Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tap into the Power of Google Alerts

Copyright © Mike Flynn and Eilis Flynn
Originally published by 1st Turning Point
We are pleased to report that Eilis’ presence on the internet is greater than ever. We know this because we use one of the many useful tools Google provides-Google Alerts.
Everybody has done a Google search. You’ve probably even Googled yourself or your work. The Google search engine is marvelously powerful, able to pull anything it has found on the internet and direct you to it.
That power is on tap for you even when you’re not actively looking for something. So, thanks to Google Alerts, we received notice via email that a presentation Eilis did with Jacquie Rogers was being offered by someone not us. And that knowledge will now enable us to notify the person who had posted the PDF that he’s posting something he doesn’t have a right to post.
You can put this power to work for you many ways. One obvious one is to see whether your works are being discussed on forums and blogs, or whether you’ve been reviewed somewhere that you aren’t expecting. In this way, Google Alerts works like an old clipping service. Long ago, in less digital times, companies like Burrelle’s were paid to grab any mention of its clients in hundreds of newspapers and magazines across the country. Major corporations and public figures paid a lot of money for that service. These days, Google offers it free of charge.
You can also use Google Alerts for research. While working on your book, you may have visited the library or done one or two search engine searches for some information you were missing. With Google, you can set an alert for a topic you need to know more about-say, Chinese dragons or the history of yachting-and you can let Google ferret out anything new while you’re actually writing. People are posting new things to the internet every day, but you might not remember to search every day. With Google Alerts, you don’t have to remember!
To set up a Google Alert is simple. You do need to have a Google account, which is easy to sign up for. You may already have one if you have a Blogger account. Go to the Google home page. You may never have noticed that, in the upper left corner, there is a menu of about a half-dozen items. Alas, none of these is Google Alerts (but all can help you). But the last item is “more.” Click there, and another dozen choices pop up that still aren’t Google Alerts. But click on “even more” and you’ll be taken to a page showing Alerts as your first choice. Click there, and you get a page asking you to enter the parameters for your Alerts. Enter your term and describe what kind of results and how often you want them. By type, you can select news, blogs, web, video, groups, or comprehensive. A comprehensive Alert will deliver everything. You may find that you will want to create individual Alerts for, say, news only (if you’re tracking a story in the media) or web (if you’re avoiding blogs and forums). The possibilities are virtually endless. You can also select how often to receive Alerts (you may not want to select “as it happens” because if you’re asking to be alerted about something that gets posted to the internet a lot, you’ll be inundated with emails). You can select the number of items you want to receive per email (the default maximum is 20). And finally, you can have your items delivered as an email or as a feed.
Once set up, these Alerts will come automatically, sometimes relentlessly. That’s not a problem, because you can edit them at any time as long as you’re logged into your Google account. More often, less often, more information, less information, or just delete. It’s all up to you!
So, put the power of Google to work for you-all free and easy! In fact, we’d like to invite everyone who reads this piece to drop us a line at and tell us how you’re using Google Alerts for your writing!
Next time, I’ll tell you about signing up, the variable price structure, and more about personalizing your very own ad campaign! 

I love hearing from you! How do you use Google Alerts? Leave a comment and let me know. And don't forget to check out our new book promo specials for December at

Eilis Flynn has worked at a comic book company, a couple of Wall Street brokerage firms, a wire service, a publishing company for financial cultists, and a magazine for futurists. She’s also dined with a former British prime minister and a famous economist, can claim family ties to the emperor of Japan (but then can’t we all?) and the president of a major telecommunications company, worked at most of the buildings of the World Trade Centers, stalked actress Katharine Hepburn (for one block), and met her husband when he asked her to sign a comic book. With all these experiences (all of which are true!), what else could she do but start writing stories to make use of all that? She’s written a variety of things that also don’t seem to belong together, but they do: comic book stories both online and in print, scholarly works in a previous life as a scholar, book reviews and interviews, and articles about finance (at odds with her anthropology background), before settling down to write romantic fantasies about the reality beyond what we can see.
Eilis lives in verdant Washington state with her equally fantastical husband and the ghosts of spoiled rotten cats. She was written Superman family stories for DC Comics (as Elizabeth Smith). Her first five novels—The Sleeper Awakes, Festival of Stars, Introducing Sonika, Echoes of Passion, and Static Shock,and Wear Black (cowritten with Heather Hiestand)—are available at most online retailers, and her novella,Riddle of Ryu, and short story, "Halloween for a Heroine," is available at the same digital stores. Her latest comic book story, ”30-Day Guarantee,” is available at
If you’re curious to find out more, you can check out She can be reached at If you’re looking for a professional editor for your own work, check out her rates at

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