One day I blogged about a book I really enjoyed. To my complete shock, the author commented on my post. She thanked me profusely for my kind words, added to the discussion, and then mentioned her upcoming book. I was smitten.
More recently, on my main blog, Spiritually Speaking, I posted a review of a book that highly influenced me. This time the author emailed me to thank me for my kind words. I was shocked he took the time to do so. Then he asked if I’d post a review on Amazon. Even though there were already hundreds, I was happy to do so. As a bonus, I reviewed the book on Goodreads, too.
Neither author knew I existed before I posted about their book. So how did they find my comments? Though I don’t know for sure, I suspect they used Google Alerts.
Google Alerts is a free service that emails users whenever a particular phrase appears online. I recommend all authors set up a Google Alert for their name and book titles. Google will then send an email alert whenever someone uses one of those phrases online.
Then, when it’s appropriate, we can respond to comments about us or our books. The important thing is to be respectful. Thank them; be kind. The goal is to form a positive impression with them and others reading our response.
Of course, not everything written about us or our books is positive. Resist the urge to respond to negativity; it will never go well. We must not attempt to defend ourselves. (Let others do that.) Although hurtful, we need to develop a thick skin and learn to ignore the barbs of others. To help deal with online criticism, remember the adage, “The only thing worse than bad publicity is no publicity.”
But don’t focus on the negative. The goal is to add to the online discussion about us and our books, garnering followers and fans.
It only takes a couple of minutes to set up a Google Alert. Do it today.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.