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.

Mordicai Knode
1. mordicai
It was an honor & a pleasure to know him & work with him.
2. emlocke
He always replied to my memos, usually with "Great stuff!" Sometimes I felt like my stuff was just "stuff" until Matthew gave it an upgrade. I'll miss that!
Irene Gallo
3. Irene
People talk about “that laugh” but, truly, the halls were alive anytime Matthew was around.
4. Sharon Kelly Roth
I have known Michel for years and admired his enthusiasm, wit, intelligence and innate sense what what makes a great book, but most of all I admired his welcoming nature. He delighted in everyone he met, and showed it. He will be missed but certainly remembered.
5. Peter DeGiglio
What a great guy to have known.
6. Sorche Fairbank
Wow. What a loss. Lately, I only ran into him once or twice a year, but he was always the same wonderful, warm, absolute king of a person. He's missed already, and my condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.
7. Fritz Foy
He made working in the Flatiron building a joy and I will miss our early morning discussions. I learned much from him and am blessed to have known him .
Brian Heller
8. bheller
In the 16 years I worked with Matthew there was never a dull moment. He was a force of nature with that rare ability to bring out the best in others. It was my good fortune to have him as a friend and colleague.
9. BrittneyK
Though many fond memories come to mind, I'll keep it short.

Thank you Matthew -- your jolly laugh, your frank, cut-to-the-chase working style and open-door policy aka "Come visit me anytime, Brittney!" made working on your team an unforgettable experience. From the first day that you insisted I stand behind your desk on the point of the Flatiron to get that beautiful view, to my last Secret Santa party at SMP before I moved centrally, you always made sure we had an environment where I could voice my hopes & concerns. You put up with a lot from all of us, but that's what made SMP so great -- it was like one big family.

We'll miss you, but I think we all agree we'll take this opportunity to make you proud.

10. Jay Cosgrove
I remember as a bookseller meeting Matthew and thinking, "That's what publishing is really about". He covered it all, and will be missed.
Jenny Thrash
11. Sihaya
Very sorry for your loss. Sounds like a wonderful person.
12. Sue Ostfield
What a shock. My sympathies to Matthew's friends, family, and colleagues. I remember him always as a tremendously kind person.
13. Robert B. Wyatt
It might be a curious thing to say, but it takes quite a man to receive such a beautfully written tribute. Matthew brought luck to SMP, and it brought luck to him.
15. Darynda Jones
Just a fantastic person. This news broke my heart and I know that of those he worked and played with. Prayers and warm light to all he touched.
16. Lori Handeland
He was always so happy. It made my life brighter to have known him.
17. Geoff Duffield
I was a Brit that appeared in The Flatiron for a few days every now and then. Matthew simply made me feel like one of the family. He had a force field of joy emanating from him.
18. Ted Bell
Dear Ted: A great shame.

All best, Peter
19. jedwards
It was my pleasure to work with Matthew for over 11 years.

Matthew was the only person I ever knew who could tell you to "f*** off" to your face and you would laugh with him a second later. He was one of a kind.

Matthew's dedication and enthusiasm for the books he published made me a better sales rep. He pushed me to do better by him, and by extension, all the other publishers under the Macmillan umbrella.

His laugh, good nature, and common sense wisdom will be greatly missed. You always knew when Matthhew entered and left a room.

You will never leave our hearts. Peace and love to SMP and the Shear family.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment