Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Questionless Books Interview: Penguin Publicist Stephen Myers

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"Stephen Myers"

In The Questionless Books Interview, I get a whole bunch of books people (from authors to editors to publishers to sales/publicity/production people, booksellers, designers, librarians, readers, etc) to "answer" a series of unspoken "questions". The results highlight a delightful mix of the opportunities and challenges facing our sector: from doom and gloom to sunshine and rainbows, and every irony in between.

Stephen Myers is a publicist and book lover known for his crazy schemes to promote books. Like most book publicists, he lives in Toronto where he works for Penguin Canada.

Stephen's Links:


I am...Stephen Myers, a publicist for Penguin, a father of one ten month old child, a husband to a very pretty wife, a reluctant supporter of George Smitherman and Dalton McGuinty, an alcoholic (laughs… uncomfortably)

I am known all manner of stupid shit in the name of book promotion.

I do this in...Toronto, the centre of the universe.

I do this because...I can.

I do this when not watching the Leafs lose, drinking lite beers, watching Friday Night Lights, reading Michel Houellebecq or trying to teach my son not to chew on the toilet seat.

The way I do this discovering, or in some cases creating, a compelling story about a person, then retelling it in a compelling way to someone else who will hopefully retell it in an even more compelling fashion to a significant audience.

At its core, a Writer is...someone who fits words together in a way that other people can’t.

As opposed to an Author, who is...the same thing with a fancier title.

A Writer is responsible for...creating something worth reading.

As opposed to an Author, who is responsible for...the same thing.

At its core, Publishing is...a business, a cultural one, but a business all the same.

As opposed to Editing, which art of persuasion.

A Publisher should always...remember that that books are a cultural product, much like movies, music and sitcoms.

As opposed to an Editor, who should always...remember the same.

A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others is...thankfully no longer a pile of paper.

As opposed to a Book that's ready to be ready by others, which is...thankfully still a pile of paper most of the time.

A Manuscript should simply typeset for review on an e-reader.

As opposed to a Book, which should printed and bound in a pretty jacket. Or readily available as an ebook for teenagers and other people who don’t like building shelves quite as much as I do.

At its core, Bookselling economic and cultural exchange with consumers.

As opposed to Book Marketing, which is...mostly an economic exchange with your ad rep.

The smallest unit of narrative is...the word.

To be a Book a thing must be...a bunch of words. For an extreme example, see Kenneth Goldsmith’s Day.

The biggest reason to be scared of the future is...the good chance that Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin’s ghostwriters might one day collaborate on a book.

The biggest reason to anticipate the future is...the good chance that Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin’s ghostwriters might one day collaborate on a book.

In the future we will all...likely be reading a heart warming modern romance co-authored by Briston Palin and The Situation about finding love on Dancing With The Stars. There will be no sex scenes.

At his/her core, a Reader is...looking to be entertained.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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George Murray

George Murray’s six books of poetry include The Rush to Here and The Hunter. His most recent books, Whiteout and Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms, are published by ECW Press. He is the editor of the popular literary website

Go to George Murray’s Author Page