From the start of a writing project, an author needs to find a way to organize all of their contact information. Everywhere you go as an author, you will meet people whom you will want to reach when your book is released. It is never too soon to start your database of professional connections.

Business cards, slips of paper, cocktail napkins, ripped corners from envelopes, and receipts. Might look like scraps of trash, but consider it unrefined crude oil. These bits of data – names, addresses, email and website addresses, Twitter handles, telephone numbers, etc. – are the fuel that will drive your future book sales.

When you tell friends and associates what you are working on, take note of those who ask you to keep them informed of your book’s progress. Get the reference librarian interested in your project and take contact information. If you interview sources for your research, it’s important to notify them prior to publication. At social events you may meet people who are interested in your project, so gather their names now. If you send out articles – excerpts or adaptations – for publication, the names of editors and specifics for submission are data to keep on hand for future reference. If a journalist interviews you or writes a feature story about your project, you’ll want to stay in contact. Speaking engagements, conferences, readings, and literary events yield more contacts. Bookstores, institutes, museums, and foundations. As you seek copyright permissions, you’ll need names and addresses for those whose work you plan to include in your own. With every contact you make along the path toward publication, you are also getting potential customers invested in the production of your book and creating market demand for your product. Your contacts are your advanced sales team.

If you have a blog, do you have an email subscription available? Blog subscribers are an important contribution to your Contact Relations Management system. It is always a good idea to have an email sign-up for notification of your book’s publication. This is perhaps the most important list of contacts you will develop in your audience platform. Those who opt-in to receive notification of publication define your audience.

Readers of your blog posts who leave comments. Facebook friends, fans, groups. Tweeps. LinkedIn connections. Circles on Google +. Scattered datapoints across platforms. Wrangling all that data related to the business of your book requires an organizational system.

Contact Relations Management. CRM. Software that allows a company (or in this case, an author) to manage all your professional interactions with current and future book-buying customers. For more than a year, Swenson Book Development llc has used a Contact Relations Management (CRM) system that we recommend for writers. There are lots of CRM options to businesses, small and large, and consumers. You are probably already using one or more. Yahoo. Google. Microsoft. Oracle. Which one makes it easy and efficient for an author?

The key to a good CRM for an author is whether it is easily integrated with other software, can be customized to your needs, and offers an efficient way to manage all the data. LessAnnoyingCRM does that and more.

Free 30 day trial. $10 per month if you become a subscriber. Given the countless hours and headaches it will save you in the long term, it is worth every penny every month. Why?

Less Annoying CRM provides an author with an office workplace to do all their book-related business. It’s like opening your screen to work at an office desk.

You can email a contact directly without having to leave one program and log into your email account.

Every email you send is blindcopied into a dropbox and delivered into that contact’s file in your workplace so all of your correspondence and attachments are in one place.

You can easily upload and download documents into an individual’s contact file.

Cloud storage convenience and download backups available.

Synches up beautifully with Google.

LessAnnoyingCRM also synches up with Mail Chimp, an email marketing solutions program we’ll feature here in next week’s blog. It allows you to organize targeted lists in LACRM and easily import them for targeted messages. In short, it serves double duty in making your email marketing a snap.

There are easy video tutorials and very strong technical support. Less Annoying CRM was started in 2009 by two brothers, Bracken and Tyler. They actually answer the telephone and talk to you. That counts in my book.

The payoff for the author in having a good CRM begins in the pre-launch publicity and marketing of your book’s publication. This tool makes it possible for an author to spend less of their time and money on database management and more on the marketing message.

A new release from Palgrave is a book by Josh Klein, Reputation Economics: Why Who You Know is Worth More Than What You Have. It’s a mind-blowing fact-filled account of how the value of individual reputation radically changes the way business is done today. Translation? Your online presence as an author determines your future sales of books. LessAnnoyingCRM helps you organize your audience platform while you build it.

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