Interview with Ben Mandell

You now have a second book. How did this second book come about?
The first book (Don't Pay Any Flight School More Than $2500 In Advance) started selling and it seems folks like to read what I have to say. I wanted to see how the first book did before I committed to a second one. The first book is directed squarely to those that want to become pilots. (either private or commercial). I wrote the book that I wish someone had given to me before I went to flight school. I absolutely believe this is the best book that you could give to any prospective pilot.

The second book (Pilots on Food Stamps) is directed to the general public. However it is also a good primer for future and present pilots that can't figure out why their pay is so low. Much of the information in the second book has been known in the industry, but no one has ever put all of the information down in one place using actual numbers and names. I was able to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together so that the readers can see the big picture. Because airline flights are being canceled and passengers are being affected, I thought it was time that the public have this information. Most people reading this book have been shocked to learn what has been going on.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have an iPad and an iPhone. I use the iPhone the most. It just makes my life easier. My wife has a nook and she will not give that up!
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Over the past several years, I made a lot of connections within the aviation industry. Most of the folks that I have met like me. A few don't! When I decided to write this book, I sent the original drafts to aviation people that work in the industry for their feedback. I wasn't sure what kind of reaction that I would get. The reaction was overwhelmly positive. Since the book is just being released, I feel that the people within the aviation industry are going to be the best marketing team that I could ever assemble. My hope is that every beginning flight student has a copy of this book.
Describe your desk
Do you really want to know the answer to this? I have several desks because I work in several offices. All of my desks are what my wife would call cluttered. Although they are cluttered, I can't stand trash, so there isn't any trash around except in the trash can which I frequently empty. I figure it's just about impossible to be creative and not have a cluttered desk.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was an Air Force brat. My dad was in the Air Force and we moved around a lot. We were in California, England, Iowa and Nebraska and then back to California. When dad retired from the Air Force, we moved to North Carolina and that is where I went to high school and college.
There is no question that moving around a lot did influence my writing. When you experience many places, those experiences are filed away in your brain. It is amazing that those experiences can come out later in life when you need them.
Another important point to know is that when you move around a lot you have to make new friends all of the time. Air Force brats get pretty good at that. We tend to see different points of view a bit easier than "normal" folks.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing in High School. I was on the High School newspaper staff. In college I was on the yearbook staff.
I had my own business while I was in college and out of necessity, I had to write a lot of manuals for the business. Later when I got into the motion picture and television business, I wrote movie and television scripts. Today, most of my writing consists of web content.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Oh you had to ask that! I sold my business in 2007 and for the first time since I was 16 years old, I did not have a job. Since I was 10 years old, I had always wanted to fly jets. Although I had been a pilot since 1988, I never thought it was possible to ever be able to fly a jet. In 2007, with no job and some free time, I decided to enroll in an airline training school to actually learn to fly jets. It turned out the school was a scam and they took millions of dollars in pre-paid tuition without furnishing the contracted training. I helped the students organize a website and get the word out about what this school was doing. That website was up without a problem for almost 5 years. Then the isp started taking down the website because they claimed the information on the website was too controversial. They would not unfreeze the website until I agreed to remove the content that they had a problem with. There were three censored sections. Those censored sections are in this book.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Gary Coxe is a friend and fellow pilot. He has written a number of books. I was on a trip with him and told him that our website was being censored. He made a few suggestions and one of those suggestions was to write down a few pages about what was going on. It turned out that I wrote a book.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords holds the key to ebooks kingdom. I had never heard of Smashwords until someone told me about it. All I have to say is WOW!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I really wanted to get this story out. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it. I wasn't even sure if I could do it in a form that would be interesting and engaging. The greatest joy on this project is seeing it all come together. That happens to be the same joy in all of my writing.
What do your fans mean to you?
If I can save one prospective student pilot from losing $70,000 on pre-paid flight training then I will consider this a success. My hope is that flight instructors and flight schools will recommend this book to their prospective students.
How do you approach cover design?
I am not even close to a graphic artist and I know it! So I hired a graphic artist to produce the cover. I gave the graphic artist a blank slate with a couple of suggestions. He came back with 5 sample choices. I could have used any of the 5 designs and they would have worked. I sent the choices out to about 3 dozen aviation folks and they seems to pick this one the most, so that is the one that I went with.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I tend to like non fiction biographies. I have an interest in business so I have read a lot of business biographies.
What do you read for pleasure?
I usually read the news online.
What are you working on next?
I have a couple of projects in the pipeline. But I want to see how this book does before I release another.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I always have a to do list. I always move something on that list forward each day even if it just a little bit. That always inspires me.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I fly airplanes of course!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No!
What is your writing process?
I just start typing.
Published 2016-05-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Everybody Loves Uber--The Untold Story Of How Uber Operates
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 15,830. Language: English. Published: May 14, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Transportation » Public Transportation, Nonfiction » Transportation » Automobiles
Everybody Loves Uber: The Untold Story Of How Uber Operates Is An Eye-Opening Read Into The Intricate Issues Surrounding This Disruptive Service. Ben Mandell's back with his third book, having conducted in-depth research and analysis in the working of the most revolutionary advancement in modern transportation history: Uber.
Pilots On Food Stamps --An Inside Look At Why Your Flight Was Cancelled
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 19,910. Language: English. Published: September 20, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Education and Study Guides » Vocational, Nonfiction » Transportation » Aviation / Commercial
(5.00 from 5 reviews)
Pilots On Food Stamps is a true to life account of the current pilot shortage facing the United States. The author uses real time-lines and actual pilot wages to demonstrate how airline flights are being cancelled and passengers left with few options. While airlines make billions of dollars in profits, the American taxpayer is paying for the food stamps that many airline pilots qualify for.
Don't Pay Any Flight School More Than $2500 In Advance
Price: $12.99 USD. Words: 25,170. Language: English. Published: February 4, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Education and Study Guides » Vocational trades, Nonfiction » Career Guides » Transportation
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
If you have ever dreamed about being a commercial or private pilot, you need this book. Aviation is a wonderful hobby as well as an incredible profession. This information will help help you save thousands off of your pilot training costs. The author details how to pay for your training as well as how to avoid the traps. This book has the censored information the bad guys don't want you to know!