Capt. Benjamin Tupper, a member of the New York National Guard who blogged about his experiences overseas, has just closed a deal with NAL for his book, Welcome to Afghanistan, Send More Ammo. Tupper, who originally self-published the book--its lengthy subtitle is The Tragicomic Art of Making War as an Embedded Trainer in the Afghan National Army--has an interesting backstory: he got an agent, and then a book deal, after an appearance on NPR, compliments of Garry Trudeau.
Tupper's path to authordom is, according to his new agent, Doug Grad, one of those serendipitous publishing stories. Doonesbury creator Trudeau, who runs the military blog the Sandbox, picked up some of Tupper's blog posts, which led to NPR tapping the captain--who's soon to be a major--to do some broadcasts of Morning Edition from Afghanistan.
When Tupper returned to the States from Afghanistan, armed with a series of blog posts and broadcasts, he decided to compile his war reportage and musings into a book, which he published through a Rhinebeck, N.Y.-based vanity press called Epigraph Books. When Tupper's book, available only through Amazon via print-on-demand, shot up the e-tailer's bestseller list--jumping from the high 300,000 range to #102--after an appearance on NPR, the soldier took the advice of some of the radio station's staffers and went looking for a traditional publishing deal.
Grad, who worked with his newest associate George Bick (formerly of Ballantine and Regan Books) on the deal, said the pair signed Tupper two days after receiving his manuscript. After an auction last week, with five publishers bidding, Brent Howard at NAL took North American rights and plans to publish the title in hardcover through the house's military imprint Caliber at a still-to-be-determined date in 2010.