How to Create a Pre-Marketing Calendar

Creating your pre-marketing calendar is more than calendar blocking or putting items on your Kanban board. It’s about creating something tangible out of an idea, a notion. It’s about taking an empty printout and filling it with actionable items that make an impact on your overall marketing efforts.

But how do you get started? These 4 key steps will help you determine what your goals should be in terms that matter to you, help you create your marketing schedule so it works on your time, help you manage expectations to keep motivation, high and help you review and access what you’ve accomplished so you can build upon the foundation every month.

Are you ready? Then, let’s get started!

4 Key Steps to Creating Your Pre-Marketing Calendar

Set Realistic Goals (Sales, Number of, or Otherwise)

Authors must consistently market their books—both before their book’s release date and after—to generate reliable book sales. Instead of creating lofty goals, break them into manageable bits you can tackle on your day-to-day.

I typically break down and create goals that take less than 1 hour to complete. For example, if I want to write a new book in the upcoming quarter, I’ll break it down into 2,500-word bits (which is my typical writing session word count) and check off the boxes as I accomplish each mini-goal.

Whatever is realistic to your unique circumstance should be your focus. Don’t make $500 per day sales goals without an action plan on how you’re actually going to make that money. If you’re a first-time author with little-to-no platform, making $100 per month is difficult enough. Don’t discourage yourself by making outrageous goals early on.

Pre-marketing your book can help make cash-in on early sales, but stay realistic to the marketing efforts you’re putting in versus what you expect in return for those efforts.

Create Your Marketing Schedule

Making a schedule of things can help you stay on track of your marketing efforts. It makes marketing easy because you don’t have to think about what you’ll be doing or saying or what marketing collateral you’ll need to make.

Having these things already on a schedule, with premade social media graphics, prewritten captions, and prebuilt hashtag groups, makes keeping up on your social marketing easy.

Pre-marketing is important to your marketing schedule, but so is your post-launch marketing. Make sure you’re checking and rechecking your ads and keywords because these popular keywords and phrases change almost daily. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change them every other day but keeping an eye on the ads and keywords and phrases that are siphoning good traffic with action-taking buyers is important to closing book sales.

Create a new Google calendar—or whatever your preferred calendar program is—and outline exactly what your goals and tasks are, and when they should be completed. Decide which things you want to do during your pre-marketing phase and which items need to be on a routine with a monthly or quarterly review.

Manage Your Expectations

Writing a book is a long process, but once you’ve successfully written and edited your book, you can market it for the rest of your life. More importantly, you can use that book as a revenue stream for as long as it’s relevant and exciting for readers.

I know writing and publishing your book is a whirlwind of emotions. Manage that chaos by understanding how engaging within the community, your author platform following, your email subscriber count, and your active backlog of books make an impact on your marketing efforts.

A key factor to your book’s success is how much or how little you pre-market your book.

Newsletter emails, social media posts, blog posts… These are all things you do throughout many months, and doing so over months actually increases your chance of exposure and broadens your book’s horizons. Whereas, doing everything within a month or less might mean you’re simply going through the motions and not really engaging or catching interest.

Everything in a month that you’d normally do over six months is too much at one time. Break up your marketing efforts and use a fresh space to build your pre-marketing calendar.

Review Your Activity and Repeat

Analytics and numbers might seem boring, but the better you understand them, the more you’ll enjoy them. Reviewing your activity means analyzing how your efforts are profiting you, whether that be monetary gain or general rank or traction. Everyone’s circumstance is different, which means what matters to each person will vary.

In the beginning, you might find the urge to check your number repeatedly. While I can’t tell you not to do this—you’ll probably do it anyway—you should consider resisting the urge. Or at the very least understand what these numbers reflect. If you’ve just launched your marketing campaign, you likely won’t see results immediately. Especially if you’re starting your following from scratch.

No matter how simple or complex you want your pre-marketing calendar to be, these are the 4 steps you’ll need to do to reach your goals. The most important thing to remember is that marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of thing. Every ad will take a dozen tweaks to get it right, and three months down the road, you’ll have to tweak it again to ensure it’s running at peak efficiency.