2. Create A 10 Word Purpose Statement For Your Book

At first glance it may seem that Vision and Purpose are the same thing. Here’s the difference when it comes to getting your book written:

A Vision is like the largest, most open view of your book.

The Purpose is the laser-like focus you need to get the book written well for your readers.

While it’s possible your book idea arrived whole and complete, it’s far more likely that your idea is actually much larger than can be contained in a single volume.


Your goal is to hone that idea for exactly the readers who want and need what you have to say.

How a purpose statement helps

The purpose statement, when properly written, grounds your book in the reality of its message. It helps you define your readers and will also help later with the marketing of the book. 

A purpose statement keeps you or your ghostwriter on track when the wheels seem to come off the project – as they will. It’s part of the process it seems. The purpose statement will get you back on track and quickly.

How to write a purpose statement

The best purpose statements are only 10 words long, like this:

The purpose of my book (or the book’s title if you know it) is to (10 words of fewer here).

If I were writing a purpose for this article (and the process works for every kind of writing) it might look like this:

The purpose of this article is: to show the value of a 10 word purpose statementExactly 10 words!

A better one might be:

The purpose of this article is to  show how to write a 10 word purpose statement. Nine words in this one.

Sound impossible to boil the purpose of a whole book into 10 words or less? It’s not. In fact I’ll go so far as to say if you can’t get it to 10 words or less you don’t yet know what you’re really writing about.

Sure, it can take some work. I’ve got a book on underearning started. Here’s how I got it down to 10 words.


The purpose of this book is to:

help people figure out if they’re underearning and find out how to stop it – 14 words

help people who don’t earn enough money start to earn what they deserve – 13 words and closer to what I have in mind I think

show people how to earn what they deserve – 7 words but doesn’t address the underearning.

stop underearning and earn what you deserve – 7 words, does what I want, but there’s already a book by that title or close to it. Since you can’t copyright a title I could use this as a purpose statement, but it makes me a bit uneasy. Let me try one more time.

let go of underearning and live prosperously - 7 works again. I like it.

Developing a purpose statement for your book is often a process not unlike this one. In fact, I actually did this on the fly and it only took about 15 minutes. Since this is an actual project of mine somewhere I’ve done this before, but I haven’t looked in that folder for months. I’d guess it took me 1o or 15 minutes on two or three days to get this close.

Of course, I’ve had some practice developing purpose statements that are only 1o words long. I do it because it works and I help my clients develop the same sort of purpose statements for their books.

Go ahead, try it here if you like – if you get stuck I’ll help.

What’s your book’s 10 word purpose statement?

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman, Ghostwriter and Writing Coach


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cyndy Thompson April 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm

That sounds like a great idea! I plan to try it out on the book I’m currently writing. I feel sure I know the purpose of my book, but getting it into 10 words may take awhile. Thanks for the suggestion.

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annew April 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Cindy, I think you’ll find it worth doing… let us know.

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