I wrote a post a couple months ago about how I occasionally google myself. Okay, so maybe it’s actually more than occasionally, but that’s not the point. After writing that post, I heard from a couple new authors who talked about how they hadn’t considered doing such a thing, so now I’m here to bare my soul before you all and describe all the ways I stalk myself online.
Despite the fact that it feels somewhat distasteful to look myself up, I was able to get my first big review by looking myself and my work up. I was able to find where a book blogger had commented that the synopsis of my book sounded good and they wanted to read it. I reached out to them and offered them a review copy. This was with Depths of Blue, my first novel, and this was right after the book dropped. I ended up with a decent number of eyes on it as a result, so it’s a good thing to do, no matter how weird it feels.
I mostly use Google when tracking (very little) chatter that’s going on around my work. I do have a Google Alert set up, but I find that it hasn’t been particularly successful. I almost never get notifications from it, even though I find mentions in other ways.
There is a service called Mention, that I use, and it’s not too bad. The free version only allows you to track one set of keywords, so I have that set to my name. During the trial period, I could track up to five sets, which was nice. I had it set to my name and the various titles of my books, but then the trial period ended, and I couldn’t afford anything but the free version. Mention is nice because it also tracks some social networks, such as Twitter, which Google Alerts certainly doesn’t seem to.
Even with those tools, I’ve still gotten my best results through simple Googling. I’m pretty fortunate in that my name is rather unique. I do get my best results when I search my name as a phrase, so enclosed in double quotes a la “Lise MacTague.” If I don’t use quotes, I get back too much crap. Another thing I do is to occasionally search using close misspellings of my name, i.e. “Lisa MacTague.” I’ve run across a few things that way, both online and on Twitter. Finally, I also will occasionally search the titles of my books as a phrase, and I throw my last name on the search for good measure. It looks something like this: “Depths of Blue” MacTague. There’s so much text floating around on the internet, that it’s important to make sure you’re throwing the appropriate keywords together for the best results.
It doesn’t hurt to try a couple of search engines if you have the time to kill. Searching social media (FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc…) is also worth taking a look at.
It’s never too early to start stalking yourself online. However, after you’ve been out there for a while, you’ll find that your results lists start junking up pretty badly. It takes more effort to weed through the search results to find things you’re actually interested in, instead of the depressing numbers of sites claiming to offer your work as a free download. I got a little obsessed with it when Depths first came out and forced myself to cut back, which made me a lot happier. Now, I do a cursory googling every other day or so, and take a look on one social media site a week.
So that’s it. I’d love to hear of other tools and techniques the rest of you are using.