It is no secret that the self-help industry is booming. It is no secret that most of us are searching for ways to make our lives more meaningful. We’ve all heard it: life is stressful. What is it that give life meaning, injects more fun into our days, or inspires us to new heights?
Enter the self-help book. Yes, the best selling of all genres. You’ve thought about writing one; you have an area of expertise that you feel others would benefit exploring. Okay, so let’s talk about the five most important steps in creating something truly special.
Step One: Be the Man (or Woman)
The business of writing self-help books is about establishing your credibility in whatever area you choose. Love, money, health, ant farms, cotton candy. All you need to do is prove that you are not an amateur. How do you do that? You do the work. You research. You read. You practice. You put two and two together and come up with tools that can actually help people. Then you distill it into a readable, entertaining presentation that makes people want to try your tools.
Step Two: Who’s the Target?
You’ve found your area of expertise and done the work. Now who is it you want to influence? Teens, millennials, boomers? Who wants what you’re selling? Who can benefit from your knowledge and set of practices? Know your audience. Then go after them.
Step Three: Walk the Walk (Slowly)
Remember that you’re giving a set of tools or lessons to people who want it to be easy and accessible, so make it easy and accessible. Don’t leave anything out. Highlight what’s important. Walk them through the process as if they know nothing, which they probably don’t. Make them want to take action.
Step Four: Tell a Story
There is nothing better for illustrating your tools and lessons than examples and anecdotes that illustrate your points and make your readers stop and say, “I get it. I can do that.” Now you’ve got them hooked. Now they feel inspired.
Step Five: Close the Circle
Now that you’ve opened the door to something useful and desirable, make sure you leave the reader with the owner’s manual. Their to-do list. Their exercises. Their instructions. Make them fun enough that people will follow up and make them effective enough that people will come back for more.