Discoverability is a hot topic in publishing circles, though not quite for the reason you might think. While readers rarely have trouble finding something to read next, publishers and authors are still casting about for a better way to get readers to buy and read their books and not books written by some other author.
This is an especially important detail for independent authors who can't rely on their publisher to do any promotion or get their books into bookstores where they might be seen and picked up.
Today I have a partial solution for that problem, one that will help readers find new stuff from an author they like.
From the author viewpoint, this problem already has a number of solutions but they might not work for all readers. An author could set up and maintain a mailing list which would notify a follower about a new book being released, but as Rich pointed out in his post on why some indie authors fail a couple days ago not all authors want to maintain a mailing list; some will direct you to their website, Facebook page, or their Twitter feed.
Not all readers are going to want to have to sort through an author's updates just to get that one piece of news and they might not even be on those social networks. That's why I am pleased to share with you today a notification tool that works with or without the support of the author.
It's called Author Alarms, and the site is based on a simple concept. Provide the name of an author you would like to track and your email and you will be signed up to receive a email notice when that author has a new ebook listed on Amazon. It also works for paper books.
Yes, I know that some don't shop at Amazon, but that doesn't mean you cannot use this service. Whenever you get a notice, just go to your preferred ebookstore and shop there. The Amazon integration is a matter of convenience, not preference. That retailer is one of the few that makes it easy to access information like this via some automated script.
I have not signed up for this service myself, but I can see the value. One of the laments about the passing of Fictionwise is that the ebookstore offered a similar service which former customers miss now that the site was gone. This is also one of the more common requested new features at Luzme, an ebook search engine.
Does anyone know of other notification services? Please feel free to mention them in the comments.