Keep The Pulse Going

Let's face it. Some of us are simply better at networking and maintaining relationships than others of us are. Keeping the pulse going to let people know you care about them is vital to your ability to attract and build an audience for your books and for you as an author. 

If you struggle with this, then you will experience disappointments over time as certain people become unresponsive to you. You may feel as if you have been given the old 'brush off', or you've hit an invisible wall. The difficult part comes in recognizing this all starts and ends with you.  

The stark reality of knowing that your own actions, or inaction, have contributed to your inability to attract and retain an audience can be demoralizing. None of us 'deserves' to be ignored or rejected, especially when we are producing written works that are certain to entertain and enlighten the very people we are trying to reach.  

Unfortunately, if you have already lost the interest of a specific person or group of people, regaining their interest is extremely difficult. There is some good news; first, many more people exist that you have not reached yet, and second, you can change your habits to reach them.  

If you are challenged by this, then changing your habits requires developing and implementing a systematic approach. Since building and maintaining your network are not second nature habits to you, having a set of routine instructions to follow and sticking to them, is a useful and productive way to correct the problem and learn a new and vitally important habit.  The only way to develop a new habit is to repeat the new behavior every day for at least forty days. Having a system to back you up helps you to avoid falling back into your old ways. 

To create a system, you'll need to use the tools already available to you. The most important of these is your contact list, followed closely by your calendar. Next, identify regular communications that you plan to send out via blog articles, newsletters via email or your social networks on Facebook, Twitter, and so on. Now commit regular times on your calendar when you will write and post these items. Establishing this as a disciplined routine helps to cement the new routine and establish your new networking behavior.

Next, identify key influential people in your network. Make a plan to check in with them periodically, and again, on a set routine schedule. Later, this can become a little less rigid but initially the rigid routine will focus you. When you check in with these influential people, make sure you are not trying to sell them anything or promote your book shamelessly to them. That will destroy any further opportunity to gain their support. Instead, let them know you care about them by asking question about things you know are important to them. Send them some 'newsy' information in very short emails occasionally as a way to add value to your communication. When traveling to a city near such a person, let them know you are coming and offer to buy them a cup of coffee. Even if he or she does not accept the invitation, the gesture will be remembered along with the fact that that you were willing to take time out of your busy schedule for a meeting.

Finally, make a plan to stay visible with your local community about your work. This begins with family and friends, and extends to local networking groups, meetups, and any organization where you have an opportunity to share the exciting developments you are creating. Don't think just because they know that you are writing a book that they always keep that fact in the top of their minds. Make a note of events and people you want to include in this networking contact and mark them on your calendar. Let the tools, including your calendar and your social network outlets, work for you instead of keeping all of this in your head, only to be merged with all of your other creative thoughts, and lost.

Share new developments, solicit feedback on ideas for story lines and characters, research, and even have them review a draft chapter or two. A caution here is warranted... getting too much feedback and input into the actual writing and story of your book while you are still writing it can be dangerous. No person shares the exact vision you have for your book, and you will be flooded with suggestions on new directions you should take. This will confuse you and can potentially derail your efforts. Share ideas, and solicit feedback on excerpts, but keep the full written story close until you have completed it.