How to follow me like a cheap cult leader…

Follow MEEEEEE. PRETTY PRETTY PLEASE.

You’ve heard the plea. At least once. Probably way more, because everyone wants you to follow them. The neighbor selling flower-print tights out of his basement. The sketchy web site you bought that weird gift from that one time. Your dental hygienist who’s also a wannabe Youtube star. This is why I post. Authors also ask you to follow them. I know I have. And I want you to know exactly what that means.

JesusOkay, it doesn’t mean follow us like the J man here. Unless you’re into that. If you are, feel free to follow us like cut rate cult leaders.(I personally promise I won’t ask you to empty your bank account or drink poison Kool-Aid. At least not yet. *clears throat*) 

But seriously,  I understand why you’re reluctant to follow me to my compound in Guyana. Uh, I mean, follow me and other authors online. Because your life is crazy enough. Because you’re already overloaded with more texts, emails than you can handle and *pulls you aside to whisper in your ear* you hate SPAM.

If you’re like me, I hate when I buy one thing from cut-rate-weird-stuff-online.com and suddenly they’re sending me thirteen emails a day and following my browsing history across the interwebs. I. HATE. THAT!

Luckily, there are many ways to stay abreast (Who doesn’t love that word? So awkward!) of author happenings without getting creepy internet stalked in return.

followHere is your handy dandy guide to following me (and any other author) to your doom. Uh, I mean online.

Seriously, though. Here’s my short list of all the places you can follow an author, and what happens if you do. Then you can decide if you want to and which way best suits you.

Join the Mailing List.  Authors scream from the hilltops: “Join my mailing list!”  We’ve all got them, but they’re all different. Some authors mail you dog photos once a week. Others email you only with new releases. Me, I send a newsletter for horror-comedy fans once a month. The email is as unique as the author who sends it, but all authors who are on top of it have one thing in common: They tell you exactly what to expect before you sign up. How often they’ll email you, what you’ll get. And most reputable authors will never share your email address, so if you give it up, you don’t have to worry about it getting passed around. So, if you want to get to know your author, never want to miss a new release, or find entertainment value in the content? This is a good option. (Although, check your spam filter, just in case.)

Follow on Amazon. In theory, if you hit that yellow follow button on an author’s Amazon page, you’ll get an email every time that author has a new release or a new book on preorder. But, follower beware. Amazon is notoriously unreliable, and doesn’t always send the email. Sometimes, it sends the email a month or more after the book is released. It’s a nice option, but unreliable, so if you’re the guy who needs new books right away, you might want to follow elsewhere.

Follow on Bookbub. If you click the follow button on Bookbub, you get an email each time an author has a new release and every time that author posts a review/recommendation of another author’s book. Unlike Amazon, Bookbub always sends the email. Always. They’ll also notify you when your favorite authors are part of a featured daily deal.

Follow on Goodreads. When you follow someone, anyone, not just cult leaders–ehr, I mean authors– any book that person adds to their bookshelf, reviews they’ve written, and status updates will appear on your Goodreads homepage. It’s a good low-key, non-intrusive way to stay up on things without clogging your inbox.

Follow an author page on Facebook. This should be easy peasy way to stay in touch. But Facebook shows very few notifications from pages you follow. (Unless the author pays them, which isn’t always economically feasible.) Which means you may “like” an author’s page, but the chances you’ll see new posts in your fb feed are slim. In fact, FB shows new posts to about five percent of a page’s followers. So if you want to be up to date on new releases, you might miss it if you’re only following on Facebook.

There are two work arounds. If you go to the author’s page and ‘like’ or comment on posts, new posts are more likely to appear in your feed. Or, if you don’t want to miss anything, click the ‘Liked” Button at the top of the page, then select “Get notifications.” You should get them all, although you may still need to pray to the God of your choice for it to work.

Of course, some authors also have facebook fan groups. Those are much more accessible and interactive than an author’s facebook page. Romance authors have particularly active pages. Trust me. There are LOTS of bare chest boy ab photos getting shared in there. Oof. Is it getting hot in here?

I have a group, it’s new and small. It’s a bit different, because it’s not a fan group just for me. It’s for horror comedy fans who like all manner of books, movies, and TV shows.

Why follow an author at all? 

funGood question. And the answer is you don’t have to!

The primary benefits of followings an author are

A. Always knowing when he or she has a new book (without sorting through an online book store to check).

B. Getting to know/interact with that author as a human being.

C. Being part of a community of fans with a common reading interest.

D. Sometimes, there’s swag. Many authors do exclusive giveaways/contests/surveys/prizes for their followers. They’ve given away everything from signed paperbacks to the chance to name a character in a popular series.

Ultimately, it’s all about connection and it should be fun.

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