Tag Archives: Google+

Advanced Google-Fu

Anyone can go to Google and search for a particular piece of information. Sometimes they luck out and find what they were originally looking for, while other folks end up getting sidetracked by a website full of cute fluffy kittens.

As authors, we tend to have limited resources, particularly time. Using efficient search techniques, our precious time can be spent on writing the next chapter instead of searching for details on how you remove the clip from an AK-47 assault rifle.

Google engineers and coders included many advanced search operators when they built their search engine. Using operators, we can focus our search on very specific terms or files.

Here are a few of the common operators:

  • + The plus sign indicates something is required.
  • – The minus sign indicates something is to be excluded from the search results.
  • (x|y) Groupings – in this case, “x” OR “y”, are acceptable.
  • inurl: Something that is part of a website URL.
  • intitle: Something from the title of the web page
  • filetype: This indicates the result should be a particular file type.

Going back to our example, I put in the following search term:

filetype:pdf +(ak47|ak-47) remove clip

In English, the search term means:

Find an Adobe PDF file that contains either AK47 or AK-47, plus the words “remove” and “clip”.

On the first page of the results, I discover a PDF document that not only shows how to remove the clip from an AK-47, but how to do a complete teardown for cleaning (with plenty of photographs for those who are not familiar with the rifle.) Excellent! Now your zombie killer can clean her AK-47 properly.

Let’s try something that can be useful for the average author. I want to find pirated copies of a novel. We’ll use Stephen King’s novel, “Under the Dome”, as our test subject.

My very focused search term is:

inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:”index of” +”parent directory” +description +size +(mobi|pdf|azw|epub) stephen king under dome

What this means in English:

Looking on web pages that have “htm”, “html” or “php” in them, make sure the title of the web page is “index of”, and make sure the web page has the terms “parent directory”, “description”, and “size”. Also, make sure there are ebook files on the page (mobi and azw are for Kindle; PDFs; or ePub ebooks for the Nook, Sony or Kobo reader). The specific thing I am looking for has the words “stephen”, “king”, “under” and “dome”.

Most of the pirate dump sites are just a plain automatically generated web page with links to the files. These pages usually contain common terms like “index of”, “parent directory”, and “size”, which makes it easier to find the pirate sites.

Running the above focused search term, I get three results. The second one has a freely downloadable pirated copy of Stephen King’s novel, “Under the Dome”.

Personally, I use the filetype: operator almost daily. I can pick the exact file I want to find, usually a PDF or a Microsoft Word “.docx” file by typing filetype:pdf or filetype:docx in the search window.

Another operator I use all the time is the “-“, or NOT, operator. If I was searching for Rocky Wood, an author and HWA president who passed away last year, and Horror, I may end up with links to all kinds of unusual things, such as Rocky (the boxer), Norwegian Wood, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I can tailor my search like this:

+”rocky wood” -boxer -“rocky horror picture show” +horror

In English:

Find instances where the words Rocky and Wood are together, but ignore any pages that have that goofy musical and any references to boxers. Also, please make sure the word “horror” appears on the page.

Note that it is easy to get so focused that you end up with no results. Running the above query, I get only five pages back. If I wanted more pages, I could try this query:

+”rocky wood” +”horror writers association”

I get seven times more relevant pages using the second query. If your results are too small, try making your query less restrictive, or try using other key words that are apropos to your searching desires.

About the Author:DeMarco_Web-5963

Guy Anthony De Marco is a speculative fiction author; a Graphic Novel Bram Stoker Award®; winner of the HWA Silver Hammer Award; a prolific short story and flash fiction crafter; a novelist; an invisible man with superhero powers; a game writer (Sojourner Tales modules, Interface Zero 2.0 core team, D&D modules); and a coffee addict. One of these is false.
A writer since 1977, Guy is a member of the following organizations: SFWA, WWA, SFPA, IAMTW, ASCAP, RMFW, NCW, HWA. He hopes to collect the rest of the letters of the alphabet one day. Additional information can be found at WikipediaGuyAndTonya.com, and GuyAnthonyDeMarco.com.

Mignon Fogarty: Social Media Mistakes That Make You Look Like a Newbie


A guest post by Mignon Fogarty

Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ can be great tools for marketing your book, but you can also look like a tool if you make these common mistakes:

Don’t Jump in Without Exploring

Don’t join a network and immediately start posting. Take a couple of weeks to poke around, watch the experts, and see how things work. Every network has its own quirks.

In general, your goal should be to make friends genuinely. Answer people’s questions. Respond to their posts. Build relationships so people begin to recognize your name. If the first post I see from you is promoting your book, all I will remember when I see your name again is that you only care about promoting yourself.

Don’t Send Direct Messages to People You Don’t Know

Unless you have an exceptionally good reason, don’t send a direct message to someone you don’t know. You don’t need to thank people for following you, you shouldn’t send them an “introduction” link to your site, and for God’s sake, don’t ask them to check out your book or like your fan page.

What does it mean to know someone on social media? If I see your message and feel happy to hear from you, we know each other. If I see your message and wonder who you are, we don’t know each other.

Don’t Promote Your Book Without Giving People a Reason to Care

If you’re asking people on social media to take action (e.g., review your book, like your fan page), give them a reason. There are at least two reasons people will care:

1) Make it worth their while. Have a contest or give away a prize. A prize can have cash value (e.g., an e-reader), be something only you can provide (e.g., a personal thank-you video, a 30-minute critique, naming rights to a character in your book), or simply the glory of winning a contest of skill (e.g., a limerick contest).

2) Let them share your journey. Kickstarter works because contributors feel like they are helping you-joining you-on your journey. You can apply the same techniques to social media promotion.

To bolster people’s participatory feelings, you need to explain your purpose. In the book, Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, the authors explain that if you follow a request with a “because clause”-a reason you are making the request-people are more likely to comply. If you want people to review your book because good reviews increase online purchases, tell them that’s why you want the reviews. If you want people to buy your book this week because it will help you make the bestseller list, tell them that’s why it’s important this week.

It’s also helpful to give updates. Once you’ve made people aware of your goal, tell them how it’s going. Don’t go crazy and update Twitter every ten minutes, but when you’ve reached a significant milestone, announce it.

In the end, it’s simple: nobody likes the new guy who shows up at a party and immediately starts hustling everyone to buy his product; but if an old friend has an exciting new project he’s eager to tell you about, you’re happy to listen and help. Social media is the same. Become the old friend.

Guest Writer Bio:
Mignon Fogarty is the author of the forthcoming book 101 Troublesome WordsYou’ll Masterin No Time. Preorder the book now so bookstores see there is a healthy demand, and stock it when it launches in July.