Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Exponential Thinking

I found out that the next 500 copies of "Involuntary Joy" will ship around Sept. 27. So, really, it's only a matter of days before I need to sharpen my focus on the business of selling books again. Let me clarify: The books are still selling; but when I get 500 more in stock, I'll want them to sell at a pace that allows me to climb out of the debt I incurred to print them. A pragmatically practical concern. (Interest rates are related to the concept of exponential growth too, but that's not what this blog is about.)

Back to the books: As it is, I'm down to less than 60 copies of the first 500. And that's a bit unreal, considering they arrived July 20--less than two months ago.

I've learned a bit about book selling and distribution these past six weeks. The most fascinating thing: How one book is read by multiple persons--usually by at least one other person, but sometimes as many as three to four others. Therefore, there may be 440 copies of "Involuntary Joy" circulating, but it's possible that more than 800 people have read it.

I'm still trying to grasp the scope of that. What does it mean--if anything--beyond learning that one person loaned (or gifted) his or her copy to another?

Please don't assume that my exponential musings are linked to grandiose concepts. More like anecdotes from childhood--like a hair care commercial from the 70s where a woman tells her friend about it, then she tells her friend, and so on and so on. I can still see the TV screen fill with two boxes, then four boxes, then eight, and so on--each showing smiley women with flowing hair. News of the product took off exponentially, growing in proportion to the hair product's fans.

Accompanying this commercialized memory is something more spiritual: A song from Bible school about love being like a magic penny. The lyrics went something like:

.. It's just like a magic penny--
.. hold it close and you won't have any.
.. Lend it, spend it, you'll have so many,
.. they'll roll all over the floor.

.. Love is nothing 'til you give it away,
.. give it away,
.. give it away.
.. Love is nothing 'til you give it away.
.. You end up having more.

I love that image.
Love spilling out all over the place.
Exponential love.

Now that's some kind of involuntary joy.
Amen. May it indeed be so.

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