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Are You Using Google Alerts?

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Do you use Google Alerts at all? They can be pretty useful for writers. I've had some set up for a while now and thought I'd mention them in case you hadn't come across them.

So what are they? Google Alerts are simply searches that you define once and which Google then runs on your behalf, emailing you with any results. So, to keep an eye out for any mention of your name, you just set up an alert specifying that as a search term and Google will tell you when it finds something new containing it. Obviously, the less common the search term, the more likely the results will be relevant. So far as I can make out, I'm the only Simon Kewin on the planet. If my name was John Smith it might not work quite so well. But you could always set up searches for the names of stories/books you've written.

The service is free and pretty configurable. You can specify how often you get emailed, what is searched and so forth. Highly recommended. The page to set them up is here.

Here are some of the things you could use the system to keep tabs on. I'm sure you can think of others :

  • Reviews of stories/books you've written
  • Articles on favourite writers
  • Mentions of agents or publishers you're considering approaching
  • Announcements of new short story competitions
  • Articles on some period or location you're researching
And so on. If you find yourself making the same searches again and again, why not just set up an Alert instead and let Google do it for you?


    1. Good tip. I've just set some up.

      Unusual names have their advantages.

    2. That's true - although you do get sick of spelling them to everyone ...

    3. I wish, oh I wish, I had an unusual name:-/

    4. Thomas,

      I've just searched for your name on Wikipedia. I see what you mean!

    5. Yes. Sometimes I pretend to be the platonist:-)

    6. Well, yes, we've all done that ...


    I'd love to know what you think.