How best to track your favorite authors


When one of my favorite bands is releasing an album, I find out in several ways: I get an email, the band gets a MySpace message, various music sites trumpet both (or either) the announcement of the date or the release itself, and radio stations begin pumping a new single.

When one of my favorite authors releases a book, I’m lukcy if I see it in the “New Hardback” section. I know this, partially, is because I’m a more avid music listener than a reader, but I feel like, for the casual reader, finding out about new releases is far more difficult.

For example, take Michael Malone. He’s a favorite of mine, indeed, wrote my favorite book (which was pleasantly recommended by a fellow Doper, thankyouverymuch), but his web presence is slim (although, there is a page dedicated to his mid 90s captaincy of a soap opera I suddenly want to watch). Is there, perhaps, a site where new book releases are announced? Where I can sign up and get emails about authors I enjoy? I realize the answer to this might make me feel very, very stupid, but a sleepless evening did that to me already. I can hardly be more stupidized.

You could chop off their leg and keep them prisoner inside your home. Then you could easily keep track their writing progress.

And don’t worry, the author will later go on to become a successful casino manager, although his days with kidnapping and torture won’t be over.

Here’s my method, if you are inclined to try it. I keep a list of my favorite authors in a text file on my computer, and about once a week or at least once a month, when I’m surfing the net and have a little extra time, I pull up and start entering the names into the search field to see if something new comes up. You can set it to search by publication date, so new and soon-to-be released works come up first.

I buy most of my books from amazon, and get emails on suggested authors. I normally hate this shit, but I’m so far out of the loop these days that I’m actually grateful for the update. There is no way that Gene Wolfe’s next novel is getting reviewed in any broadsheet newspaper, or getting featured on an arts tv show, so I’d never know it was out unless someone mentioned it on here. Kind of sad to be relying on corporate spam as your cultural barometer, but there you go.

I give you a knowing chuckle here. I always feel like a rube when I buy books via that very same email, but, God, they know me so well.