Saturday, April 12, 2008

Google Alerts, a great tool for authors

I discovered a hidden gem via one of my author groups, Google Alerts. Within minutes, authors can be signed up for email alerts that can give them a new way to keep track of what people are saying about their titles, including new reviews, and keep up with publishing news.

Here is how it works—

Google Alerts sends you an email each time a new page for your chosen term makes it in the top twenty results on Google’s web search. You can also have the alert check Google News and/or Google Groups for terms you choose.

To sign up for a Google Alert, all that you need to do is visit the Google Alerts homepage, enter the search term, type of alert (search Google News, Google Groups, or the web), frequency of emails (daily, as it happens, or weekly), and your email address.

You can set up alerts for as many terms as you like using a Google Account. I have mine set to let me know when searchers look for my author name, my married name, and my book titles. I’ve learned of new reviews via Google Alert, and at the beginning of each quarter, my married name (the one I use at my school) usually gets several hits. There is no information on the web for my students, but they always try to find out about the English instructor, and Google lets me know about it.

Why should authors use alerts?

By receiving alerts on publishers and/or other authors who write in the same genre, you can learn who has a new contract, which might steer you toward a new publisher. Negative news can be just as important, when you might want to seek a different publisher or agent.

By having Google Alerts on both of my names and my novels, I can be on top of anything negative relating to either of them. Also, it is fun when an alert lets you know of someone praising your work or your publisher. Those are the types of things that you want to make sure are on the PR page of your website. Get a free account, and let the info come to you!

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