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Today’s productivity was not limited to making my website live. It started with me uploading two new editions of Greenville: Where Longing Meets Loss to my Cafe Press store. Let me ‘xplain …

From the outset, I knew I wanted to do something different with Greenville. I like how books serendipitously find their way to me when I need them. I like how books are passed from person to person in an orgy of intellectual sharing. How to tap these qualities?

When I was first making notes about marketing and distribution, I knew I wanted to find a way to experiment with Malcolm Gladwell’s tipping point of 150 people. How did he arrive at this figure? My thinking on this is fuzzy because I read The Tipping Point ages ago, but it may have something to do with how many people we as individuals can know well. Once a group grows to larger than 150 members (i.e. at church, in a company), the group will start to splinter into cliques or factions because the cohesiveness of the smaller group is gone.

I also sensed that the number 150 was itself a tipping point, that once 150 people came to know about something, that something might have enough momentum to tip and become more widely known. I could be totally making this last part up, but this is what I put together from reading Gladwell’s book. That led to my wanting to create a book that had enough of a gimick that it begged to be both easily shared and discussed – both critical to getting it to tip.

Thus, the Sharing Edition of Greenville was developed. The Sharing Edition has a different title on the cover: This Book Is Your Destiny, because who isn’t attracted to the idea of their own destiny? The book also has an introduction that explains what I’m telling you here, plus a number of pages in the front that have blank lines on which readers and others who come in contact with a particular copy can write their names and locations. Future readers can then see who has had the book before them and where the book has been. (My Hubby says this is like the library cards of old, the ones inside books that you had to sign in order to check them out.  Remember those?)

The Sharing Edition was my initial concept of the book. After thinking on it for a while, I decided I needed to create an edition that was typical for the publishing world – the book people buy and read and then shelve among their personal collections at home. This is the Keeping Edition.

As long as I was releasing two editions, I figured a third wouldn’t hurt and the Unfinished Edition was born. (The beauty of print-on-demand!) In the Unfinished Edition, I’ve lopped off the last story in the series and provided blank pages for readers to write their own ending. Participatory books are the bomb, and I’d love to see how readers’ endings compare with my own.

It feels good to have all of the editions available and the website up and running. Now I’ll have to wait and see how my wacky publishing ideas play out.

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