Scoop Interviews: Nick Snelling, Culture Spain

Nick Snelling

Interview by Nancy Todd

Nick Snelling runs Culture Spain an  information site on Spain and he is the author five books, three of which are about Spain, including ‘Taking the Heat’ and ‘How to Buy Spanish Property and Move to Spain – Safely!’ He has just had a further book published called ‘The Laptop Entrepreneur’ which is a basic user’s guide on how to make an income using the Internet. Nick has lived in Valencia Province, Spain for the past nine years with his wife and two children.

1. What motivates you as a writer to sit at your computer and hammer it all out?

I do not think any writer can stay in front of their computer for long unless they have a genuine passion for writing. Certainly, I love the English language and I always get a buzz from starting out with a blank sheet and then creating something that works: that is compelling, well-argued and interesting.

 Probably like many writers, my true love is writing fiction, which can be immensely challenging and exciting. However, unfortunately, fiction does not pay the bills and so I find the vast majority of the writing I undertake is factual. There is some pleasure to be had out of this although the research to what needs to be written is often more exciting than the writing itself! That said, writing articles and factual books is an excellent way to hone a writer’s craft, particularly as brevity and clarity are crucial, given the short attention span of readers (particularly on the Internet).

2. Why did you decide to start your site?

Initially, my main web site Culture Spain was started as a promotional tool for my books about Spain. However, almost immediately, the site developed its own momentum and it has turned into a popular authority information site, known for its ‘no holds barred’ approach to any analysis of Spain. As such, it has exceeded my original expectations and has become an income earner in its own right.

3. What overlooked gems in Spain do you recommend to travelers?

Aragon! Travel around the Beceite area of the Province, for example, and you come across a Spain that is enchanting. There are fortified medieval villages perched on the top of small hills, long, tree lined valleys with rivers (that you can swim in) and endless walking and climbing.

For somewhere coastal – Gandia is a ‘must’ if you want to visit the last ‘secret’ of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. It has the best beaches in Spain, dramatic green mountains rising up almost from the coast, excellent walking, climbing and riding and a vibrant town that has completely avoided mass international tourism. Brilliant – as a place to live or holiday.

4. How do you see the future of the internet affecting your business?

I hate to state the obvious but the Internet is the future, not just for me – but for almost everyone. It is an unavoidable part of business life and crucial to anyone wanting to earn an income independently, a point I make in my new book The Laptop Entrepreneur. Of course, the Internet is constantly evolving but the fundamentals remain much the same and, if you can understand these, then you can use the Internet (as many friends of mine do) to power your business or to develop an independent income.

How will the Internet change things for me, directly? Well, if all goes well, it will provide me with an income wherever I want to be in the world – so long as there is an Internet connection! This means freedom to live where I like and to move when I want to, a mobility most of us crave…

5. What are your favourite foods in Spain?

I am ashamed to say that they are all traditional English dishes! After nine years here, I crave British cooked roast beef or roast lamb, shepherd’s pie and English gammon and (heresy, I know) – if I never see another paella then I shall have reached nirvana!

4 Responses

  1. Nick Snelling is a Blogger who I followed because he tells it as it really is in Spain in reference to politics and society here. This include the ‘warts and all’!
    I’m pretty sure Nick was one of the first to do this within the Expat Spain blogging fraternity and it was needed.
    I recall being on the receiving end of severe criticism for daring to challenge upbeat propaganda about the property market in Spain in 2009 about recovery in the sector.
    My view was that this type of ‘talking-up’ was only adding fuel to the fires of mistrust created by the joke that became the Spanish Property Market and those rogues within.
    What was needed was an openness and sharing of all that was terrible as a means to expose a failed system and to ensure newcomers to Spain and those already living here could understand the risks and be driven to finding credible estate agents and other professionals to help them without any worn out con-man smoke and mirrors.
    I think this approach has worked and those remaining property marketers that remain hopefully will have learned about transparency and trust in customer services so that the whole sector can build a reputation for excellence that results in GOOD press not bad.
    In terms of migration to Spain and the property related sector, I think that there is enough Spain bashing now across the global media about these issues to exert so much pressure from outside that Spain must now understand the self damaging ‘brand’ reputation it had allowed to fester into a strategy for a better Spain.
    It is not so much that negative press is all people want hear as I really do not believe this at all. Its more about being negative to shock the system into change and I believe Nick has contributed valiantly to this cause.
    I do feel the audience of those thinking about moving to Spain and those who have already moved here need as much knowledge as they can muster, positive AND negative, so they can make better informed and wise decisions and Nick Snelling has been an inspiration to me in this respect.

  2. admin says:

    Christopher, thanks so much for your comment! Good to hear from a Nick ‘fan’!

  3. bill says:

    Hmmmm, First and foremost Nick is an estate agent, you should ask his clients if he told it warts and all. Estate agents posing as authorities on all things Spanish give me the willies, wolf in sheeps clothing if you ask me.

  4. admin says:

    Bill, you have a good point. Our experience with Nick, however, has been very positive and his views on the economy in Spain aren’t all roses.

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