How to subscribe to your favorite authors online

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At least once a week, I receive emails from readers asking how they can more easily follow my reflections.

Unfortunately, not all websites are created equal, which means it’s not always as easy to follow or subscribe to a particular writer.

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However, even if a website doesn’t offer an RSS or mailing list subscription feature, there are ways to keep up with what your favorite writers are doing.

Why subscribe?

First, let’s answer this simple question. The main reason to subscribe to your favorite authors is to make sure you don’t miss a word they’ve written. In this world of constant content, sites tend to post more and more, which means your favorite author’s posts could get lost in the shuffle. By subscribing to a particular author, you guarantee that you won’t miss out when their work is buried by the avalanche of articles.

Another reason to subscribe to your favorite authors is that you can get all their updates in one place. Instead of having to visit all those websites, you can (in some cases) use a single app to see them all.

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Now that you’ve been reminded of the why, let’s talk about the how.


This is the most reliable way to subscribe to an author. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and works with a reader application to collect all your RSS feeds in one place. There are two things you need to know about using RSS. First, you must install one of the many applications available that are capable of viewing RSS. Here’s a short list of apps to choose from (some of which are free, and some of which have a cost associated with them):

You’ll also find that some email clients (such as Claws Mail and Thunderbird) have built-in RSS support.

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One thing to keep in mind is that a website must support RSS and not all do. To find out, look for your favorite author on the site you read and look for the RSS icon. If the icon is there, click on it to reveal that author’s RSS feed. You can then add that feed’s URL to your reader and be updated daily on your thoughts.

The official RSS icon.

If you see this icon, the site supports RSS.

Image: Jack Wallen

If you don’t find RSS support on that site, I suggest you contact the company and suggest they add the feature.

google is your friend

If those sites don’t support RSS, there is another alternative that can actually serve as something of a mixed bag. Let’s say your favorite writer works for multiple sites and even your own site. Now, let’s say only one or two of those sites offer RSS, but the others don’t. What do you do for a living?

You use Google, not in the way you’re thinking.

You don’t have to Google your favorite author every day. Instead, what you do is create a Google Alert. These alerts will automatically generate emails for you (sent to your Gmail inbox) based on the terms you add to the alert.

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So, you can create a Google Alert for the name of your favorite author and every morning you will receive an email that collects everything published by them the day before. I use this feature quite a bit and have found it to be incredibly reliable.

You create a Google Alert by directing your web browser to the Google Alerts page. At the top of that page, type the name of your favorite author and click Show Options. In the dropdown menu that appears, configure the alert according to your needs (frequency, sources, language, region, how many results, and a delivery email address) and click Create Alert.

Once you’ve created the alert, you can expect the results to start showing up the next morning in your Gmail inbox.

mailing lists

Finally, there are always mailing lists. Not all writers use mailing lists, but many do. I’ve had a mailing list for my fiction career for years and recently started a Linux mailing list, called The Linux Way.

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If your favorite author has their own mailing list, I recommend signing up for it because not only will you catch everything they possibly wrote, but you’ll also be able to learn more about the person behind the keyboard.

Chances are, to find out if your favorite writer has a mailing list, you’ll have to visit their own website. If they don’t have a website, Google their name and mailing list and see if they have one like Mailchimp or Beehiiv.

And that, my dear friends, is how you can subscribe to your favorite writers and never miss a beat.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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