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 worked 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:

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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)