It took a long time to complete my first novel. Who am I kidding? It took one hell of a long time; a lot longer than I really care to admit. During those weeks, months and years, finishing the manuscript was my primary goal. But as I drew closer to the finish line, I began researching what my next step and/or steps should be. In addition to identifying potential agents and publishers, there was the question of marketing. I’d written the great American novel, at least my version of it. How was I to go about telling the world what I’d done?
There are, I now know, countless websites, blog posts, books, videos, podcasts, magazine articles and who knows what else, dedicated to that very subject. The underlying theme is social media. How do you find something now-a-days? Simple. You google it. I learned recently that Google is the default search engine for something like 78% of web users. So, obviously, that’s the market I want to reach. The big question is how?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in nearly sixteen years of marriage it’s how to take orders. I was told I needed a website. Yes dear. I proudly and somewhat reluctantly launched michaelsova.com. I was told I had to be on Facebook and Twitter. Sure;. No problem. I’ll get to it right after I take out the trash. It seems kind of weird for someone with no fans to have a Facebook fan page but dammit I’ve got one. If the objective is to get your name out there, these are the steps one supposedly must take. Finally, more than anything else, I was told I needed to blog. As you can see, I’m now doing that too. In addition to my somewhat random and often rambling Wishful Thinking blog, I have my Turn the Page blog dedicated entirely to book reviews. I post a new review each week.
I’ve crossed my t‘s, dotted my i‘s, jumped through all the mandatory hoops. I really thought I was doing okay with this stuff. After all, if you google Michael Sova right now, you’ll get over a million results. That’s got to be a sign of progress, right? So what if googling John Grisham gets almost a billion hits? I can’t let that burst my bubble. He’s been at it a heck of a lot longer. Ain’t nothing’ gonna break my stride. Nobody’s gonna slow me down. My hard work is paying off. Just like Nathan R. Johnson (obscure reference #2), I’m Somebody! Or not.
Although Michael Sova does bring up a million results on Google, the vast majority have nothing to do with me. Turns out there are 49 Michael Sovas living in the United States alone. Two of them live in my house. How’s a fellow ever supposed to stand out? The blogs, websites and other stuff are merely drops in an ever expanding, ever deepening bucket. I was listening to a podcast this morning and learned that I’m totally missing the boat if I’m not on Google+, Instagram and Goodreads. I’m not even sure what these things are or what they do but I evidently have to learn if I ever want to get anywhere. I should also be using keywords, tags, and carefully chosen, unnecessarily lengthy book titles to help manipulate website algorithms so my name/book/blog will appear at the top of any search list. Here’s the thing. I’ve written a book that I’d like very much for people to red and enjoy. I’m currently at work on my second project and my goals for that are the same. I don’t need fame or fortune. Well, I don’t need fame. A modicum of success would be nice. But with all these other so-called obligations, when it requires so much time and energy just to get my needle into this Mount Kilimanjaro of a haystack, when is a writer supposed to find time to write?