Twitter has its uses, eh? After tweeting some of my ridiculous schtick (I’ve been using Twitter as a sort of stream-o-consciousness platform, just riffing on whatever random topic comes to mind), this time concerning how I want everyone to send me their battered well-loved copies of my books in return for a pristine new copy. I’d encourage everyone to sign their used copies before sending them to me, and I’d start a little museum of the personalized copies of my books. Sean Ferrell replied with an even better idea: Folks should send me their used copies and I send them a new copy with a different ending.
This is genius. We quickly sketched out a fantastic idea: Publishing a book that had many, many different subtle variations. Like, 250 different versions of the book. We’d tell no one. No announcement, no PR campaign. One person’s copy would have the hero dying in the end, another’s would have him live. Some would be almost identical except for different adjectives used throughout. The point is, we’d tell no one. Slowly, people would start to realize what we’d done.
This would be an amazing idea, a social experiment cum publishing stunt. But of course you’d need a publisher that doesn’t mind being a little ridiculous, and the brass balls to do it all with a straight face. Not to mention possibly invalidating your story completely if there are sixteen different endings and a basic admittance that it doesn’t matter what adjectives you use in that scene.
Still. . .I’m tempted.
Of course, you could do this much easier with an eBook, just serving up randomly selected files from a pool. Still, as Nick Mamatas pointed out on a recent SF Signal mind-Meld, eBooks are overpriced currently ($10 for a file I don’t even actually own, but only ‘license’? Jebus save us) and many are encumbered with DRM. So eBooks currently=Fail. Plus also too, doing this sort of thing with actual printed copies is so much more grand and epic. People could spend years trying to collect ’em all! And then think of the translations!
So, next time you’re reading one of my books, you might want to call up a friend and compare some pages. You never know.