Title: The Librarian at the End of the World
Available: October 1, 2019
Order Page: From The Librarian at the End of the World:
Mark Miller is a traditionally published author who has also self-published. He has recently realized that he had to give up on the world to write about it.
1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
The Librarian at the End of the World is a book about librarianship, drug mules, water wars, the surveillance state, climate crisis, illicit cheese making, porn, Ragnarök, and an underground league of competitive speedbathing, among other things. I felt I had to write this novel because no one else would. The cheese cartels are powerful, even if they fly mostly under the radar. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if I am murdered in my sleep, run through a meat grinder, and disposed of in the ocean.
2. How have your sales been?
3. You’ve decided to use a traditional publisher for your book. Why did you choose this versus self-publishing?
I had some offers on this book from several publishers, but either they were offering very little in the way of author support or they were wanting me to shy away from some of the more revelatory claims about [redacted]. So I was tempted to self-publish it, but Montag offered a lot of support and said from the start that their legal department is always looking for a fight and a challenge, so I went with them. In my experience their lawyers are amazing. The thing against the State of California that we are no longer allowed to talk about was huge, you know? And then the incident after Ruuf Wangersen’s bowling tournament victory was kind of complicated, but we all walked free after only a couple of hours. I’m just glad they’re on my side. As a side note, who knew that guy could bowl like that? Hell of an author, and a mean Brooklyn to boot. A lot of people don’t realize that he bowled a perfect game at the Nude Nationals. So Montag has been great. Plus they’ve published a lot of work I’ve quite enjoyed. They have a good eye for the deliciously odd.
4. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?
I’ve been going to lots of different dive bars and drinking. I made friends with this guy named Lou who says he read Catcher in the Rye in high school, so I’m hopeful that he will pick up a copy. I’ve also asked several authors to do live Facebook readings of my work, and those have been interesting. I’m scheduled to be on some internet radio stations, and finally I threaten people with bodily harm if they don’t buy the book. I know where you live and have found reception to threats mostly positive. Also, I am very grateful to the bloggers and reviewers who have looked at this book! The response has been great. Seriously. I’ve traced your IP address and have a lot of frequent flyer miles saved up. I can and will come to your home.
5. Talk a little about the sort of marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?
I never promoted too much before this book. I would write books mostly as an act of exorcising them from me…and then I would just let them go into the wild and think, “Well, if it is good people will read it.” My sales have mostly reflected that attitude.
This time I am doing readings, social media, some advertising, and a bit of promotions, as well. We’re doing nationwide events at Taco Gringos, starting in November. The legal team has told me not to say too much about it, but those are going to be fun and probably generate some headlines. I’m excited, and I think people are going to be happy when they receive their inflate-a-dates.
6. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
Not at this point. Most things are on the table. In general, I find that dishonesty is the best policy. For instance, I am a very boring person, and I write very boring things. Once I had occasion to spend a week in Rockford, Illinois, and if you’ve never been there, you should know that the locals have a saying that goes something like this: “Nothing happens here but terrible, boring things.” They take that seriously as a kind of local ethos. Even they thought I was a tremendous bore. I walk into a club like I don’t belong there. I say turn the music down. I want to go home. But my marketing materials will say the opposite.
7. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
My self-editing skills are not as thorough as I thought. Also the process moves very slowly. Some of the things I wrote about as pure speculation have actually happened in real life now. So I am starting an absurdist psychic hotline soon.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
The point for a lot of people is to sell a lot of books, but that has never been the most important thing to me. The world is weird, and it’s my duty to make fun of it, and that’s all I know how to do. Mostly I want to make other people laugh. It makes things seem less hopeless. If 100 people read it, and one of them says, Hmmm, I think a pansexual country western star would cause some incredible cognitive dissonance, let’s start a band! Then I’ve succeeded. If this book inspires just one extra weird thing to happen in real life then I would not do anything differently.
9. New authors face the challenge of getting their books into the hands of readers. What advice do you have for an author just starting out?
Be honest with the other writers in your creative community. Give good feedback. Share what works and what doesn’t. Indie authors are all in this together, and we need to support one another as best we can.
Also, Montag arranged for me to use stoiad.com. It looked useful at first but their database of author supports was poorly indexed (ie. searching for “humor” discovered no resources and searching for “fiction” turned up a lot of dead links. It might be useful if they hire a librarian to sort their stuff out and do some research on the resources they link to.
10. What other projects are you currently working on?
I started noticing that there are not many romance novels about conjoined twins, so I am working on a new book to fill that void in the literary landscape. Also, there are a lot of interesting ways that the world could end, so I’m going to test the hypothesis that love is forever.
11. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
The world is a sinking ship, piloted by fools, and it is our sacred duty to mock the captain, the ship builders, the passengers, the ocean, and the iceberg.
Xtina Marie and James H Longmore interview me on PanicRoomRadio!
We talk about my inspiration for the book and I read the chapter that started it all: I intended to write Happy Birthday on a friend’s facebook wall, but it turned into a narrative about a pansexual country western singer.
I don’t know where it came from, but I knew I had to write a novel about that guy.
A friend and I had been recording some songs that night, and as tradition dictated, we’d been drinking whiskey for the better part of four hours, and I’d only slept for hours the night before, so I have kind of been afraid to listen to this. So I need you to listen and tell me if it’s bad. Thanks.