On The (Writing) Alert
I’ve been a little slack lately, so the other day, when I came across an author friend’s mention of Mention, I started investigating. And I found that Mention is a search tool that will send you alerts and analyze your web presence. Pretty swell, right?
But maybe you’re wondering just how, specifically, an “alert” application can help you in the writing business. So let’s take a look at authors who’ve released a book, or writers who have a byline in a book.
Don’t you want to know who’s talking about you—and perhaps more importantly, what they’re saying about your book? Analytic search engine sites like Mention will alert you—in real time. You can zip over and take a look, maybe respond with a hearty “thank you” if someone’s given you a wonderful review. (Though it’s never a good idea to respond to the less-than-flattering reviews. That’s the sort of attention you don’t want!)
Finding reviews, staying on top of the buzz about your book or your name, is one use of alerts; finding a pirated copy of your book is another. Often, the big publishers will take care of these Internet scofflaws for you, once you give them a heads up. For the self-published author, it can be a demanding grab of your marketing time to track down the pirates. You’ll have to decide if it’s worth the trouble to go after someone who’s stolen your work.
And you’ll have to decide whether you want to invest your hard-earned money in the advanced media-monitoring tools. Mention, and other sites like Talkwalker, or IceRocket have free tools available, though the alerts are limited. But I suspect that for most authors, an alert for a book title or author/writer name is really all you need.
And of course, some of you may already use Google Alerts. I’ve had a Google Alert set up for Cathy C. Hall since forever and I’ve received about…well, let’s see. Counting this year and last year, I’m going to say…three notifications.
Now, I may not be a fancy-pants famous writer, but Cathy C. Hall comes up on every Muffin post I write. So, I’m not sure Google Alerts is on the job. And before you say that I’m not being fair, I tried (the free versions of) Mention, Talkwalker, and IceRocket, to see if my name would appear and I popped up all over the place.
Still, Google Alerts might work fine for you. It’s all about options, maximizing your marketing time and dollars, and being alert to your, well, alerts. And now you have a couple more search tools to try. Or maybe you use something different. Give us a heads up on what works for you!
~Cathy C. Hall