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Showing posts by: John Sargent click to see John Sargent's profile
Thu
Aug 29 2013 11:55am

A Final Salute To Matthew Shear From His Friends In The Flatiron

Matthew Shear

Yesterday we lost a great publisher, but more importantly we lost a remarkable man.

Matthew worked with us for 18 years and was always, in every way, a larger than life character. He had that big outgoing personality, that loud cheerful laugh and that huge gap-toothed grin that arrived when he saw you coming. And if that grin wasn’t there, you knew it would be there soon enough. As a publisher, he knew a good book whenever he read one and he knew who would like it. He knew how to sell it and he almost always figured out how to make a few bucks along the way. His secret was that he didn’t think it was a good book, he believed it was a good book. He didn’t think we could sell it, he knew we could sell it. And once he believed in a book and in the person who wrote it, he poured his whole self into convincing everyone that they simply had to have it.

As a man, Matthew fought his long cancer battle without a single sign of self-pity. For the last three years, every other Thursday, he endured chemotherapy. He dealt with the effects over the weekend and was back at work, his usual self, on Monday. Almost none of us knew. He never wavered. He always put us before himself and there was never a dip in his determination to do the right thing. Every day he emptied himself into his work and into sharing his joy in it. In facing his greatest challenge, Matthew showed enormous courage and dignity—we should all be more like him.

We have been flooded over the last few days with an enormous outpouring of love for Matthew from every corner of the publishing world. And with that affection came the many stories. Yes he dressed as a dwarf. Yes he appeared as a prostitute. The man would do anything to sell a book. But here is one simple tale to describe the very core of Matthew Shear:

A young woman sits in a hotel lobby at a romance writers convention. She wants desperately to be a writer. Unwilling to leave her infant at home, she sits with a very loud and agitated baby, her confidence frayed and feeling that everyone is bothered by her and her child. A burly man walks up, pats her shoulder and with a big grin says simply “what a cute baby!”

When a great publisher passes, it is customary to offer a list of authors he worked with. For Matthew it was about all the authors large and small, and about all the people. It was about the small things he did every day for everyone. All of us here have our memories of that moment he discovered how to make our day brighter. “What a cute baby.”

Thank you to everyone for the outpouring of sympathy, prayers and good wishes for us and for our beloved publisher.

But mostly thank you, Matthew, for giving us so much of yourself. That is the good stuff and we will miss it so terribly.

Fri
Feb 8 2013 11:00am

A Message from John Sargent

Dear Authors, Illustrators and Agents,

Today we agreed to settle our case with the DOJ. We settled because the potential penalties became too high to risk even the possibility of an unfavorable outcome.

There are two reasons we did not settle earlier.  First, the settlement called for a level of e-book discounting we believed would be harmful to the industry. We felt that if only three of the big six publishers were required to discount and we stood firm, those problems might be avoided. But when Random House agreed to be bound by the Penguin settlement, it became clear that all five of the other big six publishers would be allowing the whole agent’s commission to be used as discount, and Macmillan’s stand-alone selling at full agency price would have no impact on the overall marketplace. And in addition, your books and our business would have a pricing disadvantage for two years.

The second reason was simpler. I had an old fashioned belief that you should not settle if you have done no wrong. As it turns out, that is indeed old fashioned.

[Read more]

Wed
Dec 19 2012 4:50pm

A Message from John Sargent

To Macmillan Trade Authors, Illustrators, and Agents,

Last weekend I wrote you a letter which I planned to send today. Last night, Penguin settled their lawsuit with the DOJ, and Random House agreed to be governed by its terms. After some long thought, I’m sending you the letter I wrote unchanged. That is because our position has not changed. So please read on.

[Read on]

Wed
Apr 11 2012 11:30am

A Message from John Sargent

Dear authors, illustrators and agents:

Today the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Macmillan’s US trade publishing operation, charging us with collusion in the implementation of the agency model for e-book pricing. The charge is civil, not criminal. Let me start by saying that Macmillan did not act illegally. Macmillan did not collude.

We have been in discussions with the Department of Justice for months. It is always better if possible to settle these matters before a case is brought. The costs of continuing—in time, distraction, and expense— are truly daunting.

[Read more]