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About the Author

About the Author

If you're wondering how I qualify to write this book, let me explain with a thorough introduction.

Who Am I?

I've been working with personal computers since the mid 1980s. In 1990, after an extremely boring career as an auditor and financial analyst (I have a bachelor's degree in accounting), I began a freelance career as a writer, computer consultant, and computer applications trainer. By 1992, I was writing how-to books for popular computer applications. (I've written 28 books since then. You may see estimates of "billions and billions," but it only seems that way.)

I got involved with the Web in 1995 when one of my clients decided to build a Web presence. I learned HTML and started building Web pages. Since then, I've built quite a few Web sites for small businesses, including most of the local Web sites illustrated throughout this book.

My Web work has taught me many things that I think are vital to the success of a small business Web site. It has also helped me develop my own Web authoring philosophy, which is constantly being refined. This is some of the information I'm sharing in this book.

These days, I spend most of my working hours writing computer how-to books and articles and maintaining the Web sites I've built. My labor of love is wickenburg-az.com (http://www. wickenburg-az.com/), which I hope you'll find time to visit.

When I'm not working, I'm nowhere near my computer. Instead, I'm usually outdoors (weather permitting; it gets pretty darn hot here in the summer!), working in the garden, horseback riding, motorcycling, off-roading in my Jeep, or flying a helicopter.

Why I Wrote This Book

I wrote this book for one simple reason: I was sick and tired of seeing small business owners getting ripped off by unscrupulous Web consultants and ISPs. (You'll read some real-life horror stories throughout this book.) I wanted to empower people like you by taking the mystery out of the Internet and Web publishing so you can use them to your benefit.

Let's face it: unless your business is in the computer industry, you probably don't know much about computers. That's fine—you don't have to. But if you want to build a Web presence, you need to understand enough about the process to prevent hungry (or greedy) consultants and ISPs from taking advantage of you.

That's where I can help. I might not be totally objective (I do have my opinions), but I am honest. I'll give you the facts and the benefit of my experience. I'm on your side. I'm not trying to sell anything (other than this book, of course), so I'm not motivated to lie or stretch the truth—like the Internet professionals who want your business.

How You Can Contact Me

I enjoy reading feedback about my work—especially positive feedback. And although I don't like to hear about errors, I need to hear about them so I can publish corrections on the book's companion Web site, http://www.smallbusinessonweb.com/. I depend on you to let me know how I'm doing.

The best way to contact me is via e-mail: maria@gilesrd.com. I get dozens of e-mails a day, so I can't promise a response. But I do eventually read all messages and appreciate the time you've taken to write.

And I hope you can visit me in my virtual home, http://www.marialanger.com/. That's where you can learn more about me and the things I do.

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