Sometimes it can be hard to condense all the ideas floating around in your head into a cohesive, clear vision for WHY you write and WHO you’re writing to.
Can I get an amen?
So, today we’re going to look at a simple tool I use to clarify your vision for your writing and why you go through the pain and frustration of the author journey. Hint: It has to do with your WHY and your audience.
It’s called an author purpose statement. Here’s an example:
Hi, I'm Jennifer and I'm a YA fantasy author writing for teen girls, ages 16-18, struggling with
body image and self-image issues. I help them embrace their natural shape, so they can be
confident in the person they were created to be.
Simple and straightforward, right? Let’s unpack this a little bit. What are the elements covered in this author purpose statement?
Hi, I'm [NAME] and I'm a [BOOK GENRE] author writing for [YOUR IDEAL READER] who are
struggling with [THEIR BIGGEST FEAR/STRUGGLE]. I help them [MINDSET SHIFT], so they can
[POSITIVE IMPACT ON THEIR LIFE].
Okay. So, now we can see the puzzle pieces that make up this very clear vision. What does this look like for you?
STEP #1: What’s your book genre? This includes sub-genres as well, like steampunk, space opera, urban fantasy, etc. A clear statement of your (sub)genre tells your reader what to expect. This lowers the risk for them, and makes them more likely to buy your book.
STEP #2: Who is your ideal reader? If you’re not sure who is your ideal reader (or how to start finding them), start with last week’s blog post on identifying your ideal reader. This includes information like age, life stage, etc. Hint: If you’re writing YA, your audience is teenagers.
STEP #3: What is your ideal reader’s biggest struggle or insecurity? This is super, super important to know about your readers. I suggest creating an ideal reader profile with this information. More about how to uncover your ideal reader’s deepest struggles in my FREE workbook, “5 Steps to a Tribe-Building Author Brand.”
Step #4: What mindset shift do you want to see in your readers? At its heart, we write stories to communicate with our readers. Yes, we want them to be entertaining. But we also want to emotionally engage with our readers and impact them in some way. Maybe you want to encourage your readers through a tough time, or help them not feel alone in their struggles. Think about what shift you want to create in your readers’ thoughts and emotions.
Step #5: What positive, tangible change do you want to see in your readers’ lives? Maybe they have the courage to ask for that raise, stand up to a bully, or launch their own business. Maybe they stop placing their identity in others’ opinions, and start doing what they love (no matter what someone else thinks). This is key to your purpose statement. It’s WHY you write.
Okay, time to bring it together! Plug your answers into the author purpose statement. Does it feel clear? Authentic? 100 percent in line with you and your passions? If not, tweak it. Get more specific. If anything feels fuzzy or not quite right, dig deeper and get more specific.
Then, take this purpose statement and apply it to everything writing and business. Use it as the filter for your marketing. For the types of stories you tell. For the way you speak to your audience.
Show you know your ideal readers and can help inspire them to overcome their biggest fears and struggles, and achieve their dreams.
Craft your author purpose statement, and then post it in the comments! Who are you writing for and why?
Want to learn more?
Get access to my FREE workbook, “5 Steps to a Tribe-Building Author Brand.”