The Dual Purpose of Writing Your Book

Before you begin writing a book, it’s crucial to ask yourself why. Without a clear understanding of the purpose of your book, it’s difficult to make it stand out from the thousands that are published each day. But there are two sides to that question: why you want to write the book and why someone else would want to read it. Understanding both sides of that coin is crucial if you want to both get your message across and ensure that there’s someone on the other end to receive it.

Why Write a Book?

Do you imagine raking in the royalties and retiring to the French Riviera, tapping out a new best seller every other year? Don’t hold your breath. It’s a rare feat for an author to sell enough books to finance that kind of lifestyle, especially from their first book. However, there are other reasons for writing a book that can provide considerable financial and professional benefits.

Although your book may not be a gold mine on its own, it can be an incredibly effective marketing tool. A book is like an impressively heavy business card, with your résumé shoved, turducken style, inside. It shows who you are, what you do, and that you’re the go-to expert in the field—all in a single instrument. Here are three uses for your book beyond the niceties of Nice.

Think like a Thought Leader

It’s tautological but true: Writing a book allows you to literally be the person who wrote the book on your topic. It makes you a credible expert in your field and can support your efforts to find new clients, expand your business, and increase your visibility. Your book allows you to showcase your knowledge and experience and serves as a focal point to build your brand, a platform to stand on while you grow your audience.

Massage Your Message

A book forces you to focus your message. You have to decide what you want to say and have to find a clear, convincing, and compelling way to say it. You can then use that language to pitch to new clients, to speak, and to write in other media. While providing something to hand to potential client and to sell at the back of the room, it helps you streamline your brand, giving a concrete resource for structuring blogs, articles, and speeches.

Engage Engagement

Speaking of which, by giving you something concrete to talk about—you have a book to plug and a message to share—your book also provides the opportunity to engage your audience in various ways on a consistent topic. Now that you’re the confirmed expert, you can discuss it (or continue discussing it) on your blog, in publicity events like print and audio interviews, bookstore readings or signings, and at speaking events.

Why Read Your Book?

The other side of the coin is making sure that your message is one that people want to hear or can derive some benefit from. This is your so what?, the unique solution you offer to your reader’s pain point.

It’s Not about You

Are you writing a book because you feel compelled to “share your story”? If you are personally known to your reader—they’re family or you’re a celebrity—your tale may be enough to draw them in. But a stranger’s personal journey, even an interesting one, is not likely enough to compel anyone to read it. However, sharing what you learned or how you overcame your circumstance may be.

It’s about the Reader

Do you have a foolproof method for driving sales or increasing productivity? Share it, and don’t hold back. That advice—a path to follow, resources for healing or for success—is a compelling reason to pick up your book. You may worry about giving away too much of your secret, but remember: The readers who can do it on their own would never have hired you anyway. The reader who isn’t ready for DIY—and so will need to hire an expert—is the audience to connect with.

Your book needs to have some purpose beyond yourself or your experience, so that you offer something of value to the reader. That balance of motives between you and your audience is key; you can’t have one side of the coin without the other. It allows you, rather than simply recounting your story, to start a conversation.

Would you like to discuss your reasons for writing a book and your audience’s reasons for reading it? Contact us at, or visit our submissions page. If you have any questions for Greenleaf Editorial about the editing process or your project, tweet us @GreenleafBookGr.