Interview with the Smart Home Professor, author of How to Make Your Home a Smart Home

What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?

Over the past few years, the use of Smart devices has exploded to the point where 35-40% of homes in the US have at least one Smart Home device in the home.  That does not include your WiFi routers, smartphones, tablets or computers.  Once the realm of high priced custom installations, it is now possible for the average person to create their own Smart Home.  This journey takes time and money, but with the right guidance, you can end up with a stellar result without wasting either of these precious resources.

When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

That is an interesting question because as a young man studying in University, this is the last thing I ever thought I would do.  As it turns out, I became an engineer working on Internet related technology just as the whole Internet phenomenon was taking hold.  Things were changing so fast that I ended up spending the majority of my figuring out how things work and then teaching others.  Most important is to cut through all the technology jargon and explain it all in simple terms.  When I first built out my own Smart Home, so many people wanted to know how to do it in a simple way, that I just decided to write it all down.

How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?

I think the most important thing for me was to break everything down into bitesized chunks and then just write what was in my head.  It didn’t matter that first version might look like a mess, but each section just keeps getting better and better.  Once I have a number of sections written, I try to create some structure and flow and then it starts to look like a book.

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?

Whether the book is displayed online or in a store, people generally have only a short time to scan covers to decide if they even want to read the title.  The title should provide some intrigue as to the nature of the book so that a purchaser would want to flip through the pages to decide if they want it or not.  So, yes, both are important and even more so now than in the past.

Does a bad review affect your writing?

Genuine reviews, both good and bad are important to read and take seriously. Ultimately, these are your customers and we stand to learn the most from the people buying and using what you created.  I have completely re-written and re-structured large sections of books based on reader feedback.

Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?

Yes, all of them.  I decided to self-publish shortly after submitting my draft to a few publishers, getting rejected and being encouraged by numerous published authors to go on my own.  I still hired professionals to do the work that most publishers do but am left to market the book myself.

Have you ever marketed your own books yourself?

Yes, all of them.  This is an ongoing learning process using various online social media platforms, online advertising, local seminars and more.  I would recommend that until you figure out how to do this, have another source of income to put food on the table.

What does the word ‘retirement’ mean to you? Do writers ever retire?

Great question.  Retirement to me means that you have the means to do what you want, when you want.  If that means writing a book, working at Home Depot, traveling the world or trying out for the Olympics, then you are retired, as long as that is what you want to be doing with your time.

How many children do you have? Do you see any young writers in any of them?

We have 2 daughters in their 20’s.  One barely reads at all and the other one wrote some amazing comic illustrations when she was in her early teens.  Its hard to know where all this will lead either of them down the road, but you can never count anyone out from putting their thoughts to print.

Being an author, how susceptible are you to getting recognized on the street?

Fortunately, that has never been a problem.  This is not a goal for me anyway as the things I write are just meant to help people and not to create fame.  Fame doesn’t look like that much fun anyway so I am happy if people just find my book useful and it helps save them do something they didn’t know how to do.

How long do you take to write a book?

When I write a book, I try to base it on my own experiences so first, I have to do the experience.  The first version usually flows out of the fingertips in a few months of stop and go action, but the editing and rewriting usually take 2-3 times as long.  It’s a bit like listening to a song on the radio, singing it to yourself and you think it is wonderful how great your voice is.  Then you sing it out loud and get “sshhhhed” by the people around you and you know there is more work to do to make it great.

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