Interview with Nick Pendrell

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon, England - a small town which is famous for just one thing. - the birthplace of Shakespeare. In fact I went to the same school as him. As a result, English was a very important subject and I can thank the school for enabling me to write in a way that is both error free in terms of grammar and spelling (although spellcheck can also take a lot of the credit!). My birthplace also helped my writing by being quite boring, which led to my constant moving from continent to continent, which has definitely made me more 'worldly-wise'.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing as a hobby in the Nineties. I soon discovered that I don't have the imagination for fiction though. My first book actually came out as a complete accident. I was planning on writing a long blog entry for my website about investing in international property and got a little carried away - ending up with 25,000 words. This was picked up by a niche publisher and received some good feedback, which motivated me to write more.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I had been living in Egypt, but revolutions are not great advantages for a country's real estate market and so I was forced to look for pastures new. Pattaya in Thailand seemed to be the fastest-growing international real estate market in the world at that time (and still is) and so I just packed my suitcase and headed over to the city. Writing a book about the property market here was an obvious decision as I had had success with my previous book about property in Egypt. So I spent a couple of months researching the market in depth and, a month later, Pattaya Property and Thailand's Real Estate was published.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I am a total control freak! My writing background started off with writing for the internet and so I was used to publishing my material in a matter of seconds. There is no way that I could wait the 12-18 months that major publishers need to put out a book. Thanks to modern technology, it is possible for me to go from a blank screen through to having a printed paperback in my hand inside three months. And it will be exactly the way I want it to be - no arguments about cover images, etc.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords makes it very easy to reach a global audience with my ebooks. Being a non-fiction author who specializes in very niche subjects, I have a small audience that is spread throughout the world. Through Smashwords' cooperation with Apple, my ebooks are available in countries which are not covered by Amazon, such as Australia and Scandinavia, which are significant markets for me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It allows me to be creative and to write what I want, when I want. I write for several magazines, but have to write to strict guidelines here, which doesn't give me the same amount of freedom as I have in my own books.
What do your fans mean to you?
Being a non-fiction author who writes on a variety of topics, I am never going to get a following in the same way that a fiction author who writes in a particular genre gets. However, the feedback that I receive from readers who give me good reviews and who sometimes write to thank me is enormously rewarding and motivates me to keep on writing. I would definitely not have written any more books had the feedback for my first one been overwhelmingly positive.
What are you working on next?
This depends on a lot of factors. The book I would like to write is something along the lines of 'A Non-American's Guide to Buying US Real Estate'. This is probably going to have to wait a while though as I have too many other non-writing projects under development currently.
Who are your favorite authors?
I must admit that I am not a great reader of fiction. I much prefer non-fiction, particularly narrative non-fiction. Bill Bryson is definitely one of my favorite writers and other writers in the travel/humour niche (which is a lot harder to write than a lot of people think it is!)
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Caffeine! I am a total night owl and write well into the night when I have peace and quiet and am not getting interrupted by phone calls and emails all of the time. Often I will write until 6.00am and then get up in the middle of the afternoon. I am totally addicted to coffee and Diet Coke and so this is usually what gets me out of bed eventually.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Usually I am working on other projects, most of them internet related and so I spend well over 12 hours per day in front of the computer. I enjoy the challenge of setting up new businesses and starting new projects but have a very low boredom threshold. This is another reason why I write my books so quickly. I know that, if I spent more than three months on a project, then I would get frustrated with it and move onto something else more interesting.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
As I very rarely read anything other than non-fiction, I discover books through search engines - it could be that of Smashwords, Amazon or Google. I always check reviews and word count before I buy to avoid buying anything that's really bad.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I'm afraid not. It would have been something written at school, the details of which have been lost in the mists of time (and I am sure it was terrible so better that it stays there!)
What is your writing process?
I am very organized, which is vital when writing non-fiction. I usually start out with a list of the chapters I want to include, organizing them in the most logical way possible (chronological is always good if the genre works that way). To avoid writer's block, I bash out a first draft of the book as quickly as possible. My style is very conversational, which means that I write as if I am explaining something to a friend over a drink in a bar, which takes a lot less effort than trying to sound more clever than I really am or need to be. I can therefore write very fast - sometimes as much as 5000 words in a day, never getting caught up on a particular section. I then start all over again on a second draft which adds more details and cleans up the writing. Finally there is the third version, which is when I go through and copy edit everything. This is the most boring part and the hardest work for me, but vital as I have seen so many self-published books that are ruined because the author didn't take the time to go through the book one last time checking for silly little errors.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a marketing background and so have been commissioning artwork for more than twenty years now. Although I don't have the technical skills to create the covers myself, I can mock up the covers and then hand it over to a professional graphic designer who cleans up the design and formats it correctly.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Strangely enough, it is my Samsung Galaxy smartphone, despite the small screen size. I use the Kindle app or Moon+ for .epub books. The advantage of the Galaxy is that it is always in my pocket and so always with me. I read mostly when I am having dinner or while waiting for appointments and so it is a good way of using up time which would otherwise be wasted.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Strangely enough, it is one that is not often discussed in the many books and articles that I have read on e-book marketing. I make a list of all of the newspapers, magazines and websites that are relevant to my audience and approach the editor asking if he or she would be interested in my writing an article on my subject in return for a byline and a mention of the book. All media is looking for content and so quite a high proportion of them agree. This gets the word out to thousands, if not millions, of potential buyers - something that would be impossible with social media, etc. Another advantage is that several of the magazines were so impressed by the article that I became a regular contributor, which is a nice little extra source of revenue.
Describe your desk
Disgusting! Being a complete internet geek, I have two huge monitors for my PC. This is vital as I make a lot of research online and so need to be able to write on one screen while reading from the other. I am sorry to say that I am a chain-smoker and so there is usually an overflowing ashtray next to my keyboard most of the time!
Published 2013-09-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Immobilien in Thailand - Wohnungen und Villen in Pattaya: Wie man Apartments und Häuser in Thailand käuflich erwirb
Price: $6.49 USD. Words: 53,910. Language: German. Published: June 30, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Real estate / buying & selling homes, Nonfiction » Travel » By region
Geschrieben für Investoren sowie jene, die sich für ein Feriendomizil oder gar für ein neues Zuhause in Pattaya, Thailand, interessieren, ist dieses Buch eine leicht verständliche Lektüre, in der annähernd 50 Wohnanlagen beschrieben werden und den Leser durch den kompletten Prozess der Auswahl, des Kaufs, bis hin zur rechtlichen Eigentumsregistrierung einer Immobilie führt.
Pattaya Property and Thailand's Real Estate - How to Buy Thai Condominiums, Apartments, Homes & Villas
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 64,700. Language: English. Published: July 21, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Real estate / buying & selling homes, Nonfiction » Travel » By region
*2013 Edition - Fully Revised and Updated as of April 2013* Written for both investors and those looking for a holiday home or permanent residence in the Pattaya, Thailand, the book is written in a light and easy-to-read style, covers nearly 50 developments and guides the reader through the entire process of purchasing real estate in the city through until the legal registration of the property.
Internet Marketing Bible for Accountants: The Complete Guide to using Social Media and Online Advertising including Facebook, Twitter, Google and LinkedIn for CPAs and Accounting Firms
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 116,360. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Marketing, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Accounting
Written specifically for accountants and CPAs, the Internet Marketing Bible for Accountants provides a step-by-step guide for accounting firms to harness the power of the internet and social media to market their practices effectively and at very little cost compared to traditional advertising methods. This comprehensive, but easy-to-read book is written for those with only basic computer skills.