Google Alerts & the new porcupette office

Caleigh Minshall

Every night, I receive emails that look like this (and be forewarned, I’m not sure what’s behind each of these links – but the summaries are pretty great):

Samantha Sleeper at (capsule) NYC | black francis | a …
By april
My favorite one is the all-black piece adorned with feathers and porcupine quills. Q. In this day and age when propriety and language are being misappropriated do you feel like propriety—what’s proper—has a place in the future? …

Dancing With the Porcupine « Pastorpresnell’s Blog
By pastorpresnell
They head for a tree or stick out their quills. … Porcupines don’t want to be alone. In the late autumn, a young porcupine’s thoughts turn to love. But love turns out to be a risky business when you’re a porcupine. …
Pastorpresnell’s Blog –

YogamurthY.S: amazing facts
By yogi
80) An adult porcupine has approximately 30000 quills on its body, which are replaced every year. All porcupines can float in water. 81) The temperature inside the cylinder of an internal combustion car engine can reach upto 1700 …
YogamurthY.S –

(My favourite is the second one.)

Although almost always entertaining, or at the very least super weird, I didn’t actually set out to receive these kinds of emails! I signed up for an account with Google Alerts to receive an email every night listing all of the new web pages, blog posts and news items that included the keywords ‘Porcupine’s Quill’. Occasionally I even get one that’s about the shop! (Har, har.) The Alerts account is helpful for finding new content to post on our Facebook fan page and sometimes even on Twitter. For future interns who will be taking over that part of the job, it’s a very easy tool to use and will make your online marketing a lot easier! If I were really keen I’d add keywords for all of our recent authors and book titles, as well, but I haven’t had the urge to sit down and do that yet.

Instead, I’ve been doing a lot of other things for the Quill these days. Our tip sheets for Spring 2011 have (mostly) come together, as have their web pages and pexod entries. This year we added some new information to our tip sheets about digital marketing – essentially, trying to quantify potential interest in the upcoming titles. I researched sales opportunities via worldcat (by looking up how many libraries owned previous books by the same author), I looked at comparable titles’ popularity on our website and AdWords, and I searched reports on Google Books to see if comparable genres, titles or authors were receiving significant traffic hits online. Depending on the title I also mentioned our recent review successes with ForeWord magazine. If any of the information I gathered was promising, it went into the tip sheet.

I’ve also just recently undertaken the enormous project of fixing the many, many problems in the way our bibliographic information is displayed by major retailers, wholesalers and other networks across the world. For example, every single one of our titles (almost all entirely paperback) is displayed as ‘hardcover’ on Chapters-Indigo website – even though the information we send to Chapters does not say anywhere that the titles are hardcover! And that’s just the first example of many. Even this Chapters problem is complicated because we don’t send our information directly to them; first we send our information to the University of Toronto Press (UTP, our distributor), and then they pass on the information to Chapters. I need to figure out where the correct Sewn – Paperback information is getting mangled into Hardcover, then I need to figure out whose fault it is, and then I need to fix it (or, more likely, poke someone else into fixing it).


The good news is that my new office (in France, woohoo) is a great place to work in! Curious about life in la belle provence? Here’s a look at my new desk and ‘office building’*:

The porcupette's new office.

* If you haven’t figured this out, that’s my apartment in Avignon!

About Caleigh

Intern at the Porcupine's Quill.
This entry was posted in Letters from the Porcupette (the Intern's Blog). Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Google Alerts & the new porcupette office

  1. Red Rider says:

    Cute! Cute, cute, cute…

  2. softstars says:

    Thank you..really informative!!

  3. ultimate says:

    I shared your post on my twitter account, thnks.

  4. Pingback: The Porcupine’s Quill


The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.