Almost a year has passed since I self-published my children’s fantasy novel.
When I finally had the hard copy in my hands, I decided to give it to immediate members of my family and told them not to tell anyone else about it.
My intention was to establish myself with social media first: set up a website, for example. I wanted to see the true power of social media; to see if others I knew would recognize my book without being told by my family.
One advantage I have is being a teacher in a middle school where students are using social media not only at school but also inside and outside of their homes. I figured that one day, one student would stumble upon my creation. And students do not shut up about these things, as if they have just unveiled a crude secret about their teacher and want to be the first to clue in their friends.
This past week, one of my more difficult students passed me in the hall and spluttered, “Hey Mr. Coates, I saw you on Google Images.”
This, in itself, is not surprising. This boy does not care about me. Obviously, he wanted to “dig up some dirt” on someone. My name was probably one of the many he looked up and he happened to find the picture that is on the book’s back cover.
“Yes,” I grinned, “but do you know why it’s there?”
This was probably the cleverest thing I could have said: I wanted to create some mystery, some suspense.
He, or perhaps others, pursued their investigation. Maybe because they were curious to see what crime I had committed, or what had made me famous. Perhaps they were wondering if I had been on Dancing With the Stars.
It does not matter. The fact is their hard work led to their finding that I had written a children’s book.
One student said, “You actually wrote a book?” in that dumbfounded way that students often sound when they don’t believe their teachers have lives outside of school.
Uh, the power of the Internet.