Interview with Donn LeVie Jr.

What are your five favorite books, and why?
I'm going to focus on non-fiction books that help me with my non-fiction projects (my non-fiction books help build my platform as a career strategist/consultant/speaker)

1. The Well-Fed Self Publisher by Peter Bowerman. GREAT advice to indie authors on all aspects of self-publishing. Peter updates all his writing/self-publishing books from time to time to ensure readers get the most current information.
2. How to Make REAL Money Selling Books, by Brian Jud. Brian reveals many different and little-known distribution channels (and ideas) for selling more books.
3. 1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer. The title says it all--so many great unique ideas for getting more sales.
4. Beyond the Bookstore by Brian Jud. Even more great alternate distribution channels for authors.
5. (TIE): The Publishing Game: Publish a Book in 30 Days (and) The Publishing Game: Bestseller in 30 Days both books by Fern Reiss. Great blueprints and step-by-step process for laying out your book project and getting it done.
How do you approach cover design?
I use PublishPros to design my covers. Rich Carnahan is an incredible designer who first gets a feel for the cover by reading the book manuscripts. PublishPros also offer full-service marketing and editing services at a VERY reasonable rate. I asked Rich to design my most current career strategy book, and because he did such a good job capturing the visual brand I was looking for, I had him redo the cover to my previous career strategy book, Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (Second Edition).
What do you read for pleasure?
I read a lot of biographies and American history. I am particularly interested in books about the American Revolution, especially anything to do with George Washington.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use a Kindle (an older version).
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have had very good success selling my books at conferences where I am a speaker or conducting training sessions. I offer 40% discounts when purchased in case quantities.
Describe your desk
Stacks of papers, books, marketing materials, notepads, pens, various digital device charge cords, notes, Post-it Notes, all in disarray but I know EXACTLY where everything is.
When did you first start writing?
When I was in college, I always opted for the term paper option instead of taking a final exam, whenever I could. I began freelance writing science articles when I began working as a research geological oceanographer with NOAA. I've had 80 papers published in the earth and space sciences, marketing, management, and communications over my 30-year career.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Strategic Career Engagement: The Definitive Guide for Getting Hired and Promoted dives deeper into the methodology and processes job seekers and career changers must be aware of in order to improve their chances of receiving the job offer. It's the follow-on book to my award-winning, CONFESSIONS of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (Second Edition).
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The best experience for motivating any author to become an indie author is to have dealt with the traditional publishing process. Small advances, even smaller royalties, and no control over the marketing. My first book was published around 1990 by a traditional small press publisher. It was a co-authored project that ended up badly (the co-author fabricated nearly all of his expertise and background) and I barely made enough on royalties to cover the small advance.
What do your fans mean to you?
I'm not sure if I have "fans" but I do know I have many people who have benefitted from my career advice in my books, my personal consultations, and in my seminars/workshops. To be able to help people achieve their career objectives sooner than later provides me with a lot of personal satisfaction knowing my advice has high value.
What are you working on next?
Working on several book projects, but one on the front burner is a career strategy book for returning U.S. servicemen and women.
Who are your favorite authors?
For history, I enjoy reading Nathaniel Philbrick.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Several things. My writing projects; working on promoting my work on social media. I also perform classical guitar with my flute partner, Joyce Davis, and together, we are Allegro Austin. We perform in churches and at other public/private functions with music from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. I have a recording studio in my home and spend time there nearly every day.
In what way do your books factor in to other areas of your professional life?
My career strategy books are simply one element of the career strategy platform I am expanding. Books help disseminate the messages and strategies I teach in seminars and workshops, or keynote speeches. In addition, books, seminars, speeches help me obtain additional consulting assignments. And those elements help sell books. In actuality, these elements all work together to expand that platform.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm usually in my studio working on new classical guitar music, or I'm reading.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, but spent my first 18 summers at my grandparents in my hometown of Gloucester, MA. I developed a strong interest in reading at a very young age, and that has carried throughout all my life. I don't think where I grew up had any direct influence on my writing.
Published 2015-10-13.
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