Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Be Alert

I am far from alert at this moment as I am in a household of sickness.  Everyone of us, except my husband who is usually just the one carrying the bug, has come down with strep throat.  Boo.

So I am only giving a quick tip today, but one I am very fond of: Google Alerts.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Google Alerts, here's a blurb from the Google website about what this nifty function does:

Google Alerts are emails sent to you when Google finds new results -- such as web pages, newspaper articles, or blogs -- that match your search term. You can use Google Alerts to monitor anything on the Web. For example, people use Google Alerts to:
  • find out what is being said about their company or product.
  • monitor a developing news story.
  • keep up to date on a competitor or industry.
  • get the latest news on a celebrity or sports team.
  • find out what's being said about themselves.
Here's how it works:
  1. You enter a query that you're interested in.
  2. Google Alerts checks regularly to see if there are new results for your query.
  3. If there are new results, Google Alerts sends them to you in an email.
For general queries like football ], you can get a summary of the new results every day. For specific topics, likecardiovascular atherosclerosis ], you might not get an email every day, but you'll find out when something new and relevant is published.

If you aren't using Google Alerts, please do!  It's the best way to track your image through the web and find out what people are saying about you. You can track as many terms as you like with this tool, even your competition or things you just like to follow. I recommend you at least follow your name or author pseudonym and your book title(s). Maybe you also want to follow your agent or editor, up to you. Sign up for your alerts here.

UPDATE TO THIS POST: From some of the comments I think I better mention that you can specify how often you receive alerts. I usually get them once a day or once a week depending on if I'm monitoring something for myself or a client. When I get them, I receive one email per alert term with a list of everything that the internet found for that time period grouped in type of item (Twitter, web, etc.). It's easy to scroll through or just ignore any time I choose. Plus you can end your alert at any time. Hope that's a helpful addition to the post!

How do you use Google Alerts? Has it been helpful for you? 


Emily Rittel-King said...

I hope feel better soon!
That is so cool about Google alerts. I had no idea you could do that. And what a good idea to follow your agent or editor that way. I'll have to check it out.

Laura Barnes said...

Thanks, Emily. We just need rest, rest, rest :)

Jen Daiker said...

Well now isn't that crazy! I've been hearing a lot about it lately but didn't know what the heck it meant. I have a feeling that my inbox would be FULL if I chose a word. Not sure I want an inbox full of nothing... unless it's for agents and editors... Hmmm... maybe I should consider!

*sends chicken noodle soup* Feel better!

Laura Barnes said...

Jen, good point about an inbox full of junk, but you can select the alert to come once a week, if you like, and then all the alerts are in one email that you can sift through quickly. I should have mentioned that in my post!

Thanks for the soup!

Carol Riggs said...

Okay, this is the second time I've seen something about Google Alerts lately, and I'm starting to think it's a great idea. I wouldn't want to do it for subjects, but it might be good to keep track of where my own name pops up. :) Oh...unless it sends me an alert every time I make a comment on someone's post!

Thanks for the info. :)

Laura Barnes said...

Carol, you may get an alert when you post comments, but see my update in the above post. You can select how frequently you get your alert and it is all in one email so you aren't bombarded. Hope that helps!

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