer Why? How is our life supposed to turn out and why.
See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar Why? How to get up every morning with a smile on your face.
Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins Why? It showed me my true self.
What is your writing process?
I develop a massive set of notes and then whittle it down. For instance, for my next book Find Money Every Day, I have 350 pages of notes which is equivalent to about 525 ebook pages. I go through my notes looking for ideas and develop an outline. Then, i put both the notes and outline aside and write my first rough draft. I use the first rough draft, the outline, and my notes to develop the second rough draft. Then, I go through it trying to think like a reader and ask myself a series of questions. Is this easy to understand? How can this be improved? Is this necessary? I develop a third draft by answering those questions.

The only way to really measure the impact and flow of a book is to read it aloud so I read the third draft aloud. If there are parts that I think are either particularly good or particularly bad, I read them aloud to my wife who corrects it. Then, I write a final draft that she edits. Finally, I go through one last time and make sure it says what I want to say.
What's the story behind your latest book?
How to Fight Debt Collectors and Win is a result of the agony I saw in my clients. I have seen what money problems do to families. I want them to have a chance to fight back.
What are you working on next?
Find Money Every Day is the most fun I can have. It is based on manifesting money. I've been able to it for years and I've taught clients to do it.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. I don't care whether people like me or not and I don't really care if they like my books. I want my fans to benefit from what I say. To me, the greatest review in the world is one where someone says they saved hundreds of dollars because of what they read in my book.
Published 2013-11-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

How To Fight Debt Collectors And Win!
By Merl K. Miller
Series: The Essence of Money, Book 1. Price: $4.77 USD. Words: 17,590. Language: American English. Published: September 28, 2013. Category: Nonfiction
Are you tired of calls from collection agencies? Are you worried about what will happen if you don't talk to them? Would you like a solution? In this inspiring and sometimes funny book, you learn what to say and when to talk to them. You'll also learn what letters to write, how to write the letters, and who to address them to. Read this book now and get these jerks off your back!