MaxBarry.com
all things to some people

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

Sat 12
Jan
2008

Vote Early, Vote Often

Company Until recently I was a complete unknown in my home country of Australia, while enjoying in the US a level of fame I would characterize as slightly less completely unknown. This gripping irony unfolded last year when I switched local publishers to Scribe, a feisty upstart with the crazy idea of getting me to do some publicity.

So it was that I ended doing a lot of interviews in which I talked about how I did no interviews in Australia, and wasn’t that weird, what with me being slightly less completely unknown in the US and all. Scribe is planning to re-publish Syrup in a few months, and now my publicist is frantic because with that angle exhausted, there’s nothing interesting left about me.

I am now so slightly less completely unknown, in fact, that the State Library of Victoria—that’s my home state—even noticed I had a book published. This is exciting not just because it’s a great way to encourage people to read my book in a way that generates no sales. They’re also running a competition inviting you to vote for your favorite book.

I wasn’t sure it was ethical to ask my readership, the vast majority of whom reside outside Victoria, to vote for me in what seems intended as a purely local poll. But I asked Scribe, and they said, “Hell, yes. See if they can vote multiple times, too.” So I guess it’s okay.

In other local news, I’m doing a reading from Company at Brighton Library on Thursday 31st January 2008 at 6:30pm. I’m also reading my short story A Shade Less Perfect at the launch of The Sleepers Almanac on Wednesday 6th February 2008 at 6pm in the Bella Union Bar at Trades Hall, cnr Victoria and Lygon St, Carlton. Aloud, I mean. I’m not just sitting there, quietly turning the pages. I’m a professional.

Comments

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Elliot Halpern (#3259)

Location: Orangetown, New York
Posted: 2411 days ago

Wow...I figured that a freaking STATE LIBRARY would have more than 20 books to pick from for favorite.

Phill Sacre (#1822)

Location: London, UK
Quote: "Computers are like air conditioners. Both stop working, if you open windows."
Posted: 2411 days ago

Interesting that they compared Company with The Office. If I'm thinking of the same "The Office" (the one with David Brent), Company is nothing like it - it's a satire, whereas

Still Max, at least you can be comforted by the fact that they've at least *read* your book... probably.

Greg Karber (#1568)

Location: gregkarber.com
Posted: 2411 days ago

Do you really think your publisher is the end all, be all when it comes to ethical questions involving free advertising?

But seriously, I voted once, and I'll try to vote a second time in a little bit, so I guess your readership isn't exactly the most neutral party, either.

Emily (#1135)

Location: ceruleantown.com
Quote: "The sky is falling..."
Posted: 2411 days ago

Hoo - rah! Now that I've voted, I am now apparently in the running for some "fabulous" prizes.

Jeffrey (#2286)

Location: Right here
Quote: "Mathematics is a powerful language. Just look at how mathematicians destroyed the housing market."
Posted: 2411 days ago

I'm on my way to vote! Hopefully whoever checks out your books is an extremely slow reader so that way if anyone wants to read it they'll have to go buy it like they're suppose to lol.

Jeffrey (#2286)

Location: Right here
Quote: "Mathematics is a powerful language. Just look at how mathematicians destroyed the housing market."
Posted: 2411 days ago

I wonder if the library will fly me to Australia if I win the weekend escape in Victoria? lol

Jason Wallwork (#675)

Location: Peterborough, Canada
Quote: "If it ain't broke you're not trying hard enough."
Posted: 2411 days ago

Fabulous prizes, huh? Does that mean they're gay or I'm gay if I win? Speaking of that, I never win contents. What if this is the one? Are non-residents even eligible? Probably not. Imagine the disappointment and then the SCANDAL! Of course the scandal will probably help you, but I'll be in the Australian Gulag.

Nematode (#3386)

Posted: 2411 days ago

Hmm, I think your fame will truly arrive in Oz when the movie version of which ever one of your books is out, preferably starring Cate Blanchett.

So, I've just finished reading Company TODAY! Before I moved to Sydney, there was practically a 20 plus people waiting list to borrow the book every library I'd checked in the States! Well, not the entire country, but every library that was closed to where I lived. But here Down Under, I just walked into one of them libraries in the burb, and bam!, your book was just sitting there looking pretty! Sorry, I didn't mean to add salt to your wound. On the other hand, you are practically rolling in movie money nowsaday, right? (Yeah, I wikipedia-ed you!)

Anyway, that's aside, congrats on your book.

Polly Morgan (#3387)

Location: Mount Waverley
Posted: 2411 days ago

I'm a Victorian, and I love your books (I've been lending my copies out to friends, so I'll just start hassling them to buy their own copies).

Philippe Bolay (#3142)

Location: Sweden
Quote: "Quotes are great for hiding mediocrity"
Posted: 2411 days ago

It wasnt possible to vote more then once per valid email adress. Hmm.. Come to think of it, I never tried using a non-valid email adress. Ill go check that now.

PS. I voted once for me and once for my wife because Im sure she will absolutely adore the book once she gets to read it. Strangest thing though that Jennifer Goverment wasn't on the list. Thats actually my favourite book. DS.

Lottie (#3093)

Location: Sheffield, UK
Posted: 2411 days ago

If I recieve any emails from that library, I'll be mad.

Linnea1928 (#2654)

Location: Rosemount, MN
Posted: 2411 days ago

Well, congratulations, that is pretty exciting. And you are more known than you think, since I make all my friends read your books and I'm sure your other fans do that too. We just can't make it out to your book tours because of school and stuff, but we're here!

Leonie (#1816)

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: ""The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." - Einstein"
Posted: 2410 days ago

It's my birthday the day after they announce the prizes. I'd really like that $200 Reader's Feast voucher. You hear that State Library?

Matthew (#16)

Location: Columbus, Ohio
Quote: "Unicorn on mountain top. Wind blowing through mane."
Posted: 2410 days ago

Re-publishing Syrup in just Australia or America too?

I would love to get a nice, shiny new copy because (kinda weird here) I have a little bit of spilled Coke on a few pages. Not ruined, but blemished.

Simon (#3192)

Location: Melbourne
Quote: "I'd rather be arrogant than wrong"
Posted: 2410 days ago

I tried to prise an interview out of you for my website SF-Books.com but I think you must have forgotten all about it.

Jane (#321)

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "Which is worse: Ignorance or apathy? Who knows? Who cares?"
Posted: 2410 days ago

I may be wrong on this, but I don't think the SLV is a lending library; ie. they don't loan out fiction for borrowers to read, so I think your sales figures should be fine, at least as far as the the SLV goes.
But I did pester the library where I work (a certain university across the road from the SLV) to buy a copy of Company, way back when it had been released in the USA but not here in Australia. Hope this didn't put too big a dent in your sales. ;)
Anyway I have submitted my vote for Company... though I'm with Philippe Bolay - Jennifer Government is my favourite.

PS. If anyone who lives overseas wins a prize, I will happily accept it on your behalf :)

Machine Man subscriber David (#1456)

Location: Sydney, Australia
Quote: "Why are the pretty ones always insane?"
Posted: 2409 days ago

Hey that's great news about SYRUP being republished in Oz, I promise I'll buy one when it comes out as I've always felt bad that my current copy came from a 2nd hand bookshop and thus failed to assist you in keeping the wolf from your door. Once you're rolling in it, doing blow and hookers with Charlie Sheen and doing lunch with celebrity agents three days a week before taking your second wife shopping at Rodeo Drive and picking your children up from rehab so they can have a day of Primate Therapy at the zoo with Paris Hilton's brood (trust me, it's coming), such considerations will of course no longer apply and I'll only buy your books 2nd hand.

Anita (#405)

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posted: 2409 days ago

I've always felt a bit bad that I picked my copies of Syrup up from remainder tables, which I wouldn't imagine an author would be paid much if any royalty on!

Meanwhile - I love the new cover Scribe have done up for it - I hope it's a nice gloss finish like Company. And I notice they've trimmed the size down which is excellent because I hated the trim size of Company! I'll keep an eye out for it!

Jen Myers (#3399)

Location: Austin, TX
Quote: ""Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." - Oscar Wilde"
Posted: 2405 days ago

I voted!

Also, did you know you were a prophet? At least, it looks like the corporate schools from "Jennifer Government" are a step closer: http://megain.smugmug.com/photos/244675190-O.jpg

Machine Man subscriber Travis Walton (#2160)

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posted: 2404 days ago

Thats great news about Syrup, Max. I got my Dad hooked on your books a while back. He's been going crazy ever since trying to find a copy of it.

I told him the news today and I do believe he cried a little.

Jocelyne (#3273)

Location: Sydney
Quote: "Laughter is the language of the soul"
Posted: 2401 days ago

ok voted under married and maiden name...
Hopefully our fellow Aussies will start paying some attention to good reading..

Paul (#104)

Location: Connecticut, USA
Quote: ""Don't fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating. " --Brazil (1985 movie)"
Posted: 2395 days ago

From the description of the novel and author page of Company:

Author
Max Barry
Max Barry was born on 18 March 1973, and lives in Melbourne. To help promote his first novel, Syrup, Max wrote the online political game 'NationStates', which has been played by over half a million people and is currently causing him to drown in email from people who want new features.


So now Nationstates is inspired by Syrup and Jennifer Government-- well I'm not sure where that book ended up. Perhaps hidden in the back pages of Syrup?

Travis (#3416)

Location: Box Hill, Melbourne
Quote: "Would I do a Thing like that?"
Posted: 2389 days ago

Man, I wish I had found out about this a few weeks ago, I would have loved to come along and see Max read.

Ironically I brought my copy of Jennifer Government at one of the stores mentioned in the book. if you need to know more, look at my location

so, now I have signed up in the hope that anymore public appearances in Victoria I will be among the first to know

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