I have a Google homepage and a couple of gmail addresses and all that stuff. I like to keep as much of my online activity actually online these days and I’m therefore able to interact with all my email and social networking from pretty much anywhere. Naturally, I still get the DTs whenever I’m away from my computer for too long. All those files that are on the HDD start calling to me like hungry birds straining from the nest after a couple of hours, but I do my best to cope with that. I know the option exists to have your files held online, but that’s a lot of uploading and downloading and I don’t compeltely trust the idea just yet.

Anyway, one of the things I discovered with the Google homepage thing is the option to sign up for Google Alerts. In a nutshell, what these do is very simple and quite cool. You put in a search term and add some criteria and you get an email alert every time Google sweeps across that term. So I use it to keep abreast of what people might be saying about my books and myself – I have Google Alerts set for “RealmShift“, “MageSign” and “Alan Baxter”. That way if people talk about me or my books online I can notice it and go and have a read. It seems incredibly narcissistic, which it is, but it’s also very useful.

For example, I just recently discovered this review of RealmShift, that I’d never seen before. And it’s a pretty good review. The amount of people that say how my books would make great films is amazing. Perhaps I should be writing screenplays.

Anyway, you can also use Google Alerts to keep track of news stories, products, industries and so on and you can set it to only inform you of mentions in blogs or videos or across the web. Give it a go – it’s a great tool.