Since Fouling Out is my first novel in print, I am enjoying discovering what happens after a book goes into publication. I do not get daily, weekly or even monthly feedback about how many copies have been bought. Instead, by contract, I shall receive royalty statements twice a year. The first, covering April through June of 2008, has yet to arrive. In the meantime, I remain curious about the buzz or lack of buzz arising from the book.
The Internet is a logical place to turn. On Yahoo and Google, you can search pretty much any topic and get a link or two that is at least remotely connected to the topic. For no reason whatsoever, I just Googled "dust bunny" and 165,000 links surfaced. "Dog poop" produced 836,000 site references and "twist tie" elicited 157,000 links. Back in February, I first Googled my own name and the title of my book. At that time, I think there may have been eight or ten links. The sites were for Amazon.com, Target.com and Orcabook.com. I have to say I found the search to be rather amusing and exciting. I existed. My book existed. Ain't life grand?!
Egosurfing is the term for conducting a search of your own name online. There is even a Wikipedia entry to explain the word. I must confess that I egosurf a few times each month. The number of links has gone from a handful to 428 site references today. (Interestingly, a search of "gregory walters" and "fouling out" produces 428 links whereas reversing the order of the terms results in 427 links. How did the one get away?!)
Am I vain to egosurf? I contend that the search is informative. I have discovered that my book is carried in libraries in places like Stratford, Ontario, Cranbrook, B.C., Manassas Park, Virginia and, most recently, Carrollton, Texas. I get a kick out of knowing that the Regina library system carries seven copies of Fouling Out while Gwinnett County, Georgia has four copies in its public libraries. How do the books get there?
If there is any vanity in egosurfing, I am easily humbled knowing dog poop and dust bunnies are vastly more popular. It helps to know where I stand in the Internet world.