About the Episode
Have you heard the phrase, an XYZ statement and wondered what in the world is that? And do I as a fiction writer need one? Well, here’s the answer: absolutely! An XYZ statement is simply a positioning statement that gives clarity and helps guide your decision making in the future. Today, we’re diving into what are the different components of an XYZ statement and how do we write one as a Fiction Writer. We’re getting into the nitty gritty details of who your reader is and why they benefit from reading your stories. Let’s get started.
Click for Transcript
[00:00:00] Have you heard the phrase, an XYZ statement and wondered what in the world is that? And do I as a fiction writer need one?
Hi, I’m Rachel Fahrenbach. I help Christian Writers craft and publish a novel that has an engaged audience ready to buy it. And today we’re going to be talking about this XYZ statement, what it is, and the fact that yes, yes, yes, yes. You as a fiction writer, do need an X, Y, Z statement.
So the XYZ statement is simply a tool that is used in the business and marketing world to articulate a particular positioning of a company. Now, before you write this off as something that you as a fiction writer do not need, let me just state it this way:
having an XYZ statement gives you clarity and helps you make decisions moving forward. It also gives clarity to your reader. They will know who you are and how they will benefit from engaging with you and your work. You as a fiction writer, you [00:01:00] have a business, you are an entrepreneur, you have a product that you are producing and attempting to sell. Even if you publish traditionally with a publishing house, you are still a business owner. You are still an entrepreneur. When you publish with a publisher, you are engaging in a business collaboration. You are not, they are not your boss. They are your partner in the production of your novel. And so having an XYZ statement really sets you up for success as that business owner, because it doesn’t focus on just one novel. It’s not just, Oh, I’m a writer who wrote this novel, is I’m a writer that does this, and when you engage with me and my work, you get this.
And the beautiful thing about this positioning statement is that it sets you up for success, not just with your next novel, but with future ones, as well as other additional streams of income that you may decide to [00:02:00] pursue other revenue generating offers that you may put out there for your reader. It’s an extremely helpful tool. If you don’t have this XYZ statement already written, don’t worry. We’re about to dive into that. We’re gonna really get specific about the structure of this positioning statement and how to approach it as a fiction writer. So you may have heard about this XYZ statement from a business perspective or even a non-fiction writing perspective. But right now, what we’re gonna talk about in this episode is really what it means to embrace this XYZ statement as a fiction writer.
So essentially, the structure of the X, Y, Z positioning statement is this, I help direct engage, teach, encourage some verb , you do this, I do blank. A verb. So I, we’re gonna just use, I help for the sake of this [00:03:00] first structure piece, and then I’ll show you how other ones are used. Later on, I help X to do Y so they can Z. So essentially it’s who you serve, how you serve them, and why you serve them. Okay. So like I said, I know for nonfiction this makes a whole lot more sense.
Your like, you can see it a little more clearly because there’s a clearly defined person with a clearly defined problem and there’s a clearly defined benefit. Just because you have to think a little bit more deeply as a fiction writer about your reader and why they read the novels that you re, that you write doesn’t mean that it’s not there. It doesn’t mean that this XYZ statement doesn’t apply to you, and I’m gonna show you how.
I don’t want that to stop you. Just because it seems harder to do doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial for you. So this is like one of my favorite things to do in the world. So let’s get started. All right, Let’s start with X, who you serve. Now, I have [00:04:00] talked about in episode one, knowing your reader, and I hope you have done that, uh, worksheet that I talked about in that episode.
I hope you listened to it, that you really have gotten to know who your reader is. I really hope that when you close your eyes and you imagine somebody holding your novel, you can visualize who that reader is. So if you haven’t listened to that episode, go back and listen to that. I link to it in the show notes below.
So, one of the things you’re gonna need to know about your reader is their greatest pain point. And you might just wanna sigh right now and be like, Rachel, people don’t have pain points when they read my fiction. Yes, they do. I am a firm believer in this. I think this is what trips up fiction writers the most. They think there’s not a pain point that they can identify. There’s not something they’re solving. They think they aren’t solving a problem, but that’s not true. You are solving a problem for a reader. You just have to think a little bit more deeply about why the person is picking up your novel and before you [00:05:00] start to shut down and say, I can’t do that, that’s really hard to do. Um, you are a fiction writer and you know how to get into people’s heads.
You know how to really dive deep into a character. You, you can figure out what drives people to do the things that they do. You can do that better than most non-fiction people can. So don’t, don’t make excuses. Get into the head of your reader. Figure out what their greatest pain point is that you’re solving by producing the novels that you produce.
I’m gonna give you some examples so that you can start to identify what I mean by that. And I’m gonna, I have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 examples that I’m going to continue to add onto as we move throughout the episode. Okay. So the first one, I wanna say this. I wanna say this, When you are, um, creating your positioning statement, you’re gonna pick out the most important detail about your reader.
Um, you’re gonna know a lot about your reader when you start to, uh, work through that worksheet I gave you, and really hone in on who that person [00:06:00] is. But for the sake of this positioning statement, you’re only gonna pick out the most important details, the details that matter about the reason why. Their pain point.
Okay? So for example, I help young professional women in their early twenties. I provide the stay at home mom of littles. I engage the history fanatic, empty nester. I give cosplaying high schoolers. I help corporate dudes who love adventure. Okay, so just from. Just from the five examples I gave you, those are five totally different audiences who are going to approach reading fiction for different reasons.
Right. Okay. Which then gets into, and they all have different pain points, and that’s where we get into the why, how are you serving them, How are you solving that problem that they have? How are you meeting that greatest need that they have? Why does your [00:07:00] reader read the type of novels you write?
Or why would the reader pick up your novel? What are they hope looking for? What are they hoping for, and how does your novel reach that? Okay. How do they bridge that gap and um, do not fall back on the whole, Oh, they just wanna be entertained. Don’t do that. People give that example all the time, and you can tell.
You can tell when business coaches or even writing coaches don’t really understand fiction or don’t even really understand fiction readers because they’ll say, Oh, to be entertained. That’s why people read, and it’s, it’s not, yes. They are being entertained, but being entertained is just one component of that.
I would actually argue that they want to experience. People read novels because they want, not necessarily because they wanna be entertained, but because they want to experience something and the thing that they want to experience is the fact that you are meeting their need.
Okay. So let me show you how [00:08:00] this works. So I want you to dig deeper. I want you to ask the question like, why do they wanna be entertained? Or what do they want to experience? How do you help them accomplish that? So this is what it might look like.
I help the young professional woman in her early twenties feel a little less lonely on her morning commute into a new city.
I provide the stay at home mom of littles, a momentary break from the mundane.
I engage the history fanatic, empty nester with stories of historical power plays.
I give cosplaying high schoolers new worlds to immerse themselves in.
I help corporate dudes who love adventure imagine themselves laying dragons.
You see how that’s different than just oh, they wanna be entertained. Oh, I, I write for people who like historical novels and [00:09:00] they wanna be entertained. Like, who, who is that person? You, What are you doing? Like, why are you writing the novels? No. Know your reader, know their pain point and how you bridge that gap between the pain point and the novel that you provide.
In a moment. In a moment, we’re gonna go over Z and why this is the most important part of your positioning statement, but I just wanna take a brief moment and remind you to hit subscribe on YouTube or Spotify or Apple or Google or wherever you listen or are watching this episode. I want you to do that because in future episodes we will be talking about things about how your positioning statement helps you make choices about your novel as well as the social media platforms you use and the marketing that you do.
Okay. X tells us who. Y tells us what their pain point is and how you kind of match that point, pain point, how you kind of solve or how you connect to that pain point with your novel.
But why is gonna dig into the benefit of them reading your [00:10:00] novels, the benefit of them engaging with your sample and supplemental content on your social media platforms and email and all the things, the why of why they should engage with you, the author and you, your work and your work that you. The why digs into the why they should engage with you, the author and the work that you do. What benefit is it to them? That’s what we’re getting into with this last bit of this positioning statement. Another way to ask this is what does the reader benefit, or what does the reader gain by reading my novel?
Okay, so this is what it looks like with those five examples we’ve already started.
I help young professional women in their early twenties feel a little less lonely on her morning commute into a new city so she can walk into her job feeling confident in who she is and where she belongs.
I provide the stay at home mom of littles, a [00:11:00] momentary break from the mundane so she can remember who she is outside of the everyday demands of life.
I engaged the history fanatic, empty nester with the stories of historical power plays so they can get lost down a rabbit hole of intrigue and learn something new along the way.
I give cosplaying high schoolers new worlds to immerse themselves in so they can find a place to belong and new friends to make.
I help corporate dudes who love adventure imagine themselves slaying dragons so they can bring the same energy into their nine to five.
You see? Does this, is it starting to make a little bit more sense, like these statements give such freedom. There’s a structure, right? We know who we’re writing to. We know what their pain point is, how we’re gonna meet that pain point and what the benefit is gonna be to the reader.
We know how we’re going to serve our reader with our work, [00:12:00] with our writing, with our novels, with the supplemental materials. When we create, with the sample, um, stuff we put out there. We understand how we’re going to engage with them because we understand our positioning statement. There’s freedom in that though, right? There’s freedom in these positioning statements. You might write a historical novel one time, but then you might write a contemporary novel the next, but there’s a key thread that meets your reader and her need.
There’s a key thread in there that is going to give her the same benefit. Right? So there’s freedom in this positioning statement. It’s not saying, I’m going to only write this genre for the rest of my time as a novelist, I’m only going to do this kind of thing for the rest of my time as a writer, I’m only going to write novels.
I’m only going to do this. I’m only, No, we are not pigeoning ourselves by having an XYZ statement. We are identifying and giving clarity to the ways in which we engage [00:13:00] our reader in the ways in which we help them with their pain point and the ways in which the reader benefits from engaging with us and our work. It gives us clarity and we can make better decisions for our novel, for our business, for our marketing. All of the things become clearer and give us more direction.
So, So I hope that you at this point are like, Yes, I need an XYZ statement. I need something to give me this direction. I need something to give me this clarity so I know what I’m doing because I have this now, but then I have this one and this one and this one, and I don’t know how to market those. And I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing on social media.
And if I have this X, Y, Z statement, it begins to give me a better idea of those things. And if that is you, I want you to go to rachelfahrenbach.com/resource. I link to it in the show notes and on that page, on my website, you will find a worksheet for working through this XYZ statement. And I hope you download that and take advantage of that.
And if you have a writer friend who you’re [00:14:00] like, hey, we’ve talked about this X, Y, Z thing before, we’ve all said like, Oh, this doesn’t apply to us, but it really does apply to us and it can give us clarity and direction and freedom.
Would you send this episode to them? I would really appreciate it when you share my podcast with other people, other writers, it helps me reach other fiction writers that I may not have reached before. And then we can all do a better job of creating really solid, strong novels that our readers can benefit from. So thank you for sharing the podcast. Thank you for listening in today and joining me here. Until next time, happy writing. Bye.
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Hey! I'm Rachel and I'm so glad you're here today!
I help Christian fiction writers figure out how they can make an impact and an income from their storytelling while keeping rest a priority.
You can learn more about how I’m in your corner here.
And you can learn more about my personal journey here.
One last thing, if you’re looking for a bit more rest in your life, be sure to check out the Rest & Reflect guided journal.