Thanks and have a great summer

Posted by Matt Kuhns on Jul 16, 2013

I would like to say a formal “thank you” to all who have visited this site, or may yet do so, or taken an interest in my modest little project here one way or another. As well as, of course, a special double extra “thank you” to those who have purchased my book and/or shared kind comments in one forum or another.

Thank you.

I am very close to 100 posts on this blog, now; if we guess that the average post is close to 600 words that’s a total of about 60,000. As my book is a bit more than 112,000 words, then even allowing for a lot of ballpark estimating, I have now posted around half as much additional material online for free as the entire content of the book I’m theoretically promoting.

I’m pleased with that. My main purpose in writing Brilliant Deduction was not making money, which is good because at the current pace it will be a long time before the project achieves even a modestly defined profit. Having committed myself to writing and then publishing this work, I decided nonetheless to make a go at promoting it, and in the process have tried a number of things I have rarely if ever done before. I’ve done a good deal of “warm” and even “cold” sales pitching. I’ve sent out a press release. I’ve walked into stores with wares to offer for stock. I’ve spoken to an audience of strangers in a double-bill with a retired FBI agent. I’ve literally set out my stall at an author fair and spent the day meeting and greeting all kinds of visitors (and thanks, too, to everyone who stopped at my table at Author Alley). I’ve even contacted the alumni association with genuinely exciting news about myself for the first time.

It’s been a great ride even though, yeah, sales numbers have been modest. Nice all the same, believe me; I have been thrilled at both the critical and commercial reaction to this out-of-nowhere self-published book!

The modesty, by most objective standards, of the results to date is nothing I was unprepared for, or have to worry terribly over. I can count myself as fortunate enough to have adequate business as a designer, these days, and while I do have further material ambitions as yet unrealized… I’ve come to find that with at least some reasonable degree of material comfort achieved, I judge ventures more and more on whether they add value. And whether they interest me, of course, but beyond that I think about “will this make some positive contribution,” perhaps for the simple reason that this is something I can control. I can’t really control whether something I work on is popular, or makes money, but I can at least choose to pursue projects that seem worthwhile. Which, considering how much of work seems like spinning a hamster-wheel for many people, is perhaps also a reason to feel fortunate; at any rate, it’s an opportunity I try to make the most of. I may not achieve or even have world-changing ambitions, but if I can at lease preserve something, communicate something, organize something in a way that’s more helpful, and thereby enrich life even a tiny bit for one person some day… well, that’s more rewarding than filling out TPS report cover sheets.

I feel like I’ve accomplished that with this blog, and I’m pleased with that. Comments haven’t exactly been busy, but pretty much every one has been thoughtful, interesting and tremendously appreciated. And I have been able to share not only my own notes and speculations, but the results of various interesting conversations prompted by people finding this site or some other trace of my project on the vast net and reaching out to me. At times I feel like there is just a bit, perhaps, of a comeback for history’s real-life great detectives in progress, and if very little of it can be attributed directly to my efforts I have nonetheless contributed in some way.

Which I expect I will continue doing for some time to come; it also feels a bit like I’ve taken on some sort of custodial responsibility for these figures’ memory and reputation. And I still find the subject interesting, anyway; I will certainly have more notes to add here.

But the pace is likely to slow down further; when I was preparing my book launch at the end of last year, I made very loose plans of about six months of “active” efforts at promotion with the intention of serving up fresh content here for potential visitors, at least a few times per week, throughout that period. It’s now mid-July and I believe this is as good a point as any for a formal switch over to “low wattage broadcasting.” As the book is not tied to current events, I can and probably will go on trying to nudge people toward it, and keep handing out bookmarks until my supply runs out. I’ll keep posting things here when so inspired, but I’m not going to task myself with sitting down and writing more simply to supply new content.

I do have another book in the research stage, and will certainly mention it here when the time comes, but that could be a year away at least. In the meantime, if anyone really wants more noise from me (and anyone who makes it this far very well may, I suppose), you can visit my design blog. I use Twitter, though I’m uncertain how much or for how much longer. And, y’know, you can always go old-school and ask for a free copy of printed revival zine Quantum Whatever: The Broken Circle.

Otherwise, have a splendid summer!

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