Throughout 2008, I conducted interviews nearly every day, scoured the internet, and collected videos, photographs and documents. All the while, I had assumed that my publisher would pick up my Fallujah book. Marines in the Garden of Eden had made me a little money and Berkley Publishing seemed to be pleased with my sales. So, I spent very little time on my book proposal and when I submitted it to my agent, she insisted that I include a sample chapter. At the time, I only had the first chapter written, so I spent a few weeks cleaning it up and then I added it to my proposal. BIG MISTAKE!
New Dawn is a compelling compilation of stories of young American heroes. The stories will touch your soul. At the time, Chapter 1 was little more than an introduction to the bigger story. It wasn’t long before Berkley sent me a letter in which they declined to purchase the option on New Dawn. I was crushed.
Let’s back up for a moment. I found my agent in 2004 and she sold my Marines in the Garden of Eden manuscript shortly thereafter. I thank her for the effort she expended in signing me with one of the largest publishing houses in the world. Unfortunately, she never lifted another finger on my behalf. After Berkley dumped me on my head I told her that I wanted to rework my proposal and wait until I could add a compelling chapter to add, before she had to shop it around.
I set to work writing Jason Arellano’s story and completed that chapter next. After three months of hard work, I re-submitted my proposal to my agent and waited. She was supposed to shop the story around. I continued to wait, and wait, and wait. Finally, I contacted her and she told me that Berkley was going to reconsider my proposal (something they rarely do).
So, I waited some more. I waited for months. I tried contacting my agent and she ignored my repeated emails and telephone messages. Finally, I contacted the editor directly and she informed me that they had declined again.
I immediately fired my agent and asked for a release letter from Berkley.
Dejected, I wrote a post on op-for.com to tell my followers of my misfortune. Within a week, I heard from LtCol Nicholas Vuckovich, whom I had personally interviewed at Quantico. Nick had left the Marine Corps and was now working at the Marine Corps University. He offered condolences on the loss of my publisher and offered to help.
He told me that a friend of his, Gunny Nick Popaditch, had just published a book about his experiences in Fallujah, Once a Marine, and his difficulties in recovering from serious wounds and then returning to civilian life. He offered to put me in touch with “Gunny Pop” in hopes that he could help me get the attention of his publisher.
I contacted Nick and we were talking with each other on the telephone within a couple days. As luck would have it, Nick was about to meet with Ted Savas of Savas Beatie LLC. He told me that if I could get him a copy of my proposal, he would personally hand it to Ted and put in a good word for me to boot.
I signed a contract with Savas Beatie a couple months later and then I was back on track. Now, I could return to devoting all my attention to completing New Dawn. Furthermore, now I had a deadline.
Losing Berkley and finding Nick Popaditch, Ted Savas and Savas Beatie LLC was the best thing that ever happened to me. I had been a tiny fish in the Putnam/Penguin ocean of authors. But now I am a valued member of Savas Beatie’s elite group of authors. We have been working together as a dedicated team toward the common goal of bringing New Dawn
to the marketplace. Today, I am a happy camper.