Writing a Self-Help Book the Right Way

image of The Race for Good Credit book cover

The Race for Good Credit was written by Trent L. Pettus and Mark Graham Communications.

Yes, Self-Help books can help. They can change someone’s life, someone’s view of the world, or the way they present themselves to the world.  If you know something that can make a difference, writing a Self-Help book is a fantastic way to share it.  Here are a few thoughts as you get started.

  • Know your idea. What is the message you are delivering?  Can you break out your ideas into chapter headings?  This may sound simplistic, but you need to have a roadmap if you intend to write a book that’s somewhere between 100-200 pages.  On the flip side, don’t get so caught up in the details that you forget to put pen to paper and start writing.
  • Knowing your subject inside and out is important, but it is equally as important to have stories that illustrate your message. Fun stories, serious stories, unusual stories. The importance of the story is so your reader will have something that clearly illustrates your point, and then has that moment where she or he says, “Oh, I see how that works.”

  • Tools, practices, lessons. Yes, a self-help book has to be actionable. You have to give your reader more than just a theory or a message. You have to give your reader action items that they can easily practice.  Begin by outlining each and every tool that you yourself have used in pursuit of your self-help goals.  Be very specific.  Walk your reader through these steps. Tell them why they are important and what results they can expect. Make it fun. Make it something they will look forward to doing.
  • Choose a voice, tone, and style that draws your reader in. Think of it as an open and enjoyable conversation that you might have over lunch or while taking a walk in the park. Remember that you are selling your reader a message that you believe in, so don’t be afraid to be passionate about the words you write down.
  • Finally, your title. What are you going to call your book? Yes, this is one of the most important decisions you will make.  Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus would never have been the hit it was, and continues to be, if the author hadn’t scored a homerun with his title.  You may also want to include a tagline or sub-title. Lots of self-help books have them. In the case of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, the author choose this tagline: A Practical Guide for Improving Communications and Getting What you Want in Your Relationship.  Yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful, but it did the job.