BTU #95 - Andrew Watts: Navy to Full-time Author


“I wrote two books before I decided to leave [Proctor & Gamble] and do write full-time. You've got to have a steady source of income, you've got to have savings, and you have to have a clear path to getting to profitable replacement income for where you were. There's no real get-rich-quick path to self-publishing. I definitely think you need to have a list of products that are already out there and a proven track record before you start doing it as a full-time job.” - Andrew Watts

Andrew Watts is the author of three books, The War Planners, The War Stage (The War Planners) (Volume 2), and Pawns of the Pacific. Andrew started out at the Naval Academy in 2003 and served as a naval officer and helicopter pilot until 2013. He started his civilian career at Proctor & Gamble for nearly four years, first as an Assistant Brand Manager and then as an Initiative Operations Leader. He published his first two books while at P&G before making the transition to full-time author in 2017.

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

  1. Operations - Andrew started his civilian career in Operations, since he had experience with Operations in the Navy... but he found out that there's considerable differences between the two. He talks about Operations at Proctor & Gamble (and in the civilian sector in general) and the differences from what one might expect coming from the military.
  2. Proctor & Gamble - P&G is a company with a fantastic reputation, and also has a reputation for loving military veterans. Andrew talks about how, after only hist first week at P&G, he started to receive recruiting calls trying to lure him away. He talks about the interview process, how to prepare, and what life at P&G was like.
  3. Side projects - Andrew wrote his first two books while working full time at P&G. For any veteran wanting to pursue their own company or idea, he has great advice about how to make progress towards that goal before jumping off into the unknown.
  4. Writing - after publishing his first two books, Andrew took the plunge to become a full-time writer. He talks about this in a way that made me realize that it's akin to running a company entirely by yourself - marketing, publishing, getting cover artwork done... and doing it entirely by yourself. For any aspiring veteran writers, it's a great look at this creative lifestyle and the world of self-publishing.

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Show Notes

  • 3:18 - Andrew's background
  • 3:54 - How Andrew would explain what he does for a living as a full-time author
  • 4:40 - For aspiring veteran authors, how important it is to have sustainable income prior to launching a career as a full-time author
  • 6:00 - How Andrew decided to leave the Navy
  • 7:45 - How Andrew used the Service Academy Career Conference to find his way to P&G
  • 9:12 - What Operations in the civilian sector and at P&G, and how it differs from Operations in the military
  • 13:13 - How P&G boosted Andrew's credibility within the business world and lead to head hunters calling him only one week after starting there
  • 15:36 - An overview of the hiring & interview process at P&G
  • 18:55 - What Andrew would have done differently when negotiating his first contract at P&G
  • 20:06 - How Andrew would explain his roles at P&G as an Assistant Brand Manager and then as an Initiative Operations Leader
  • 24:26 - What Andrew's life looked like while working at P&G
  • 30:24 - How Andrew was able to write two novels while working full-time at P&G, and advice to veterans seeking to start a side project while working full-time
  • 36:42 - An overview of Andrew's work as an author and the incredible traction he's received so far
  • 37:57 - How long it took Andrew to write his first book while working full-time, and then his second book
  • 41:14- Advice to veterans debating between self-publishing vs. using a publisher
  • 43:45 - When Andrew first thought of writing, and how writing on a deployment lead to his though of becoming an author
  • 46:30 - Resources Andrew would recommend to any veteran aspiring author
  • 48:27 - How Andrew structures his day when he has an open landscape for his own work and advice on how to stay on task