EDITING 101: 51 – Identifying Your Book’s Goal…

 Identifying Your Book’s Goal

If you’ve written a book, what was the goal of the book?

If you’re not sure, you’re also not alone. A lot of writers don’t examine their goals in writing at all. They know they want to write, and perhaps they know exactly what they want to write—a memoir, a science-fiction series, a literary novel.

There are two types of goals, as I see it, in writing. One would be termed “writing goals”—setting goals in order to assist you with the actual put-your-butt-in-the-chair-and-write action. That will be the subject of a later article.

Today we’re going to discuss “book goals.” What was the idea or purpose behind writing your book? Marketing yourself or a business? Leaving a legacy? Sharing your expertise? Selling a ton of copies? Telling a great story? Communicating a new idea? All of the above?

What your book goals are will help determine how much time you spend on all of the different tasks associated with writing, publishing, and marketing a book. All the goals listed above are legitimate, honest goals. There may be others I haven’t listed here that apply to you. There is nothing wrong with writing a book because you want to sell a ton of books. There is also nothing wrong with writing a book simply because you love to write and you don’t care if you never make a dime. Your book, your goals, your choice.

How can these different goals affect your actions? Let’s take a look at a few individually, although you may find there are many crossover traits:

  • Leaving a legacy. Genres in this category are memoirs, autobiographies, self-help books, inspirational books, and others. Writing this type of book is going to be very personal, and the author may not be interested in selling many copies. This author may not approach an agent or publisher, may be content with producing a fairly low number of print books, and may not want to spend the money for professional editing—while still producing the best book possible.

  • Sharing your expertise. This author needs to be completely confident in their knowledge of the topic. Since they are setting themselves up to be an expert, the book will need a lot of research, properly cited references, up-to-date information, and examples of positive experiences. This writer probably wants to sell a lot of copies at the lowest cost to themselves, so an ebook is definitely the way to go. The idea of print copies may be abandoned entirely, as the focus is on getting the information out there. Marketing is intense and focused.

  • Telling a great story. This is the author most likely to pursue an agent or traditional publisher. Their focus will be on writing, painstakingly polishing the storyline, the writing, and probably even hiring an editor before submitting the manuscript to industry professionals. This writer wants to be remembered for their storytelling abilities, hoping to become the next Jane Austen or Isaac Asimov in terms of literary notice, not necessarily monetarily.

Can you see how determining your book’s goals can influence your actions? And I want to emphasize that none of these goals affect or indicate how good of a writer you are, or whether or not you are an “author.” Stay strong and keep writing!

Next week we’ll discuss ‘Adjectives – and the Commas That Go With Them…’

To see the index and catch up with missed episodes of this series – CLICK HERE


This series is not meant to be (nor will it be) simple static information.

I’ll be here for each post to answer questions, offer suggestions as necessary, and interact with you.

If there’s something you specifically want (or need!) to see addressed in terms of self-editing, please let me know in the comments under this, or any of the articles of the series.





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