Baen is one of my favorite publishers.
I've always appreciated their catalog - some of my all-time favorite authors are included therein - but, until recently, my interaction with the company has been limited to my general approval of their ability to find and publish good authors. Said approval being demonstrated by buying an unusual number of their books.
The recently had a Veteran's Day contest, though, which required naught but an email to enter. Being a veteran (USN, if you're curious), I fired off an email in the faint hope that I might win a couple o' books.
What did happen, though, was that I got a this reply from Baen:
Dear Mr. Robb,
Thanks for taking part in our Veteran's Day contest! (Though another vet did win the free books.) I wanted to take the opportunity to personally thank you for your service to our country on behalf of the entire Baen staff. We were very moved by the enthusiasm of the responses.
I am unsurprised to report that Army took the honors, by a comfortable margin (there are a lot of Hammers Slammers fans out there), but the Navy came in second and all the services were well represented. Canada had the most from our foreign contingent, but we also heard from Australia, Sweden, the UK, New Zealand, Italy, Greece, South Africa, Croatia, Finland, Belgium and even Former East Germany.
You should know that we are happy to send "care packages" of books to any service members currently deployed. Just let Laura at [ info at baen dot com ] know a mailing address and preferred format (hardcovers, pbs, CDs for the submariners) and we'll be happy to send them out. This we do year 'round, not just for Veteran's Day.
Most sincerely,Toni WeisskopfPublisher, Baen Books
We'll ignore the obviously rigged vote here (Army? Really?) in favor of the last paragraph, which - as far as I'm concerned - contains the real prize of the contest. While I didn't win anything personally, which is a bit of a bummer, Baen has let me know that they'd be delighted play the role of Santa Claus for my friends overseas. Not just for Christmas, either - they'll do it any time of the year.
Seriously? I send you some info, you send out some books, and someone far away gets a few hours of happiness in the middle of an otherwise mind-numbingly boring and/or terrifying deployment?
This is made of win. Pure win, topped with Nutella.
Ms. Weisskopf? You're awesome. Laura? You're awesome, too, m'am. All you folks at Baen who have anything to do with this? Again - awesome.
Put all that awesome together, and I submit to you, there's really only one possible conclusion.