Chip MacGregor

December 19, 2011

Step Eight: Create Your Calendar and Budget


At this point, you're probably wondering what else there is to do with a marketing plan. Take heart — we're almost to the end of the process…

Once you've written down everything you want to do, you need to tie each activity to a calendar and a budget — or, as I like to say, every activity has a date and a dollar sign. So, for example, if you are planning to send out a bunch of copies to a "big mouth" list in order to get people talking about your book, you pick a day when you're going to write the notes, address the envelopes, and get them in the mail. Then you figure out the cost of envelopes, mailing labels, and postage. If you're planning to write several freelance articles to support your book, you mark down the days you're going to write them, the days you're going to query and send them, and the days you're going to check back on them. If you're going to hire a freelance marketing consultant to help you schedule radio interviews, you pick the days you're going to be available for the interviews, you mark the dates you're going to talk with the consultant, and you write down the costs involved with hiring him or her. 

Again, for EVERY activity, you choose a date and, if applicable, the dollar amount it will cost you. So if you're going to try and schedule a blog tour, you write down on your calendar the dates you plan to fill up with blogging conversations, as well as the dates you plan to contact bloggers in order to schedule those visits. There may not be any dollar amount tied to this activity — that's fine, but you want to make sure to track EVERY date and EVERY dollar, so that you have a record of what you've done to market your book. 

Why write out a calendar and budget? Because this assures you that you'll actually do the work. Lots of authors make plans — most don't follow through. By scheduling a date for each activity, and by keeping track of the costs involved, you put yourself in charge of your marketing plan, rather than waiting for someone else to be in charge. It helps you stay on track, so you can see how much time you're spending on marketing. And it gives you a budget, so you can track the amount of money you're investing in your marketing plan. 

This part is the nitty gritty aspect of marketing. The fact is, you won't want to do it. It may not be fun, but it's necessary. So do it anyway. If you need to, get a friend to hold you accountable, or a fellow writing buddy to do this with you (and commiserate with you). Don't just have marketing plans in your head — have them on your calendar in and in your checkbook. That way you're much more apt to get done all the things you need to get done. 

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