On The (Writing) Alert

Thursday, June 25, 2015
How alert are you? Do you keep up with your books, your byline, your brand?

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


Sioux Roslawski said...

I use a free program called "Whispers." When I see people whispering off on the side of a room, I assume they're talking about the Crocs I'm rockin'.

And over the years, I've gotten way more than three "notifications."

Seriously, thanks for the info. At some point, I might be worried about what is being said about my work... WHEN (not if) it really gets out there...

Suzanne Pitner said...

This is great advice, Cathy! I have Google alerts set up for Suzanne Lilly and some other search terms. It works, but not as well as I would like. For example, my book, Shades of the Future gets all kinds of alerts for Fifty Shades of Grey. Sheesh! I'm definitely heading over to Mention and check it out. :-)

Cathy C. Hall said...

Yes, Suzanne, that's a common problem. But I think these search tools are more refined. Let me know how it works!

And Sioux, going old school, huh? (But you might be surprised where your name pops up. Why not give one of these tools a try--you may be more famous than you realize!)

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Timely! And thanks for checking out the others, too, so you could recommend the one. I already zipped over there and set up. :)

Robyn Chausse said...

Halleluiah! I had no idea these sites were out there! I've used Google Alerts as well--with about the same results. So, every once in awhile I'll do online searches with keywords, etc-- tedious and time consuming. This will be so much better :)

Linda O'Connell said...

Well thank you very much for this information. My problem is there is another person with my name and I always get her alerts on Google Alert.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I've never heard of those tools. I'm not much of a tracker of my own name ... Google Alerts work for a variety of topics I track for non-related items. I'll have to check the new tools out. I wonder if you dropped the middle initial, if you would show up more?

Donna Volkenannt said...

Your posts are always so helpful. Thanks for the heads up. I'm going to check out the sites.

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