Tools: Use Google Alerts to keep up with your titles and authors

I confess: On the day after I turn in the final edits on a title and submit my invoice, I want nothing to do with that title ever again. After two full passes and assorted spot checks, I am SO DONE. But a month or so later, when I start seeing Twitter mentions of books I’ve worked on, I get curious.

Enter Google Alerts. Google Alerts lets you set up search terms and sends you email when it finds new items that match those terms. So, for example, I set up an alert for “photos for mac and ios the missing manual” (with the quotes; for Google search tips to help you get exactly the results you want, read this), and when a new review shows up online—which happens frequently for that book, because it’s popular and timely—I get an email about it. Sometimes the books I’ve worked on make it onto lists like this one, and when that happens I like to share it on Twitter or LinkedIn, sometimes with a shout out to the author.

If you edit more books than I do, you might think this will take too much time. But it only takes a couple of minutes if you add a book right after you finish it, and you can set your preferences to deliver email daily, weekly, or as new results show up. Of course, if you work on bestselling fiction, it could still be overwhelming…but in that case, you might not really want to read the reviews anyway. 🙂

There are plenty of other uses for Google Alerts. You can use it to keep up with things you’re interested in, whether professional or personal. You can use it for networking (here’s a great article from The Muse that discusses that). You can use it to keep track of your name. I’ve got one set up to alert me when block-printing classes are offered in my area, because that’s something I really want to learn.

Do you use Google Alerts? If so, how?