Amazon Follow ButtonIf you read on a Kindle or Kindle App and buy all your books at the Zon, then here’s an author hack you might not have discovered yet.

If an author has a formal author page on Amazon (not always a given, as authors have to set this up themselves), then on every author page, it is possible to click a link below their profile picture (see image to the right, and my wonky highlighting), in order to follow an author.

What does this mean?

Every time an author releases a book on Amazon, you will get a notice by email from Amazon letting you know the book has been released, with links to the buy page on Amazon.

How is this a hack?

If the author doesn’t have a website or a newsletter (and this happens a lot, too!), then this is an alternative way of being alerted about their new releases.

Also, as none of the other booksellers provide these new release alerts (that I’m aware of), then this is a good way of finding out about new releases even if you buy your books on iTunes or elsewhere.

However, there are a number of provisos and quid pro quos, to quote the genie:

  1. Not every author has an Amazon page, as I’ve mentioned.
  2. Not every new book the author releases will send out an alert.  The author has to agree to the bulletin going out, and write a message to go with it.  Some authors may chose to not send out that notice.
  3. Not every author publishes their new books on Amazon.  I know — sounds impossible, but there are some authors who only publish on, say, Kobo, or just iTunes because that’s where they earn all their money.  I suspect the number of people who do this is very small, but it’s not out of the question.
  4. If Amazon International is your shopping arena, this service is not offered there, either — sorry!  But you could use Amazon.com to get the alerts, then find the book on your country’s Amazon site.
  5. Using this alert service instead of actively hunting down the author’s website and signing up for their newsletter means you may miss out on deals, promos, discounts and freebies that the author can only offer through their own mail list.

Signing up for the author’s direct newsletter guarantees you’ll hear first and always about new releases, while the Amazon +Follow button has some limitations, but if that’s all you’ve got, it works as a good stop-gap.

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