Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Useful Tool for the Writer

By Dana Stabenow

[Originally posted at:]

One of the most useful online tools for the writer is Google Alerts.

With Google Alerts, Google monitors the Internet for mention of your name. (Or any topic you choose, but for the purposes of this post, you the writer are looking for mentions of your name on line). They send the results either to your email address or to your reader, your choice.

There are three drop-down menus which help narrow search parameters and frequency of delivery, Type (Everything, News, Blogs, Videos, Realtime, Discussions), How Often (as-it-happens, once a day, once a week), and Volume (Only the best results, All results).

My name is my search term, set at Everything, once a week, Only the best results. I could do Alerts for each title of my book, too, but the idea is to have Google Alerts help me manage my time, not chew up more of it. Besides, I don’t think it’s necessary. Read on.

My Google Alert lands in my inbox every Thursday morning. Last Thursday, it looked like this.

In the past, my Google Alert has, ah, alerted me to, among other things, illegal electronic downloads of my books, blog mentions, sales of my books on eBay, tweets about me, a blog post excoriating bad formatting of one of my e-books on Amazon, and reviews.

See that item down at the bottom? Here, let me single it out for you.

Before last Thursday morning, I’d never heard of the Washington Independent Review of Books, or that they had reviewed Though Not Dead.

Alerted, I contacted them to ask permission to reblog it. They said yes, and I did so, right here.

Best of all?

Google Alerts is free.

Dana Stabenow is the award-winning author of the 18-book Kate Shugak mystery series, the four-book Liam Campbell mystery series and the three-book Star Svensdotter science fiction series. The most recent title in the Kate Shugak series is Though Not Dead, a mystery set in contemporary Alaska that includes more than a passing mention of Dashiell Hammett's Army days in the Aleutian Islands during World War II.


Caroline said...

Thanks for the info.

Mary Vaughn said...

Thanks for explaining this. I really wanted to know what to do with it.
hanks again.


Beth Groundwater said...

I've found Google Alerts performance to be very spotty lately. They don't catch at least half of the blog posts and on-line articles that I know about, so I wonder what else they're missing.

Pandora Swift said...

Aha! The mystery is revealed. I'd heard about it, but never actually tried it. THANK YOU, Dana!

Tracy March said...

Thanks, Dana!

I'm all about a tool that will save time. Let us know when you come across something that will slow it down!

Dana Stabenow said...

I'll get right on that, Tracy.

Marcia Talley said...

Hint: I put my name in " " to improve accuracy of results. Love this service!

VP Chandler said...

So that's what it is. Thanks for the info!

Pam De Voe said...

Fascinating. I tried it & it's actually fun as well as useful.

Angela Ackerman said...

Love Google alerts!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse