Pub Rants

Category: chat loops

Why Google Alerts Might Be An Author’s Best Friend

STATUS: Another late night trying to catch up on client and slush pile reading.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? ONCE IN A LIFETIME by Talking Heads

Just as authors are often obsessive about their Amazon numbers (and don’t get me started on Bookscan), some authors are pretty attached to their Google alerts about their books. Folks might think it narcissistic but in reality, Google alerts can be quite a handy tool.

Here are just some reasons why a published author might want to keep the alerts handy.

1. Alerts are a great way of discovering new reviews that have been posted about your book. Editors are good about forwarding them but heck, everyone is busy and things slip through. One author discovered that her young adult book was a Cosmo Girl pick for best beach read. Not even her editor knew. It was a complete surprise but there it was.

2. Google alerts can catch electronic book piracy (which is rampant let me tell you). Most of our authors have been a victim of this at least once and sure enough, the discovery often comes through a Google alert that then hits the chat loops and wings its way back to us. Publishers do go after the sites but often it’s just a matter of time (sometimes only days) before some other piracy site rears its ugly head.

3. Alerts can keep you apprised of any book buzz that might be going on. Bloggers suddenly talking about the book, etc.

4. Alerts can warn an author if a right is being exploited illegally. For example, when Amazon bought Booksurge there was a kerfuffle when this POD entity was offering books available for sale that they no longer held the rights to. Uh, that’s more than an oops. If an author has held audio or electronic rights and then suddenly one of these copies are available and the author hasn’t sold the right, well a Google alert might just be the first time the author “hears” about it.

I imagine there are many other great uses (or misuses for this tool) so feel free to share.

Fire Alarm Approach

STATUS: It’s 7 o’clock at night and I’m trying to squeeze in this blog so I can leave the office.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? KID by The Pretenders

I just spent the last 4 hours with my accountant so my brain is mush.

Here’s what I want to say tonight though. Lots of authors are on chat loops. Normally this is a great thing; I encourage it.

But when rumors start to fly on those loops, it can create author panic that then translates into frantic emails to the agent. When that happens, that’s when I like to advise authors to send an email but take everything with a grain of salt and send a “not sure if you’ve heard the rumors but I know you like being in the loop so I’m sending what I’m hearing” email instead.

Works the same but without the fire alarm approach.

There may or may not be truth to the rumors and why be upset over something that might not be true? Trust me, when it’s proven to be true, your agent will be plenty upset and pissed off on your behalf.

Linked In

STATUS: Off to the conference.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? POSSESSION by Sarah McLachlan

My agent friends and I often laugh about how “in-the-know” some of our clients are.

In fact, it happened this morning. So many published authors are on chat loops, the minute even a hint of a rumor (regarding a line, or an editor, or whatever) gets whispered, it’s out in the loops in a flash and all the authors know about it—lots of times even before the agents do.

And I love that my clients immediately call or email me so I can track down or confirm the scoop. Now sometimes the rumors are wrong but a lot of times, where there is smoke there is indeed fire.

This always startles the editors but I’m not sure why. They must know that authors love talking with each other and there are many many venues in which to do so.

So I just have to say that if you are a published author and you aren’t linked in, you might want to get there. All you have to do is ask the other writers in your genre where they get their news and sign up for that loop (although some are invitation only).

You too can then be linked in. It bears an eerie resemblance to Radar Love mentioned in the song by Golden Earring.