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he writes books

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

Wed 12
Aug
2009

A book deal for Charlie

Machine Man Publisher's Weekly on Machine ManAs reported in Publisher’s Weekly, Vintage Books will bring Machine Man to life in print form in the US & Canada, most likely in 2011. This will be a rewritten version of what’s currently going up online—since I think the two mediums have very different requirements, plus I haven’t yet seen a first draft I didn’t want to rewrite. Or any draft, actually. But that’s my personal issue. So anyway, once I finish the serial, probably later this year, I will start trying to figure out how the hell I do that.

The particularly cool part is that Vintage (like Scribe in Australia & New Zealand) is happy for me to keep the serial online. Which may sound obvious to you, but that idea caused some publishing industry minds to EXPLODE. Their natural inclination is to scrub the internet free of any potentially competing versions whilst locking down e-books so tightly they don’t work on your device. That’s possibly just my bitter experience talking. But this is a significant step for a publisher, and I’m really happy Vintage took it. I didn’t want to take down my online serial. That would be like leading my child into a forest and abandoning her there. Then, I guess, going home and building a new child based on the first one. And offering her in print form. Wait. This analogy may have gotten away from me.

What we’ll have, then, is the original, unedited serial online, and a more polished (I was going to just say “polished,” but that could be a stretch) novel based on it. Given my track record of rewriting books until they cry, it will probably differ quite a lot from the serial. But on the other hand, it won’t have reader comments. Which is a shame, because those are awesome. It’s like book club five days a week.

This all makes a pretty amazing outcome for a project I started just because a reader bugged me. It’s been successful in a whole lot of ways. So thank you.

P.S. I can’t believe that Publisher’s Weekly’s “Deals” section, by Rachel Deahl, isn’t called “Deahls.” That’s a no-brainer.

P.P.S. My favorite sci-fi site just posted an article about this entitled “Max Barry Jams In Public, Creates A New Publishing Model, Slices Your Legs Off.” Ahh, bless your nerdy hearts.

Comments

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Machine Man subscriber Bob (#4095)

Location: Kansas
Quote: "Freeze!!! This is the Government!!"
Posted: 1927 days ago

Dude, congrats - that's awesome. I'm very happy for you.

Also, maybe tip Rachel off?

Machine Man subscriber gStein (#585)

Location: 127.0.0.1
Quote: "That's not change! That's more of the same!"
Posted: 1927 days ago

wait, Max reads io9?
i'll have to read more often. Max, what's your io9 username, so we can all "heart" you?

Why didn't Vintage get rights to New Zealand and Australia? some deal you had with a previous publisher? or they just didn't want it?

At any rate, good to hear, and glad you won't kill my Machine Man - it's been the best $10 i've spent all year (or whatever I paid - $25+ still would have been worth it). You know that i'll buy Machine Man when it comes out, and it'll go on the shelf right next to Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, and my Douglas Adams and Vonnegut collection

Hey Max, how about you offer signed 1st edition copies of machine man to all subscribers for $25?

Machine Man subscriber sean kearney (#3037)

Location: Denver, CO
Quote: "patternhunter@gmail.com"
Posted: 1927 days ago

Awesome! That is great news. Congratulatins, Max!

Machine Man subscriber Barry Mitchell (#1001)

Location: Saukville, Wisconsin
Quote: ""A hamster's like a small camel" - Ben Katz"
Posted: 1927 days ago

Congrats, Max! Looking forward to the physical version. I'm glad I signed up for the feed. Machine Man has been great!

werelord (#3560)

Posted: 1927 days ago

Gratz Max!! I'm glad you were able to find a publisher that is open to this new publishing method you're using.. I'm enjoying Machine Man as much as your other books (even as annoying as waiting a day for a new page is); keep up the good work!

Nate Spears (#1454)

Location: Dallas, TX
Quote: ""Vengeance. Justice. Fire and blood." -Doran Martell"
Posted: 1927 days ago

Unrelated: get on this website.

http://www.whereiwrite.org/delany.php

Brittany O. (#1688)

Location: Montana
Quote: "My love calls me Boom..."
Posted: 1927 days ago

Good Work.

Machine Man subscriber M.I.Minter (#347)

Location: Houston Texas, USA
Quote: "When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading."
Posted: 1927 days ago

“…plus I haven’t yet seen a first draft I didn’t want to rewrite. Or any draft…” Or any finished work, blog post, street sign, funny t-shirt, Chinese restaurant menu, name plate, shipping invoice, desktop icon title, speed dial menu, bottled water label, scroll, parking ticket, eulogy, medical chart, report card, measuring cup, coupon, power point presentation, placard, warning label, bank draft, airplane emergency exit instruction card, valentine, obituary, birth certificate, diploma, html code, message board comment, the first sentance of this post (yet? come on!) or realy anthing that is written down.

You have a problem.

Nothing ever gets finished, you simply run out of time.

Set good deadlines and stick to them.

“This all makes a pretty amazing outcome for a project I started just because a reader bugged me. It’s been successful in a whole lot of ways. So thank you.”

You’re welcome!

-a reader

Friendimpaired (#3721)

Location: Richmond, VA
Quote: ""I've found that I have a wacky irrational fear of flamethrowers. I know, I know. Weird, huh?""
Posted: 1927 days ago

Great news! I would love to read Machine Man in my hands (although it is quite entertaining in my browser, anyway).

I found it interesting that the ads along the side and bottom of the io9 article were for Pepsi Max. My first thoughts were... well, do I really need to explain?

Machine Man subscriber CrystalR (#4160)

Posted: 1927 days ago

Cue a story about how some bike-maintenance book used your nut image for their cover, and how your publisher had to sneak off to the cafeteria to get another one.

Machine Man subscriber David (#1456)

Location: Sydney, Australia
Quote: "Why are the pretty ones always insane?"
Posted: 1926 days ago

Congratulations Max, it's great to hear this little experiment has worked out so well for you.

It just goes to show that you should listen to your readers, we know stuff (for a pretty loose definition of "stuff"). Do as your loyal readers say in all areas of your life and you can't go wrong.

For example, please note the following suggestions: buy more lottery tickets, buy that house you can't afford, pay for it by allowing drug companies to test their products on your children, have more children (many more; trust me, they're like money in the bank and practically raise themselves), breed pit bulls (no one will ever rob you if you have a house full of pit bulls, and they're just great with children), buy that sports car, you know you want to, drop into Advanced Hair Studios, I'm sure they can help you (your spin bowling will probably improve too). Most importantly for a creative guy like yourself - drink more alcohol and start using several other drugs as well. Mix 'em and match 'em, you can't go wrong, trust me.

Jodi Cleghorn (#3642)

Location: Brisbane, AUST
Quote: "It is by believing in roses that one brings them to bloom"
Posted: 1923 days ago

Congratulations Max. Maybe on the strength of this they'll invite you back to Byron Bay next year.

I'm so glad to see your trail blazing experiment pay off and also that the online serial remains intact. Is Vintage vying for a place as the forerunner in combining digital and traditional technologies? I was speaking with Kate Eltham CEO of QLD Writers Centre last week about digital media vs traditional media and her prediction is there will only be two large publishing houses in the future and a smattering of smaller specialised publishers doing traditional in print publishing.

And thank you on behalf of all of us up-and-coming writers who are looking at new and innovative ways of entering and securing a place in the market.

Benjamin Solah (#4398)

Location: Melbourne
Posted: 1923 days ago

That's a pretty significant precendent there. Like Jodi, thanks for paving a way for us. This wouldn't work for lesser known writers, I think.

joylene (#4556)

Location: Cluculz Lake BC, Canada
Quote: ""Man's heart away from nature becomes hard." Standing Bear"
Posted: 1814 days ago

I'm late joining, so I missed a lot. I feel like the kid at the debut of Harry Potter, showing up late to find there's no tickets left.

I'm here now tho, and raring to go.

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