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Interview: George Papadogonas, co-author of Drupal E-commerce with Ubercart

George Papadogonas is the co-author of Drupal E-commerce with Ubercart 2.x which helps you build, administer, and customize an online store using Drupal with Ubercart.

George is the owner of a small web development firm, located in Athens, Greece. He started his career as a freelance web developer in 2000 and works with small and medium size enterprises. He has an experience of working on many development platforms, but fell in love with Drupal in 2007 and with Ubercart in 2008. He is a member of Drupal Association and an active supporter of the open source community. He can be reached at can reach him at george AT infowonders.gr or @infowonders on Twitter.

Packt: Your book is published now. How is the feeling of being a published author?

George: The initial writing phase was a bit scary. After the book got published, I kept thinking if it is good or not, if people are going to like it or not. Thank god, most of the reviews are good and we are receiving a positive feedback on the book. It’s a great feeling!

Now, whenever I have a difficult task on hand and I feel pressed, I take a look at the book and think to myself, “You completed this. It was much more difficult than the tasks that you have on hand now”. This always makes me feel more relaxed.

Packt: What benefits did writing a book bring to your specialist area?

George: Well, writing a book on a specialist area is like a “compact bio on steroids”. You don't have to prove your expertise in the area. Just saying that you wrote a book proves it. People still consider writing a book to be a very important work.

Packt: Our authors usually have full-time jobs whilst writing for us. Was this the case for you and how did you approach managing your time?

George: I work as a freelancer web developer, so it's not unusual for me to work 50 or 60 hours a week. Just before I started to write the book, I was afraid that it would be impossible to find the required time. As I started to examine how I was spending my time daily, I realized that I could save 2 to 3 hours every day, just by eliminating unimportant tasks. I stopped watching TV, I started to read the news 10 minutes a day instead of 40, I deleted half of the RSS feeds from my reader. This was the first change, I started to put limits on everything and I stopped doing all the unimportant tasks.

It was also very important that when I was writing the book, I was always offline. Working in big blocks of time, without interruptions, is the only way to be in the “flow” and increase your productivity.

Packt: Whilst writing your book, did you find that it overshadowed personal life in any way? How did you deal with this?

George: As I mentioned before, I tried to eliminate all the unimportant tasks, thus keeping quality time for myself and my family. Actually, while I was writing the book I was also training for a Marathon. I ran the Rome Marathon on March 21st and the very next day the book was officially published.

Packt: Do you have any advice for other authors who may be interested in writing for Packt, but are still unsure?

George: One day I was looking on Packt's web site for Drupal books and I saw this little box that says “Propose a title”. As Ubercart was my main expertise and I knew that there weren't any books about it, I wrote “Ubercart” and clicked the “send” button. The truth is that I totally forgot about it, because I didn't believe that anyone would be interested. To my surprise, after a few days I received an e-mail from Packt, with a book proposal form, asking for more information about my book idea. That's how it all started and eleven months later I was a published author.

I could never imagine that I would write a book, but I did it. So, my advice is just go for it without a second thought. You're going to enjoy the procedure and you're going to be proud about it for the rest of your life.

Packt: Do you have any tips for other authors, or tricks that you learnt whilst writing, that you'd like to share?

George: Stop procrastinating, sit down, concentrate and write.

Packt: How did you find the overall experience of writing your book for Packt?

George: Packt uses a well structured procedure and helps authors at every step, from the beginning to the end. When I started, I knew nothing about what it takes to write a book. They sent me useful guidelines and templates , they responded to every question, so the whole experience was very pleasant.

Packt: During the writing process, did you come across any issues/ difficulties that affected your writing and how did you overcome these?

George: It was not easy to be fully committed to the writing of the book. Work or personal issues are always there to distract you and to keep you behind schedule. If you start to panic, it's even more difficult to write and soon you become fully paralyzed. I had to deal with this stressful situation a couple of times.

The solution for me was to take a couple of days off, remind myself how important for me is to complete this book and relax. Afterwards, it was easier to continue to write, be relaxed and be concentrated.

Packt: Was there anything interesting that happened during the writing of the book?

George: Well, I finished it, what's more interesting than this?

Packt: How did Packt’s Acquisition Editors help you - what kind of things did they help you with and how did they support you throughout the writing process?

George: Packt has a great support team, from day one until today. The acquisition editor was like a guardian angel for me, always there to guide me through the process, to solve problems, to kindly remind me the deadlines and patiently help me to meet them. Thanks Chaitanya.

Packt: What projects, if any, are you working on at the moment?

George: As always, I'm working on some very interesting Drupal and Ubercart projects.

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