Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I've received about 6 variations of the following e-mail in the past two months:
I found your Cribnotes blog the other day and I noticed that you haven't updated it in a while. So I was wondering if you are interested in selling it. As you may or may not know search engines seem to like older sites a bit more than newer ones and since yours is a few years old, it would be better than if I just started a new one.
Let me save you some trouble. While I appreciate your attempted ingenuity, I am not interested in "selling" you this website. It's entirely possible that I'll decide to resume daily updates tomorrow—but in the meantime, at least, people apparently continue to find the eBay tips helpful so I intend to leave them be.

I was talking to a friend the other day. He builds custom guitars. He was telling me how, some years ago, he built a guitar company and then sold the brand when it had become successful. The new owners slashed costs, and with them quality, and long story short, my friend bought back his brand and then killed it. He didn't want lesser products associated with his name.

If there's one thing I adore, it's learning from other people's mistakes and thereby avoiding them myself. For all I know, the next Hemingway is ready to buy this website for $160,000 and I could wind up on Oprah talking about how I was there at the beginning. I doubt it; the myth of "undiscovered talent" is exactly that. But mostly, if I put my name next to something, then it's mine. (And vice versa.) This website's purpose was to be a scratchpad when I didn't have occasion otherwise to write regularly. It isn't something I took or take seriously, although obviously I'm gratified that some parts proved helpful. Nonetheless, I'm not interested in handing over the reins. Thanks for your offers, but the answer's no. Good luck elsewhere.

...Unless you're Thomas Keller, offering a renewing annual reservation at the French Laundry. In that case, we can talk.


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