A few weeks ago, I signed up to receive Google Alerts and I have found them to be very helpful. Many of you may already use this tool, so feel free to comment with any additional information.
I had heard people talk about alerts, but I had never used them until colleague and coach, Rochelle Melander (Write Now Coach! Blog), mentioned it on her blog (you may want to go to her site, she is a great encourager). I hit the link she had placed and signed up.
Google searches the Internet for information on specific topics you select when you signup. I am writing an historical novel set in the early 1800s during the time when the stagecoach was a common form of transportation. To experiment I set up a Google Alert for all articles containing the word “stagecoach”. I asked to receive an email with this information once a day. Every evening at about 10:30 I receive a list of between 5-8 articles that were found on the Internet. Not all refer to my area of interest, but I have been amazed at the ones that do. I could narrow my search and ask for only articles referring to stagecoach wagons. But, I have not received too many entries that I can’t just delete the ones I don’t need and keep those that apply to my subject.
But, the cool thing is I have been inspired to write. I read a new fact about that time period or a find a museum I hadn’t heard about, so I go to a few websites and learn new things.
I'm still experimenting, so I don’t know all I can do with this tool yet, but I do know it is something I want to continue to use and you might also.
Go to www.google.com/alerts and set up your alerts. It’s simple, or I wouldn’t be doing it!