Getting noticed in the Midlands

Is it more difficult to succeed in places like Omaha or Little Rock? or in my case Detroit. I remember hearing Sara Paretsky speak at the American Popular Culture meetings a few years back. She said that when she wanted to set her series in Chicago, the publishers balked. Nobody is interested in places like that, she was told. Things have improved in twenty years, but do you have to be Elmore Leonard or Loren Estleman to get noticed here. I’m thinking now more of people writing novels than myself. Is it hard to get noticed by local newspapers and bookstores in your area? Book reviewers in most papers seem to want to review a new book by Janet Evanovich more than a newbie from their own area. What are the duties of reviewers in terms of reviewing books by local writers or novels set in their region. Did local bookstores and newspapers support your first efforts?