Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Best Wishes, Not Good-Bye!

© Marta Stephens 2009 all rights reserved

I’ve been sitting on some news a couple of months, but now that it’s public knowledge, it’s only fitting to share with our MB4 readers a bit about my publisher, Caitlin Myers.

I met Cait in 2004 when she administered BeWrite, a UK author’s forum. For me, it was an eye-opening experience at a time when the Internet wasn’t yet busting at the seams with author forums, social sites, and other groups (or at least that’s what it seemed like to me). It was a special place, a small, nurturing, energetic group that gave a good number of writers, including yours truly, the nudge we needed to get ahead in the publishing world. BeWrite worked hard at encouraging new talent. They provided critiques, lively discussions, and the chance to get our short stories and poetry published on line. A couple of years later, the firm dropped the forum to dedicate their energies to book publishing and became BeWrite Books (UK).














It wasn’t until July 31, 2006, that I began to get to know Cait really well. By then she had been named publisher of BeWrite Books and requested the full manuscript of my debut novel, SILENCED CRY. As a result of working with her, I've found myself using several words to describe her. A few of them are, sharp, professional, level-headed, amazing, understanding, funny, (I mean how many publishers have taken your book to the London Book Fair and shot a picture of it just to make you feel a part of the total experience? :) She labeled this pic, "Sam Tours London." And when I wanted photos for my web, she sent the one I posted at the top.) personable, savvy, tough, did I mention professional? And the word that's always at the top of my list, lady.

When my debut novel in the Sam Harper Crime Mystery Series was ready for press and going through the final proofreading, I read through the pages and began to panic. The guidelines clearly stated “no major changes” ... I had several. This was my first experience working with a publisher and I certainly didn’t want to anger her, but the clock was ticking and there I was, biting my nails and questioning every line I’d written. After reading some of the horror stories other writers told of their experiences when questioning the process, I wasn't sure what to do. But Cait listened with the patience of Job, understood my jitters, and said, “We want you to be happy with it.” Proof that she trusted my judgment as much as I respected hers. A lesser person would have probably said, “Tough tea cookies, kid. Next!”

In the end, when it came to quality, we both knew it was worth the sweat to get it right. The proof is in the awards.

By the time THE DEVIL CAN WAIT was released in November 2008, she and I had become close friends. E-mails flew between Indiana and Germany every day. At times, I’d open my e-mail to find 8 or more waiting for me to respond to edits, the art work, book trailers, marketing and promotions, author interviews, virtual book tours, signings, reviews and a multitude of promotional ideas she wanted me to consider. Of course, there was that little matter of the “curse.” It even affected things on her end, files missing, formatting gone, etc. Fun times. We never knew what the day would bring, but whatever the issue, whatever the delay, she always came back with, “No problem. It’ll get done. Cheers!”

Okay, so now to the news. Having said all of this, imagine how I felt when I first received word that Cait planned to leave BeWrite Books, the company she helped build, by the end of July 2009. My head spun around for a day or two and a pea green substance spewed from my lips.

Okay, maybe I exaggerate ... a little ... but not by much. Sam Harper said it best, "That's when the knot rose to my throat and wedged against my windpipe."

Now that I’ve had time to digest things, I’m okay and I know Cait will be too. Hey, what did you expect from two strong-headed women, anyway? Sure life sometimes shoves us into a revolving door called change, but a little shift in life, no matter how cruel, often opens the doors to unexpected and exciting new challenges. It’s the cup’s half full attitude that keeps that old spark lit and forces us to go in directions we would have never gone to on our own.

I'm grateful for the opportunity I've had to work with Cait and even though she won't be a part of BeWrite after this week, those e-mails will continue to zip across the globe. I also know she’ll visit us here at Murder By 4 from time to time. You'll also find Cait on Facebook, Twitter, and a host of other blogs so stop by and wish her well. The most exciting news of all though is that she and I will meet for the first time this fall when she visits the States. I can’t wait!

So this Friday, July 24, when Cait turns over the reigns to her successor at BeWrite, my best wishes will be with her. I’m not going to cry or say, "I’ll miss you Cait." Instead, I'll raise my glass and wish her the very best.

Thanks, Cait for believing in this newbie. Maybe Sam Harper would have gotten published by another press, but Sam and I agree that it wouldn’t have been half as much fun without you.

To read more about Cait Meyers, please visit: http://bewritebooks.blogspot.com/2009/06/publisher-caitlin-myers-to-leave.html
* * *
Marta Stephens is the author of the Sam Harper Crime Mystery series published by BeWrite Books (UK)

THE DEVIL CAN WAIT – (2008), Bronze metal winner, 2009 Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPY), Top Ten, 2008 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)

SILENCED CRY (2007), Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book Festival, Top Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)

http://www.martastephens-author.com
http://samharpercrimescene.blogspot.com
http://mstephens-musings.blogspot.com
http://murderby4.blogspot.com

12 comments:

Terry W. Ervin II said...

From my perspective, I can only agree that Cait Myers has really moved BeWrite Books forward over the past couple years. I'm sure she'll be missed by all of the authors and editorial staff.

Kim Smith said...

Cait has been my friend mostly vicariously through your trials and triumphs, Marta. I feel as though I am losing my publisher too!

God bless Cait and all her future endeavors. I know with her special brand of knowledge and expertise she will fare well where ever she sails!

Kim

s.w. vaughn said...

Marta, what an awesome tribute. And I love these pics!

All the very best to you, Cait. I hope you'll still drop by and visit!

Cait said...

Wow, I didn't expect that,what can I say except thank you, Marta. You may not cry but I am - so much for being a professional :) You're a good friend and you know there's no escaping me in future.

Thanks, Terry, it's good to know that the things I've done have been recognised.

Kim, it feels like you're one of the team too!

SW, thanks, I don't think Marta will let me forget to visit.

Cheers

Cait

Marta Stephens said...

Cait! You didn't REALLY think I'd let you go without throwing a party, did you? :()

Cyber hugs to ya!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Cait is a wonderful person - I've always enjoyed our brushes against each other in the virtual world.

Warmest wishes to you, Cait, and to your exciting future. I know it will shine brightly!

Joe said...

A lovely tribute, Marta. I too am grateful for having the change to get to know Cait and for all of her help. Best wishes on your future endeavors, Cait!

neilmarr said...

Seeing Cait go after all these years isn't easy -- though your tributes take the sting out like an ice cube on a moquito bite. Many, many thanks.

But don't forget ... she's not just going, she's going ON!

She's a bright and bubbly young lass of 34 and starting a whole new adventure with a year-long around the world tour where she'll see things in places most of us didn't even know there were places.

And while she's empowered authors so far this century, authors have empowered her. She's absolutely bursting with enthusiams (which is good) and curiosity (which is better).

Cait would be the first to agree that her association with our wee band of creative writers has been of as much inspiration and encouragement to her as it has been to the scribes.

As always in a partnership, Cait and I have not always seen eye to eye: If we had, there would have been no excitement and no progress. We always hit middle ground and it always worked. As any BB author will tell you, this outfit ain't nothin' if it ain't a democracy. I'm going to miss her.

New publisher Geoff Nelder has some pretty big boots to fill. But Cait -- dedicated to BeWrite and its authors -- has been working along with him, showing him the BB ropes and smoothing the way over the past couple of months and all will be well.

I very much doubt that she'll lose touch with her friends whilst on her travels. Cait ain't like that. If there's a knock on your door at midnight, it might well be her -- bearing a plate of something scrumptuous she just happened to cook up.

Yep, Friday will be a sad day for the wee team at BB. But it appears from everything that's happened since the changeover was decided upon that she's as excited as we are about Geoff taking the reins.

Geoff's not half as pretty as Cait, but he's a darned nice chap, tremendously qualified in all aspects of the job, and determined to play his part.

Thanks again, Marta, for your lovely words. Cait will treasure them.

Love to all. Neil Marr (ed bb)

Cheryl said...

I've never met Cait, but judging by how great your Sam Harper series is, I can tell that you two made a great team. I hope you'll have the chance to work together again in the future.

Best wishes to Cait as she enters a new stage of her career.

Good luck and God bless.

Cheryl

Marta Stephens said...

Thank you all so much for stopping by. Really appreciate it!! :)

Kathryn Magendie said...

To Cait! *clink*

Andrea said...

Good luck Cait in whatever you do. You certainly helped me out when I most needed it!

All the best,

Andrea