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You were once a social media maven. You had a real, live fan base. Small, but respectable and loyal. These readers got you and what you were putting out.

And you let them down.

(In my case, poor Lewis in Shelf Life has been outside on Pete’s porch for … three years?)

(If you’re a reader not a writer, flip around the scenario. Your favorite author went MIA. You’re so over her and her unprofessionalism.)

Do you have any fans left? Will the same readers who loved what you wrote before like what this older, wiser (hopefully) you writes? Social media changes so quickly. How do you get up to speed again? Where do readerly types get their info now?

Take a deep breath.

To quote Forrest Gump and the stepping-in-shit-epic-jogging scene: “It happens.”

Readers are people. Most of them understand that life happens. Some may want to know the juicy details of why you pulled a disappearing act, but most just want another good story. And that’s the thing: it doesn’t matter if you’re not up on the top 10 trending hashtags and you don’t have an account on EVERY. SINGLE. SOCIAL. PLATFORM.

Just get back to writing. Write, author! Write! (What’s with all the Forrest Gump quotes? Jeez, brain.) Keep your next move a secret. Don’t tell your fans and followers that you’re going to write something new. After X years, they don’t care. What they will care about is when you tell them you’ve written something new and it will be out on a specific date. They will care when you give them a synopsis that rips their face off. They will care when the cover reveal makes their jaw drop. They will care when you over-deliver and they learn to trust you again.

So get on that.

But first, here are the two things you need to start doing if you haven’t already:

  1. WRITE. Then edit. Then write some more. Simple, yes? Nooooo. (More on that in a sec.)
  2. CONNECT. If you’ve paid any attention at all to building an author platform, you’ve known for years that social media isn’t about blasting followers with advertisements. It’s about connections and conversations. Unless you went full hermit, you’re still active on Facebook. Probably Twitter. Instagram. Maybe Snapchat or at least Goodreads. Resist the urge to announce on those platforms that you’re back, bitches! Instead, simply be active. Talk books (other people’s books) with them. Read. Update your profile info on a couple sites. Share a funny picture or fangirl (did I just date myself with that word?) over buttery soft leggings. BE HUMAN. Then, when it is time to announce to the world that you’ve got another book baby, they won’t be tired of hearing about it already.

You were hoping that book would write itself, weren’t you? Yeah, no. Get back to it and put in the time, but know this: what worked for you before may not work now. You may have had blocks of time all to yourself to craft perfect sentences before your life went to shit changed. Embrace the change. (Punching it in the face rarely works. Ask me how I know.)

Find what works for you NOW.

How? I’m so glad you asked.

We’ll dive into that in Part III: When the Muse goes AWOL: Your New Writing Process