For you mentally stable readers that are still with me, this is a post about how to stay in touch with your fave authors and get news of their every new book.
In the old days this involved looking at tantalizing ads in the daily paper or magazines (remember them?), or perusing your local bookstore. Many were the times I've been startled in a bookstore, happening upon the new book from XYZ author that I had no idea was being written. Snatching the book from the shelf, I would scurry over to the salesperson, muttering "My precious!" at anyone that came near.
Now it's a new world. Let me run through ways of stalking... I mean... staying in touch with your favorite authors. Note that I am not discussing finding a brand new book/author to read. The scope of this post is limited to tracking those authors you absolutely want to read everything they write.
There are pros and cons to using social media. With regards following your favorite authors, I don't think you'll get much value from joining book groups, whether Facebook or Goodreads. Their membership can be high and they can be extremely spammy. Indie authors in particular are very vocal.
Likewise, I wouldn't recommend Twitter unless you are very specific in the authors you follow and organized with your lists, e.g. you are following Untethered Realms authors. :) Many traditional authors rarely tweet and so Twitter is not the most reliable means to track authors.
Goodreads was obviously designed with readers in mind. It's easy to subscribe or follow an author's "feed". Goodreads is usually a low-noise environment and you can opt to receive news emails in a digest form, perhaps once a week. Again, many traditional authors don't use Goodreads, but it is effective for Indie authors.
Facebook is a mixed bag. Despite the constant rumblings about the effectiveness of Pages, a great way to follow an author is to Like their page. Gossip about the author's personal life is normally at a minimum on an official Page, making it easy to get news of upcoming books. In my experience, most traditional authors that are on Facebook do post book news to their Pages. It is true, that you don't get to see everything that is posted to a Page, but a reasonable remedy for this is to drop by the Page manually and Like a few things. That is usually enough to "remind" Facebook that you are still interested.
Um... yeah. I have yet to find a decent publisher that will send me news of upcoming books from my fave authors without inundating me with ads. Not sure why they are slow to offer this service. You may have some success with this method, but authors can and do change publishers so don't rely on it.
Author websites and blog feeds
Most authors, Indie and traditional, operate a website, even if it is maintained by their publisher. This is obviously the definitive place to get author information. New books are likely to be featured front and center on the home page. Most authors operate a blog (or "feed"), though many traditional authors do not. If there is a blog, simply subscribe to it via your favorite reader (e.g. Feedly) or by email. Easy, right? And you thought stalking involved hanging around outside their house! :)
It's a safe bet that any author with a blog is absolutely going to announce upcoming books, cover reveals, teasers, excerpts and then finally an announcement on release day. You're not going to miss their new book!
The flip side of the author blog is that they are often filled with information you might not care about. Are you a reader that enjoys hearing about the day to day lives of the author and their family? You're going to love the blog then. If you don't care about the five children, six dogs and days out at the park, then you're going to have to skim the blog for book news. And I'm not being judgmental about either way. Some authors are like friends to me and I love to hear about their lives, others... not so much. You may also find that many Indie author blogs are filled with posts aimed at other writers.
Author newsletters - (don't skip this one!)
I saved the best for last. Many authors, Indie and traditional, offer a free newsletter. So isn't a newsletter just like a blog? Yes... and no.
Newsletters vary, just like blogs do. Some are infrequent and focused entirely on book news. Others can be monthly or even weekly, and full of gossip, book recommendations, links to vacation pics, or whatever. Again, only you can say what style you prefer. In either case, newsletters are usually less verbose than blog posts and not as frequent, making them a very low-noise means to follow your fave authors.
Best of all, savvy authors are very protective of their newsletter subscribers, regarding them as dedicated readers and fans. To this end, subscribers tend to get preferential treatment. This may be as simple as pre-release glimpses of the book in the form of cover reveals or excerpts, or as generous as free books, exclusive short stories or other "special features". It is popular now for Indie authors to soft-launch a book to their newsletter subscribers, offering them a limited-time discounted price, before the book goes on sale to the public.
My recommendation is to get on the newsletter list for every author whose books you want to read more of. There's nothing to lose and everything to gain, and it is definitely the most effective and rewarding method to stalk your favorite authors!
Comment below: What's the coolest thing you have been offered in an author newsletter? Or something you'd like to see?