You’ve written your author bio, your book summary, and the introductory post on your blog. You may have gotten into a fluid routine of describing your writing to people while in conversation with them, but have you crafted an all encompassing declaration of your craft, your passion, and your writerly mission?
A manifesto is the perfect way to tell people who you are, what you do, and why you do it. It helps you shrink your sprawling ideas and thoughts about yourself as a writer into one condensed, downloadable, and shareable format. A manifesto not only allows your readers to more fully understand your core intent and ultimate message, but also your style and personality. Your blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts, etc. are all tidbits of what you stand for, but, as manifesto-writer Jeff Goins says, “This is the reason why people write books instead of just publishing a series of magazine articles. Sometimes, you have more to say than can be contained in short, bite-sized pieces.”
If you have anything to say that is powerful, thought-provoking, mind-changing, or action-inducing, you need to write a manifesto.
Maybe that sounds intimidating. But whatever it is you’re writing, no matter how many followers you have or don’t have, if you think it’s worth writing and posting, the chances are that it’s important to somebody else, too. If you’re just starting to build your online presence – whether you’ve already published a book or not – writing a manifesto is a great way to dive in.
Here are a few tips for writing your own author manifesto:
1. Set a deadline for yourself.
Write down when you’d like to have your first and final drafts done, and try your hardest to stick to them.
2. Clarify your message.
Brainstorm what you think your current writing portrays, what you want it to portray, and how you can bridge the two together. Write out what your message is. Take the time to scribble on a sketchpad if you’re more visual or write a stream of conscious rant – whatever works for you.
3. Decide who your audience is.
Figure out what your ideal reader looks like. Take into consideration who your current fan base is, and how your ideal and your reality line up. Who do you want to impact and help through your writing? What are their needs and desires? How can you meet them?
4. Describe what you offer.
Help your readers understand what you have to offer them. Even if you’re not asking them to buy something from you with cash or their email addresses, they are at least exchanging their time and trust in order to receive something from you – be it advice, inspiration, an ebook, a newsletter, etc.
5. Include an action step.
What do you want your readers to do when they’re finished reading your work? This can be simple and small, like signing up for your newsletter, or inspirationally large, like living a healthier life in some way. Whichever it is (or if it’s both), be clear about what your hopes are for your readers and what you’d like them to do.
6. Write & review.
With your brainstorming in front of you, start writing your piece. Get the first draft down, then take a break and step away from it. When you’re ready, read through it and review. Using your notes as a reference, make sure you’ve clarified your message and created your own voice. Have people proofread it and share any questions they have. Once you’ve repeated this process, decide how you want to release it to your readers. Consider having a designer create a cover or graphic for it, turn it into an ebook or sleek pdf, and go for it!
– Closing tip –
I strongly suggest making your manifesto your first email sign-up incentive. What does this mean? It means that when your “Sign up for email updates” window pops up in the center, corner, or sidebar of your blog, it advertises a free download of your manifesto. Make an image, use an engaging font, and your readers will gladly enter their email addresses in order to read your manifesto. This not only gets your content in front of them, but it gets their email addresses into your database. If you want to know more about building your online platform, read 5 Steps to Grow Your Platform and keep an eye out for an upcoming article on the importance of creating and promoting an email sign-up incentive.