Who needs help? Perhaps the better question—especially these days—is, who doesn’t?
The self-help industry, always a robust category of publishing, has enjoyed exponential growth. According to a March 2021 Library Journal article, “…U.S. sales of self-help books grew annually by 11 percent from 2013 to 2019, reaching 18.6 million volumes. Meanwhile, the number of self-help titles in existence nearly tripled during that period, from 30,897 to 85,253.” While data for the “pandemic years” is forthcoming, it’s not a stretch to believe that since 2020, the self-help industry has grown even more.
If you’re considering writing (or having ghostwritten) a self-help book, these statistics are both fantastic and inspiring. But how do you crack into that market?
Below are a few pointers:
- Know—and be passionate about—your subject. What are you not just good at, but great at? What do you know inside out? What challenges have you personally faced and overcome, and how did you do that? Selecting a subject that has significant meaning for you and that you know a great deal about will go a long way toward writing a book that has meaning for readers, too.
- Have a story. It’s important to be an expert, but when it comes to self-help, it’s also vital to personalize your expertise. Whether it’s health/fitness, parenting, relationships, or anything else, readers want to know that you’ve personally faced the challenges they’re facing, and that you’ve discovered and implemented successful solutions. Weaving your personal story into your self-help book engages readers and demonstrates empathy for the audience.
- Provide actionable steps. Self-help readers want to know not only how you did it, but how they can do it, too. Breaking down the material into actionable steps, including bullet lists and/or step-by-step exercises, helps the audience follow in your footsteps to achieve their own success as they work to master the material.
- Be humble. While you want to be seen as an expert, it’s off-putting if your tone implies that you have all the answers. Each of us is an individual, and no one can completely walk in another’s shoes. Your readers’ paths will not be identical to yours; it’s important to recognize and respect the differences between yourself and others. Your job is to provide insight, inspiration, and education, while remembering that your reader is the student, and you are the teacher.
- Market your book strategically. Online search engines continue to become more and more sophisticated. This is good news for self-help authors, because by using strategic SEO (search engine optimization), you can make it effortless for readers to find your book when they’re searching for answers to specific questions.
It might sound like a lot to take on, but at Mark Graham Communications, we’re here to
help (pun intended). Our team of ghostwriters, editors, book designers, and book marketers can help get your message to the right audience, at the right time—quickly putting you on the path to becoming a successful self-help author.
Interested? Please get in touch. We’d love to discuss your idea and help you get started
with your self-help book!