Most authors seem to be either pro google alerts or anti google alerts. They usually don't sit somewhere in between. However, when asked about it, and I do get asked about it, I say - you have to be able to read things that aren't nice. If you can't, don't do it. Or if you see that it's not nice, do you have the ability to quickly click away?
So, I will never tell someone - yes, you should do google alerts or no you absolutely shouldn't. I think each author has to decide for him/herself. If google alerts are going to mess with your writing mojo, however, you probably shouldn't do it, right?
For me, I am most sensitive when a book is new and there isn't a lot of feedback yet. This is NOT the time I want to be reading negative stuff. We worry about our babies. We want people to love them. So, I will probably wait until CHASING BROOKLYN is out a little while before I turn them on. Once I have some notes from my readers telling me they like it, I'll be okay. Once I know it's not total crap (even if I know this intellectually now, I still need some people to TELL me that, if that makes any sense) I'll be able to turn them on.
So, this morning, my I HEART YOU google alert took me to a librarian's blog. I'm so glad I had my google alerts on. It took me to this YA librarian's blog. She was doing a recap of ALA. She listed the authors she got to meet at the coffee klatch, and I was one of them. She said the time with the authors were so short, and she didn't really get to say the things she wanted to say.
Here's what the sweet librarian, Katie, wished she would have said to me:
"Like to Lisa Schroeder — I wanted to tell her that I have a teen who loves her books so much that she hides them in the library so that she can always find them. I know where it is and I call it “C’s Cubby.” I wanted to tell her that this teen has been a part of my Teen Book Club since I started, but that she never finished a book until she read I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME."
ahhhh - do you blame me if my keyboard is a little wet after that???
Some days, as hard as I try not to, I beat myself up over the fact I am not a John Green or a Laurie Halse Anderson or a Sara Zarr, authors who are so amazingly talented and gifted and tell such great stories.
But today, after reading that, I'm happy to be me. Because a girl who never finished a book finished MINE!! And she goes to the library to visit with her friends in my books, which is *exactly* what I did when I was a kid. No matter what was going on in my crazy, mixed up world, at the library, I knew where I could find the books that I loved, and I would feel better.