Corner Office Interview: Susan Bolotin
[Peter's] intentions were clear before he died. He was lucid until he died, quite lucid and very smart — with opinions. It's a period of change. Mostly we want to be respectful of the family.
What defines a Workman book?
A Workman book is always accessible. It is usually jam-packed with information — humor or recipes or whatever it has. It almost always comes with an author with a strong point of view. There is something overtly commercial [about it]. We're not coy. That is not to say the book might not be subtle or witty — they are what they are. When you see one you know what is inside of it. We advertise ourselves and our content.
Each book is made [to be] individual; there is no standard format. The book's format, paper, cover and size of font — everything fits the content. In bigger houses they don't have the luxury of time to really put specific energy into a specific title. We take more time. Our editors are not expected to publish more than 4 or 5 books a year.
Describe the creative process at Workman.
One of the legacies of Peter is that he was a man who was willing to just be. He was comfortable with things taking longer. That doesn't mean you're not impatient or not moving fast or moving things all the time, but if something took longer to get to the right solution, he was comfortable taking that time.
Some creativity is a light bulb, some thought out in the middle of the night. Some comes because of a collaborative effort. Some comes of pure percolation, and allowing things to take their time. All those ways in which people can be creative — by themselves, in a group, collaboratively, sporadically, constantly — we can make room for those different styles. Each book we do probably has been dealt with in each of those different ways.
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