MaxBarry.com
one vowel is enough

Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Tue 31
May
2005

So Many Books, So Few Donuts

Company And after I made all those little icons, too. I’ve just learned that my gorgeous Company cover has to change.

It all began with Google News. A while ago I discovered that Google lets you customize a News page, so you get headlines on whatever topics interest you. Naturally, I immediately created a “Max Barry” topic and stuck it right at the top. This is how I discovered the evil Todd Bunker article, and about a week ago there was a new one: the shocking revelation that Company has the exact same cover art as another book.

The other book is non-fiction, and British, but still. And what’s worse, his is coming out first. I e-mailed Bill, my editor—who, sadly lacking a “Max Barry” Google News topic, had no idea. He was less than thrilled. A few days went by while Doubleday decided what to do (and, presumably, tightened up their licensing agreement with the stock photography people). Then this morning, Bill e-mailed me:

While we haven’t been able to ascertain whether the American edition of that other book will use the same donut, we’ve decided to play it safe and shoot our own donut. Any preferences? Chocolate frosted? Apple cinnamon?

This is the silliest e-mail I’ve ever sent, but in keeping with the spirit of the book, eh?

It is. It’s spooky. The book opens with a donut-related crisis, and now I have my own.

Comments

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Coolet (#37)

Location: Goshen, Indiana
Quote: "Man who goes to bed with itchy bum, wakes up with smelly finger."
Posted: 3244 days ago

wow...awsome...Why not a bear claw?

Machine Man subscriber Bushra (#36)

Location: Fremont, California
Quote: "www.caffeinatedmuslim.com"
Posted: 3244 days ago

You have to shoot another donut? Sounds funny. At least we now know why there's a picture of a donut on the cover in the first place.

Jamie (#111)

Location: Auckland
Quote: "Anyone still spelling "internet" with a capital "I" is probably struggling with the complexities of their new-fangled electric typewriter."
Posted: 3244 days ago

Clearly the new donut needs shooting. How else do you get the whole in the middle?

angelica (#229)

Location: Melbourne
Quote: "God I'm bored"
Posted: 3244 days ago

ah, the trouble with stock photography

there was soemthing on media watch about this recently
http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s1367739.htm

:]

maybe you can have a jam donut instead

javier (#1344)

Location: Long Beach, CA, USA
Posted: 3243 days ago

sorry, max, but just seeing the two books side by side made me laugh...made my evening, really

the-tine (#472)

Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Quote: "Coming soon to a planet near you."
Posted: 3243 days ago

cream filled! they're the best!

Rod McBride (#688)

Location: Gardner, KS
Quote: "www.MidwestRockLobster.blogspot.com"
Posted: 3243 days ago

I got the chance to exchange e-mails with Stephen Graham Jones and we covered the topic of titles. 'The Fast Red Road: A Plainsong,' when I found a copy through the library, was 'Glory Dog: A Plainsong,' which was his doctoral discertation for his creative writing PhD.

While he was working on it, it'd also had the title 'For There Needed No Horse' (which is what SGJ thought he'd submitted it as), 'Dog Days,' and just 'Plainsong,' which got taken.

And 'All the Beautiful Sinners' was originally the title for his upcoming 'Demon Theory,' and 'ATBS' had orignally worn the title 'Subterranean Iron Horse Blues,' a title Jones evidently thinks is worse than I do.

As far as stock photos go, as a photos.com subscriber, I can totally see where an artist at a publisher clicked on a photo for a design to run up the flagpole. You can buy the photo outright, but you have to be the first to do so. And usually, if there's one photo, there's a dozen variations (or more) on the same theme. The same model, or subject, from different angles, against different backgrounds, etc. So if your publisher shoots their own doughnut, they're putting money in the pocket of a (probably hungry) photographer, and they'll probably get you a cooler doughnut image. Plus, the British guy will probably find his doughnut at slightly different angles/backgrounds in a dozen places in the next two years. And he'll feel cheap, and used. And like he should subscribe to Google News...

spinne (#427)

Quote: "I'm not here to cock around."
Posted: 3243 days ago

Soooo.... what kind of doughnut did you end up going with? ;)

DewKnight (#815)

Location: WP, CO,USA
Quote: "Booyah"
Posted: 3243 days ago

"I e-mailed Bill, my editor—who, sadly lacking a “Max Barry” Google News topic, had no idea."

Hahaha, ah that was funny. Come on, don't we all have a "Max Barry" Google News topic?

Melissa (#888)

Location: WI
Quote: "When you can't run anymore, you crawl, and when you can't do that, you find someone to carry you."
Posted: 3243 days ago

that makes me mad, and it was such a good looking donut too. Guess I'll just have to settle for my homemade chocolate-double chocolate chip cookies. : )

Machine Man subscriber Thomas Rice (#952)

Posted: 3243 days ago

While jam donuts are definately delicious, I don't know if they are as aesthetically appealing. There's something about that hole...

Kristen (#1157)

Location: Jersey
Quote: "Insert quotation here."
Posted: 3243 days ago

There's something inherently imposing about a chocolate-frosted chocolate donut... besides the imminent weight gain, even...

Yenzo (#829)

Location: Secret underwater pyramid base in the Pacific
Quote: "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe (Carl Sagan)"
Posted: 3243 days ago

How do you call those little donut ball thingies? Munchkins? What about those?

So this is how liberty ends... glazed and with a bit bitten off...

shabooty (#637)

Location: D.C./V.A/M.D.
Quote: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same -Danny Bonaduce ....& go visit my blog @: http://www.shabooty.com"
Posted: 3243 days ago

a wu-tang song/old-dirty-bastard lyric comes to mind:
Artist: Wu-Tang Clan
Album: Wu-Tang Forever
Song: Dog S**t

She flew in like calm breeze
Tall brown skin her weave like palm trees
I went coconuts
Dipped my Dunkin' between your Donut
Don't want it if it ain't no s**t, b***h!
Fathership touch ground, like lionel snoop
Don't invite me I tear the **** down
White boys cut my toupee!
Seventh day rester, or scream play
I slump MC slay, it ain't nuttin to bust a*s
Bullet him, get him fast
B***h I don't break out, blast to the next rash
The dog piss on MC's like trees
Got meals but still grill that old good welfare cheese

(Ol Dirty sings again)
Hoeeeeee!
Yeah, hayyyy! Dedicated to all you b***h a** n****z
De, haaaaa And you b****h ass ni***ettes
B****h! Ho*e! M**********s!

Robert (#413)

Location: Los Angeles
Quote: "A positive attitude will not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
Posted: 3243 days ago

Can I just say, what the fuck did that have to do with anything besides the fact that they said donut once?

Soigacas (#1354)

Location: UK
Quote: "Someday this war's gonna end"
Posted: 3243 days ago

I must urge you to choose a hundreds and thousands sprinkled doughnut. They Own all the other doughnuts.

And I agree with Robert. Wtf, mate?

Bony Tony (#1343)

Location: United States
Posted: 3243 days ago

Why a doughnut =[

How about a paper clip. a giant paper clip. a giant paperclip that can talk....

wait a minute..damn microsoft word

Luckdragon (#1116)

Location: Connecticut, USA
Quote: "Totally addicted to the online, all the time, never gonna go outside."
Posted: 3243 days ago

I agree with Kristen, the ominous nature of a chocolate donut might be better than a glazed.

Although glazed does reflect the emptiness of corporate existance, yet chocolate embodies the evil...

Dunno, quid pro quo.

Dinko Hristov (#1065)

Location: Darwin, Australia
Quote: """No one is fool enough to choose War over Peace. In Peace sons bury fathers, but in War fathers bury sons."- Herodotus"
Posted: 3243 days ago

Max...my condolences....I liked that cover....damn!....sucks big time....how about a briefcase for the cover? I dunno....hope whoever designs the cover comes up with something real cool that reflects the nature of the corporate lifestyle....

Mr Nick (#1166)

Location: Wayne, MI
Posted: 3243 days ago

I can't stop thinking a powdered-sugar donut on an all black cover would look very pleasing.

Mmm... powdered-sugar donuts.

Mark (#1227)

Quote: "I've only met about three people who said anything really worth quoting. And they were dead."
Posted: 3243 days ago

Well... You recall the high-speed photo of an apple being shot? Since your editor wants to "shoot [your] own donut" why not shoot it? Something similar to this photo: http://www.tonyrogers.com/weapons/images/high_speed_photos/

(second one from the top)

How cool would that be?

Scott (#354)

Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Quote: "Max Barry tastes like awesome"
Posted: 3243 days ago

Aww man, can't you contact this other guy and ask him not to use said doughnut for his cover? I'm not sure another doughnut will suffice. Glazed is by and far, the most tasty of them all.

Queen Eve (#460)

Location: Dimensions at SanguinemDraconis.net
Quote: "Sanity is a gift; given at birth, lessened by maturity, and gone from us by the age of reason. --Kestral Lei"
Posted: 3243 days ago

Well the donut is enough to induce hunger and craving for the item, but I dont see it as a "Company" thing. Now Im not certain what the novel is about, but based on your previous work, and the name, I would assume it has something to do with a company... ie: the business world, another satiristic view of corporate policies and procedures. But my ethnocentric view of the image, a donut, brings to mind cops/law enforcement.

For me, a better striking image that relates to 'company', corporate idealism, or day-to-day office functionings would be a water cooler, a cubicle, or even a cup of coffee.

If there is a donut on the cover, I would expect to see some sort of running theme in the book about donuts. Things such as conversations held in the breakroom, while eating their daily donut... or donuts in the breakroom being a sign that bad news is about to hit the department or something.

If no such running theme is present in the story, I would be baffled by the cover choice.

Ari (#1107)

Location: somewhere around California
Quote: "Can I be a random member of the moment?"
Posted: 3243 days ago

I really like your donut better. It's golden and appetizing. The other one is orange. Blech.

Austin (#814)

Quote: "You might be stretching."
Posted: 3243 days ago

In what I would hope is a tidy response to Kestral Lei, considering the fact that Max said, "The book opens with a donut-related crisis," I would say that, at the very least, donuts are there, which is more than can be said for some book covers.

In the context of the situation, I would go so far as to say the predicament is...delicious.

Peter N.Bernath (#1041)

Location: Stockholm - Sweden
Quote: "Errr... Is that a tree growing out of your head? - Fallout 2"
Posted: 3243 days ago

In my opinion, shooting (taking a picture) a donut by your self is the way to go. But to personalize the cover just a wee bit more, maybe you should be the one taking the bite from the donut. That'd add the personal touch, and you'll be absolutely sure that no one will have a donot that you've taken a bite out of on their cover. Unless some freak finds you when you've just taken a bite out of a donut and chases you away, and doing so, you obviously drop your donut in al the fear, just to have the psycho take the donut, shooting it himself and using it for his own cover. ;)

And by the way... It'd be totally cool to know what your bite mark looks like, and I promise you, I won't use the photo of your bitemark to iether incriminate you or suing you for biting me (althought I just had an idea... hehehe...).

;) Have fun!

Queen Eve (#460)

Location: Dimensions at SanguinemDraconis.net
Quote: "Sanity is a gift; given at birth, lessened by maturity, and gone from us by the age of reason. --Kestral Lei"
Posted: 3242 days ago

Well, as I've said.. I dont know what the book will be about. Ive not kept fully up-to-date on all the information about the book that has already been released. That little tidbit had managed to slip my mind. But seeing that donut, nor donuts in general do not bring corporate/office to mind. It reminds me of cops. That long-running joke about cops and donuts has impacted me in that manner.

xk3zofrenik (#1160)

Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote: "These human ruins."
Posted: 3242 days ago

How much does Michael Windsor make?
Stock Photography? Pffff...

Next thing will be that the face in Jennifer Goverment is somewhere else as well, minus the barcode (hopefully).

This sounds like chapter one of your upcoming book "Publisher":

"There I was rejoicing about my little work of making fun of a greedy company, when I find that my book cover is made with cheap stock photography that someone else had it first. I guess it never ends."

shabooty (#637)

Location: D.C./V.A/M.D.
Quote: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same -Danny Bonaduce ....& go visit my blog @: http://www.shabooty.com"
Posted: 3242 days ago

http://bahahs.blogspot.com/2005/06/you-can-thank-my-friend-seldi-for-this.html
hey guys:
tomorrow is "National Doughnut Day." Krispy Kreme's giving away free doughnuts!!

Hobbie (#1359)

Location: Cornwall, England
Quote: "There was a little man in his hair!"
Posted: 3241 days ago

The irony of this of course is that the cover is a marketing problem. Who buys a book for the cover alone? I certainly don't, the text is what really matters. On the other hand, for people who have never heard of Max or his prior books, it will likely be the cover and title that inspires them to look more closely at the book in the shop, and possibly towards buying it.

Ari (#1107)

Location: somewhere around California
Quote: "Can I be a random member of the moment?"
Posted: 3241 days ago

You know, I'm actually a total sucker for covers. Not when I'm buying them, of course because the bills in my back pocket are really special and everything. But in libraries I totally judge books by their covers. I really love the Company cover right now. I wouldn't want to see it change.

Amy (#1360)

Location: Texas
Quote: "For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: It might of been. -John Greenleaf Whittier"
Posted: 3241 days ago

Can we get Jennifer Nation T-Shirts??? My son and I are addicted and want to show off :)

Machine Man subscriber Adam (#24)

Location: Morristown, Indiana
Quote: "Why do I blog? Simple, because Max Barry blogs."
Posted: 3240 days ago

Sat. 4 June 2005

I have just arrived at my house on a long bus ride back from Washington, D.C. The bus driver got lost on the way home. They got Cleveland, Ohio and Columbus, Ohio mixed up and we went the wrong way. I almost cried, but I didn't because real men never cry.

In other news, Max Barry should write a terrible review about the other book that stole Company's cover just out of spite. Even if they had the cover first, the book that Max Barry wrote is obviously better than another diet book that probably doesn't even help you lose weight. It probably just tells you that you are fat which leads to depression which leads to more eating which leads to another diet book. As that guy in the Austin Powers movie says, "It's a vicious cycle."

Also, I agree with Amy, you should get T-shirts for your novels and nationstates because merchindising is the only way to get rich.

Once again,

Adam

Grace (#1225)

Location: Melbourne aka The Cliffs of Insanity
Quote: "I refuse to have a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed."
Posted: 3239 days ago

Why not a jam donut with the bite taken, and jam oozing out like blood?
Failing that I think the extreme close up of the paperclip is a good idea... without the annoying, animated face.
Maybe a pie, cut to look like a pie chart?
Gotta go, I'm getting hungry... heheheh.

Grace (#1225)

Location: Melbourne aka The Cliffs of Insanity
Quote: "I refuse to have a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed."
Posted: 3239 days ago

Oh and yeah, merchandising will make you rich. I'd buy one of those T-shirts. I'd even wear it. Free advertising. Can't beat that for value!

Hobbie (#1359)

Location: Cornwall, England
Quote: "There was a little man in his hair!"
Posted: 3239 days ago

A much better t-shirt would be the Max mini-me stick man with "Max Barry - Fear My Vigilantes!" as the caption. Imagine the the scandal, the obscurity of the joke, everyone wanting to know what the hell it means and thus coming to the site... lol

Zach (#897)

Location: Boston, MA, USA
Posted: 3238 days ago

I am a photographer and will do a photo for free as long as I get credit

kap (#1374)

Location: DC
Posted: 3235 days ago

Re: Hobbie's comment up there about about book covers, if the cover to Jennifer Government hadn't caught my eye a couple years ago, I'd still be clueless.

Tony Quin (#1310)

Location: Plymouth -urgh
Quote: "Yoga is NAILS"
Posted: 3235 days ago

A little late, but perhaps the donut could be chomped through, to make a 'C'.

Cupie (#1396)

Location: Seattle-ish
Quote: ""You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think." -Dorothy Parker"
Posted: 3233 days ago

Chocolate donut with sprinkles please, yum, thanks! ;)

syrup6 (#1224)

Location: Arkansas
Quote: ""Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion" - Kierkegaard"
Posted: 3222 days ago

Yes, chocolate frosted with sprinkles. All the darkness of chocolate as Luckdragon said... with the little bits of insanity and joy that sprinkles represent.

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