Self-help books are the bread and butter for many people in search of a better self.
Also, they are not only greatly appealing to readers – literary agents and publishers love them just as much. This genre tackles a seemingly endless amount of topics – from dieting to spirituality to overcoming personal fears – but regardless of the subject, self-help books tend to fly from the shelves.
If you’ve decided to write one, you may need some assistance as well.
Tips for Giving Great Written Advice for Self-Development
Before you sit down to write the first chapter of your book, make sure it hasn’t already been written. No matter how much better you think you’re putting it, a self-help book that gives the same old advice is unlikely to be worth much in the eyes of a publisher.
For optimal success, it’s best to peruse the self-help aisle at your local bookstore and become familiar with the competition. Reading established self-help classics will not only help you understand what kind of self-help already exists, but will help you better understand how to write for the genre.
If you desperately want to write about a topic that many authors have already tackled, be sure to give a fresh perspective on the subject at hand.
It’s Not All about You
Remember that your self-help book isn’t about you, it’s about your reader.
By nature, a self-help book must be brimming with practical advice, speak optimistically and focus on the reader. If you’re writing a memoir, feel free to let your self-indulgences fly, but a self-help book should exist for its readers.
One Topic for Each Chapter
Self-help books are for the general population, and therefore must be as clear and concise as possible.
One way to ensure that your readers are with you is to emphasize only one idea per chapter.
Give your life advice in a step-by-step fashion, making it simple for readers to actually go out and do as you suggest. Style your tips after the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step Program, one of the most successful self-help programs of all time.
Underscore your how-to advice with proof that your methods actually work.
Tell success stories and offer data that explains why you are suggesting this advice in the first place.
You can use yourself as an example, but don’t go overboard.
Understand the Self-Help Market
Know what you’re getting yourself into by doing a little research.
Getting a book published isn’t a simple matter of putting words on pages and passing them to a publisher.
A writer does himself a great favor when he learns how the publishing industry works. Purchasing the latest copy of “Writer’s Market” is a great place to start.
It’s a mistake to think that your own marketing platform isn’t important, especially when it comes to the self-help genre. Your ideas for a better self will only take you so far – it’s important that you have the credentials or experience to back them up.
Thanks to new media, you can build your own platform by starting a blog or building a following on Twitter.
Agents want to know that you already have an interested fan base and that you are an established authority regarding your subject matter before publishing your work.
Self-help books are not only highly marketable, but they can potentially bring excellent advice and new life skills to people who could really use them.
If your personal experiences and expertise qualify you to help others, don’t wait to start writing!