My first name didn’t take. I arrived on this planet nine days before the cartoon strip “Dennis the Menace” premiered in newspapers nationwide. No way a blue-eyed white boy with a blonde cowlick was going to be called John in 1951, when his middle name was Dennis. The menace moniker stuck.
Like a lot of sickly kids, I was a big reader. The Dick & Jane books they gave us in school were crap. No plot, no setting, no memorable characters. So I haunted the town library in Grafton, Massachusetts. The more books I read, the more red apple stickers I could add to my Summer Reading Apple Tree Poster. I was hooked.
It’s unclear when I officially reclaimed the letter “J.” Maybe junior high. By then I had long ago made up my mind to be a writer. I noticed a lot of authors used initials -- J.D. Salinger, F. Scott Fitzgerald, e.e. cummings, E.B.White, L. Frank Baum. I was a huge fan of H.G. Wells and C.S. Lewis.
But I didn’t become a pain in the ass about my literary “brand” until Google showed up and “searchability” became a survival requirement. If readers can’t find your books and your essays online these days, you don’t exist. If you can’t “monetize” your works, you don’t eat. They say most authors spend at least 40% of their time promoting their work instead of writing. It’s worse than that.
If you type my full branded name into any search engine, I’m all over the place. If you put my name inside quotation marks--well, I’ve never checked all 10,000 references-- but it makes me blush.
I’ve been pumping out stories online for over two decades now. At this writing there are a few thousand unique web pages with my byline floating around in the digital universe, plus a dozen mostly hardcover books in the real world. And while boldface self promotion does not come easily for most introverted authors, I have finally cobbled together a list of my book-length works. Here it is. A hub of me.
A domain name, according to Wikipedia, is “an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the internet.” That quote alone shows how badly the world still needs good writers. I’m a good writer. I write every day unless I’m binge watching something good on TV. Writing has been my profession full time for decades. It hurts like hell, but it’s a wonderful job.
So Google, I hope you’re happy. I genuflect before your awesome logo. Search out my new author website, thou mighty engine, and find me worthy of thy holy algorithm.