Yes, GovX members can now save on bestselling books. You read that right. Now take a minute to let that resonate. Leading the literary charge is Blackstone Publishing, a company that’s been busy stacking our site’s shelves with critically acclaimed military thrillers, mysteries, classics, and film novelizations. Everything you need to be a well-read American. We recently had the distinct pleasure of touching base with Brian Andrews and Jeff Wilson, Navy Veterans and co-authors of the new novel DEMPSEY: A TIER ONE THRILLER.
Here’s a little bit about their work in their own words.
Veteran Values, Entrepreneurship and Finding Purpose by Brian Andrews and Jeff Wilson
As Navy veterans turned bestselling authors, we strive to honor active-duty and veteran military members through our work. We endeavor not only to get the details of military operations, equipment, and tactics right but also to showcase the dedication and sacrifice of those who serve. We understand the toll that military service takes on service men and women and on their families, and friendships. We write thriller novels, but it’s the characters and their relationships that power Andrews and Wilson stories. Equally important, we never forget our oath and obligation to protect those still at the tip of the spear, which is why we fictionalize anything that could violate OPSEC or give our enemies an advantage
Like everyone that transitions from the military, we struggled with how to apply the skills and knowledge we gained on active duty in the civilian world. Whether you’re writing the next bestseller, starting a small business, opening a restaurant, or finding another job in the DoD or government sector, you need to remember that there are others who have paved the way before you, that your teammates are still out there, and there are those who want to help. When active-duty personnel separate from the military and become veterans, they lose their structure, purpose, and team literally overnight. Many veterans try to find purpose and recreate that structure on their own through entrepreneurship. But starting a business is more difficult and challenging than most veterans anticipate. Even for the highly motivated, starting over is harder than most veterans ever imagine it might be.
“Starting a business is more difficult and challenging than most veterans anticipate.”
After Naval service, we both found second careers in the private sector—with Brian working in the power industry and Jeff as a vascular surgeon and DoD contractor. At that time, we didn’t know each other and traveled in completely different professional circles. Even though we were both making a living and supporting our families, we both felt the pull of wanting to do something more. When you’re a storyteller at heart, you can’t NOT tell stories. So, independently from each other, we both set off on the path to becoming novelists, writing manuscripts on nights and weekends.
Breaking into the publishing industry was more difficult than either of us imagined. We didn’t talk the lingo. We didn’t know the processes. We didn’t have any connections. And here’s where the irony kicks in. We met at a thriller writer’s conference during the opening night cocktail party—because how can the only two Navy guys not run into each other in a room full of hundreds of people? Like most veterans, we had a ton in common and shared similar experiences in service. We spoke the same language and quickly discovered we were struggling with all the same challenges trying to find success as new authors. That’s when the decision to team up and collaborate happened and Andrews & Wilson was born.
“Living a life in the pursuit of principled goals frequently requires putting one’s individual desires and wants second.”
By teaming up, the values and ethos that we’d lived by in the military became possible for us again. We didn’t have to “take the hill” alone. We didn’t have to carry the load all by ourselves. We were able to leverage our individual strengths and augment each other’s weaknesses—not only in the craft of writing but in the daily grind of executing the business side of being authors. What a lot of people don’t realize is that being a novelist—a novelist that earns enough money to live off—actually is running a small business. Neither one of us had the time or experience to build our brand, negotiate contracts, write the books, figure out the marketing and publicity, and navigate social media alone. We needed the force multiplier effect of working together to compete.
“The solution to most problems can be found within the veteran community itself.”
As our books and our brand began to gain traction, we expanded our outreach to other veteran entrepreneurs. We figured if two veterans teaming up was a force multiplier, why not expand it! We connected with Eli Crane at Bottle Breacher, Jason Piccolo and his Protectors podcast, Tim Cruickshank, CEO of Bonefrog Coffee, Tom Satterly of the All Secure Foundation, and Brian Doughtery at Declan James watch company, just to name a few. In teaming up, we gave each other access to new potential customer pools. We decided to co-promote, helping drive discovery and brand awareness across multiple channels for all of us.
“Veteran entrepreneurs who’ve found success in the civilian world make the best mentors and partners for aspiring veteran entrepreneurs.”
What we realized was that the solution to most problems can be found within the veteran community itself. Through outreach, connection, and partnering with other veteran entrepreneurs, veterans who are struggling alone can rediscover the community, fraternity, and purpose they’ve lost. Through sharing lessons learned, best practices, and co-promotion veterans get a force multiplier effect they would not otherwise have.
We attribute our success as a co-author team to the principles and values we gained during active duty military experience and from seeking the wisdom and cooperation of like-minded individuals in the veteran community. Veteran entrepreneurs who’ve found success in the civilian world make the best mentors and partners for aspiring veteran entrepreneurs.
If you’re a veteran looking to find success in an entrepreneurial endeavor, here are the four tenants of our success we’d like to share:
Navy veterans Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson (Andrews & Wilson) are the writing team behind the WSJ, Audible, and #1 Amazon bestselling TIER ONE series which has been optioned for television. Brian is a nuclear engineer and Park Leadership Fellow who served as an officer on a fast-attack submarine. Jeff is a vascular surgeon and jet pilot who conducted combat operations with an East Coast–based SEAL team and worked in covert government task forces.
They have 20+ published novels and have sold over a million copies across media channels. Their other works include the SONS OF VALOR series, the SHEPHERDS series, and ROGUE ASSET for the WEB Griffin estate. They have been tapped to write the 24th installment in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novel series by Penguin Random House. In addition to their novels, Andrews & Wilson has a half dozen original works in development for film and television with the following studios: Endeavor Content/Fifth Season, Imagine Entertainment, PictureStart, Skydance, Sony, and Walden Media.