Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Something New and Extraordinary

A couple of weeks ago, completely out of the blue, I got an email from the CEO of a publishing house Savas-Beattie, a guy named Ted Savas. Here's their website. Savas-Beattie is a going concern which has published many books. It's no mom and pop operation. So to get back to the story. Basically what this guy wanted was to recruit me to work for them as a writer/editor on a book project. To wit: a complete rewrite of a book co-authored by a couple of guys who . . . well, let's put it this way: their strong suit is not writing. The book is about the second day of the battle of Gettysburg, the attack on the left center of the Union line. If I agreed to do this work, I would be listed as a co-author with the other two guys and share equally in royalties.* I jumped at this chance to not only get my name on the spine of another book, but a Civil War battle book at that. To be identified with that particular genre is a desirable cachet for a historian of the Civil War, because interest in the battles is steadily considerable and battle books sell.

In the course of the email he indicated that there is a lot more work for me where this came from. A lot more. So I'm basically hired on as an employee of this company for as long as I care to be. 

This is an amazing thing that's happened. First of all, I am an excellent editor/writer, it's probably one of the few things I do really well. In fact, this kind of stuff, reworking other people's stuff (not to mention writing history) is something I've done for my whole working life: in my regular job as historian in the DoD and as a friend and colleague to other historians who get me to edit their stuff. People keep coming back to have me do it for them again, so that's pretty good indication that they are pleased. Ted Savas is thrilled with the 25-page sample I've submitted on my work for this book.

So, bottom line: I'm just tickled plumb to death with this. Fantastic that something like this just falls into my lap. If I were to design a job for myself, this would be it. And I have to mention that I have my dear friend Larry Hewitt to thank for this. He mentioned me and my work to Savas. Thank you, bro! I really owe you for this one.

*Indeed, this book manuscript is going to undergo a huge make-over. Let's put it this way. I will fully earn the right to be on that title page.
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