Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Questionless Books Interview: Publisher and Editor Patrick Crean

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Patrick Crean

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.

Patrick Crean has been deeply involved in the publishing industry for the last forty years, for the last ten as Publisher and Editor of Thomas Allen. Over the years Patrick as worked with a veritable who's-who of Canlit, and is widely recognized for both his eye for new talent and his ability to recontextualize veteren writers so the public sees their work anew.

Patrick's Links:

Thomas Allen

I am a book editor and publisher

I am known to publish new voices

I do this in virtually all my waking hours

I do this because it is a calling

I do this when I breathe

The way I do this is to try to release creative forces and not lay claim to them

At his/her core, a Writer is a communicator

As opposed to an Author, who is a magician

A Writer is responsible for imparting information clearly

As opposed to an Author, who is responsible for conjuring worlds that suspend our disbelief

At its core, Publishing is the curating of books

As opposed to Editing, which is figuring out how a book works on its own terms

A Publisher should always (as a German publisher once said) keep one eye on the writer, one eye on the public, and the third eye (the eye of proverbial wisdom) firmly on the cash register.

As opposed to an Editor, who is a kind of double agent who champions the authors, but is paid by the publisher

A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others is ready to be published

As opposed to a Book that's ready to be read by others, which is ready to be purchased

A Manuscript should always be as finished as possible before it is shown

As opposed to a Book, which should always be necessary and compel you to read it

At its core, Bookselling is hand selling to readers

As opposed to Book Marketing, which is trying to get your attention

The smallest unit of narrative is a subject and a verb

To be a Book a thing must be printed in digestible units

The biggest reason to be scared of the future is corporatism fuelled by technology

The biggest reason to anticipate the future is because it always happens

In the future we will all eat books in order to ingest the essence of the author and his/her narrative. Imagine sales going through the roof as you order your Margaret Atwood for Friday dinner every week!

At his/her core, a Reader is a seeker with an insatiable curiosity about the world

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.

Related item from our archives

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