One of the things I decided to do upon becoming a 'real' grown-up novelists, was to follow the example of some of my illustrious peers in the RNA and set up a Google alert for myself. In case you don't know what these are, essentially, you feed in key words to Google (in my case, my name and the titles of my two books) and every time something relating to your key-words pops up on the web, a link is posted automatically to your e-mail in-box.
Great, you think; now I can keep tabs on my ever-expanding presence on the world wide web and check out each and every reference to my books and myself as they pop up - er, no.
I don't know what it is about my Google alerts (although I suspect it has everything to do with me and how I set it up and nothing at all to do with with the technical capabilities of Google) but I can go whole without anything (including my rather fabby review by Leah, or this blog or, in fact anything that I KNOW IS UP THERE) actually coming through on the alert. However, I do get a lot of scores for High School soccer in the States which is played, I now know, almost entirely by teenage girls called Allie. I have also discovered that 'Tug' is quite a popular boys' name Stateside, that many people blog about their dog's favourite 'tug toy' and I got a whole sheaf of alerts over - although you might not want to dwell too much on the connotations of this last one - a welsh sheep farmer and his involvement in an ovine tug-of-love battle.
However the biggie, the alert to end all alerts over the past week or so has been the outing of Belle Du Jour of 'The Secret Diary of a Call Girl' fame and the similarity the title of her book (unwittingly I promise you!) bears to my 'Not So Secret Diary of a City Girl'. It has just enough lexiographic approximations to my own title to have sent my in-box into a positive frenzy - something I am sure Belle herself is quite used to achieving in other, non-inbox related, contexts.
Sigh. I can only hope that, come April, the tables will be reveresed and it will be Belle herself ploughing through the Google alerts and finding reference after reference to my very own 'City Girl.