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Blog

Fri 23
May
2008

Born Again

Company When I was 23 and struggling to get anyone to notice I’d written a novel, it annoyed the crap out of me to see so-called “Young Writer” prizes won by 35-year-old guys with no hair. In which parallel universe, I wanted to know, could those tottering old farts be considered young?

Which is why I’m so happy to be named among the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelists (for Company). Somewhere out there, a curly-haired 23-year-old is muttering about the unfairness of it all. Suck it up, punk.

Me at the Sydney Writers Festival, free event: Saturday 5:30pm

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.

Thu 20
Sep
2007

Book Club With Your Boss

Company An anonymous reader writes in with a Company-related conundrum:

I read this book and promptly gave it to some of my work colleagues—I’m sure you hear this all the time. I wanted to buy a case to keep under my desk to hand out to people who came in my office.

Now my manager and some others have read it and they want me to come to their book club to lead a discussion! If you have any ideas to lead me into this land of discussing this with upper management who just happen to be members of this book club please let me know. I need to keep my job!

Hmm. Tough one. Perhaps, “What I got out of this book was a deep, abiding relief that our company is nothing like this. That’s why I hand it out to people at work; everyone enjoys stories that have nothing to do with their own lives. It’s pure escapism!”

One of the interesting things about corporate workplaces is that they turn otherwise decent human beings into… well, management. They’re not like that because they’re petty, deceitful scumbags. I mean, obviously that helps. But it’s the environment that encourages those personality traits. This could be a cry for help from your boss, who in a flash of self-discovery has thought, “My God, what have I become?” Your job at this book club, then, is clearly to reassure him/her that it’s only the other managers who are like that, and gather information that will be politically useful at your next performance evaluation.

Thu 08
Mar
2007

Max in America 2007

Company One thing I’m looking forward to is discovering what wacky new security schemes US Customs has come up with since I last visited. In 2006 they’d added fingerprinting and digital mug shots. This time I’m thinking maybe they’ll swab my mouth or get me to sing the Pledge of Allegiance. Or maybe they have followed this route to its logical conclusion and now herd foreign visitors straight from the airport to prisons, where any of us not intending to commit terrorist atrocities can fill out applications to be released.

Wow, that was pretty cynical, even for me. I’m not sure if that struck the appropriately witty, feel-good note I want to promote a book tour. But anyway. I have dates! And here they are:

[ Tour Details Here ]

As usual, I expect any outrage over ill-considered dates, places, etc, to be directed at my publisher. Remember, they’re the ones organizing this stuff. I’m just turning up and cleaning out the mini-bars.

Fri 09
Feb
2007

My Brilliant Publicity Schedule

Company It’s a big couple of months for my books. Here’s what they’re up to:

  • USA & Canada

    The paperback is out March 13, and I tour two weeks later. The early word is that I’m headed to Los Angeles, Denver, Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago, Austin, Phoenix, and San Francisco. So the result of that polite discussion seems to be that Phoenix beat out Dallas, Milwaukee supplanted Boston, and LA and Madison combined to defeat Ann Arbor. I’m not saying that necessarily reflects on the inherent worth of those places. But you could certainly read it that way.

    The dates and places should be confirmed shortly, and I’ll post ‘em here.

    Also in the US & Canada, an audio version of Syrup has been released. I wonder if that’s some kind of record, a publisher coming out with an audio version nearly eight years after the book. No, probably not. In fact it wouldn’t even be close. I don’t know why I brought that up.

  • Australia & New Zealand

    I’ve spent most of the last year moaning about my publishing troubles in Australia. Because it really grates on me that in my home country I am near-completely unknown, while in the US I am near-completely unknown, but not quite so much. This has nothing to do with wanting recognition for my artistic achievements, you understand. It’s about impressing chicks. But now I have a publisher, Scribe, and they’ve been crazy busy organizing publicity ahead of the March 5th publication. Seriously, you want your publisher to be enthusiastic, but this is almost beyond that. Just today, they’ve sent me… let me check… eleven emails. I have conversations with them that go like this:

    Scribe: “Wow. Company. It’s such a great book.”
    Me: “Thanks.”
    Scribe: “I mean, seriously. I own ten copies. Not for publicity purposes. For myself.”
    Me: “Oh, that’s… keen.”
    Scribe: “Sometimes at night, I take off all my clothes and rub myself with the pages.”

    Well it wouldn’t surprise me. Anyway, the result is I’m doing a lot of Aussie media and book readings and festivals. Here’s what I have details for so far: the Como Writers Festival in Melbourne on the 17th and 18th of February, a Sydney book reading hosted by supercool comedian Wil Anderson on Friday March 16, the Sydney Writers Festival in May, and the Melbourne Writers Festival in August.

  • The Netherlands

    The Dutch Company paperback is out in March, and the publisher has produced this incredibly slick Zephyr Holdings website. It’s got desktop wallpapers and email-your-friends cartoons and everything. I have no idea what they’re about, because they’re in Dutch. But I bet they’re frickin’ hilarious.

    Unfortunately I suspect that this means Company needs to sell about a million copies or Uniboek will collapse under the weight of its outlandish web design expenditure. But fingers crossed.

    They also seem to be re-publishing Jennifer Government under the title Logoland, and synchronizing the cover with Company’s. I love synchronized covers. They make me feel collectible.

  • United Kingdom

    Still bugger all. Sorry.

Wed 01
Nov
2006

Company in Hollywood and Oz

Company If you were wondering what that strange feeling you had recently was—a sensation like some great evil in the world had suddenly been put to rights—then I’m happy to explain: Company has got itself an Australian publication date.

About time, I know. It’s very weird to be published overseas but not at home. I wouldn’t mind if my book was completely ignored or flayed by critics, so long as people could at least find it in a bookshop. Well, I’d mind a little. No, you’re right, that would suck. But having Company unavailable in my home country really niggled at me this year. I’m very happy to be getting that fixed.

The details: it’ll be a A$29.95 paperback out March 2007 from Scribe Publications, available in Australia and New Zealand.

In film news, I spoke to Steve Pink recently—he’s the guy writing the Company screenplay. I gotta say, when the film rights sold to this book, I had no idea how it could be a movie. I mean, it was barely a novel. For me, it was more like colonic irrigation: by the end, I felt like I’d flushed out everything I had left to say about corporate life. But Steve described some scenes to me, and they sounded very funny. So now I’m intrigued.

Apparently if this film gets made, Jen and I get to fly first class to the premiere. Jen thinks this is the most exciting thing ever. Not the movie. The chance to fly first class.

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