The pitfalls of privatizating the military is a major theme of my novel. Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army bestowed on me invaluable insight in my development of that theme.
To a long-struggling writer who never got into it for the money, an advance is an advance, and if a company is willing to give you one plus take on all the expenses involved in publishing your work, you better take it, dummy.
There’s a common, not terribly clever term many writers use to capture the toil and frustration involved in the submission process: banging one’s head against the wall.
Why expend the energy of replying to an unknown author’s email? Just because you state on your company web site that you welcome unsolicited emails and make every effort to respond in a timely fashion? Pfft, get real.