Companies have mission statements. It’s a short paragraph that says what the company is all about.
Writing is a business. Even if you write for the love of writing, as most writers do, selling books is still a business activity.
So should an author have a mission statement?
Here are a few possible benefits:
- Seeing and reading it every once in a while can help you focus on your main goals. What really drives you to write? It can help keep you from losing sight of this.
- You can use it as a motivator. A few aspects of the writing business can occasionally discourage an author. When you’re feeling down, read your mission statement to remind yourself of some pros that may outweigh any cons.
- Show that you’re human. Fans and potential customers who see your mission statement might notice your passion for what you do – i.e. it’s not about the money. They might see what really drives you.
Search for mission statements that companies write to get a feel for what a mission statement looks like and to help generate some ideas. Obviously, don’t plagiarize their mission statements; write your own statement in your own unique words. Just browse their mission statements to see some options and to get a feel for it.
Think about what really drives you to write. What are you really striving to accomplish through your writing?
What do you do with your mission statement after you write one?
- At the very least, keep it handy – someplace where you will see it occasionally to remind yourself what your writing is all about.
- You could add it to your website(s).
- Should you include it in your books? You can. You could put it in your copyright page, about the author page, or anywhere else – it’s your book. Realize that including the words “Mission Statement” is optional. You probably don’t see mission statements explicitly declared in books unless the publisher chooses to include it somewhere. However, there are many authors or publishers who somewhere in the front or back matter do make some note that could very well be part of a mission statement.
If you publish with your own imprint, so that you look like a real publisher, then you can include a mission statement for the publisher – instead of the author.
Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)
I have an ‘Intent & Style’ page on my blog. I think that’s similar to what you’re talking about. Either way, I think it’s a great idea.
Yes, exactly. And by not calling it a mission statement, you seem more like a person and less like a franchise. 🙂
Have this sudden urge to yell “I’m a human being!” out the window.
I like this idea. It’s a bit like when I was going through Joanna Penn’s branding exercises, to figure out exactly what I wanted to say and who I wanted to say it to. It’s very helpful for focusing my target audience.
I think it’s essential to focus on a target audience, as you’ve said so many times, Chris. There are thousands of readers who WANT to read in the genre I write in, so why would I try to force my stuff on people who don’t want it?
Thanks for the Mission Statement suggestion, and all your other excellent advice! 🙂
Yes, I should have said it one more time, too: Write the mission statement with the target audience in mind. That’s an excellent point. 🙂
I’m so glad that your brilliant advice is becoming instinctive to me! Thanks for always sharing it so articulately – and often! 🙂
Good idea, The best mission statement I ever saw was the Ford Motor Company “Quality is Job One.” Short, sweet and included the company, suppliers and customers as well.
Thanks for suggesting a good example. 🙂
I’m thinking a warning label suits my work better than a mission statement. Caution: This guy is out to mess with your mind. Proceed at your own risk.
That might turn out to be effective, too. 🙂
I co-wrote a vision statement for my local council last year so understand the need to be brief but encompass as many aspects as possible into a mission or vision statement. This is a great statement.
That’s a good goal: Try to be brief, but also encompass the relevant aspects. Thank you. 🙂
Knowing your love of figures had to pass on this one – http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2013/09/12/can-you-copyright-the-act-of-curation-and-what-constitutes-curation-anyway/
Thank you. The idea of an illegal number is quite fascinating. 🙂
Glad you liked it