How Do I Become a Self-Help Author?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 May 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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A self-help author is a person who writes a book or other publication aimed at helping people overcome specific problems. In order to become a self-help author, you should have experience, skills, knowledge, or other relevant credentials that qualify you to write such a publication. This may or may not mean you have a formal education; you can become a self-help author if you have overcome the specific problem you are writing about if you can make your strategy available to others who may be going through a similar struggle.

Writing skills will be necessary if you want to become a self-help author, though if your writing is weak, you can hire a ghost writer to help you complete the publication. A ghost writer is a person who will work with you to lay out your ideas clearly and make sure they translate to the page. This writer is usually uncredited, but you will need to pay for the service. If your writing skills are good but could use some improvement, try enrolling in some college courses as a refresher before you dive into the writing of the book. You will have to be an exceptionally clear communicator in order to become a self-help author, so your writing skills must be honed.


Have a plan and a target audience before you begin writing. It is good to begin by making an outline that will give you an idea of what topics need to be covered in the book as well as how you will present those topics. Keep your audience in mind during the writing of the book to ensure your writing is clear and easy to understand. Try to be succinct and avoid too many long, anecdotal passages that may lose the reader's interest. Make sure you include all your strategies for overcoming the problem, and stay positive. More importantly, stay on message throughout.

A marketing plan will also be necessary if you want to become a self-help author. You will need to come up with ways to reach your target audience; this may mean building a website and doing online advertising, or it may mean advertising the book in magazines, on television, or even on the radio. If you want to get the book published through more traditional channels, you will need to pitch the manuscript to a literary agent, who will in turn pitch it to a publisher. This can be difficult, and the manuscript should be thoroughly edited before you send it to an agent. It is wise to have a marketing plan ready to send to the agent as well.



Discuss this Article

Post 3

@Fa5t3r - These days there is a lot of talk in the publishing world about "platforms" and I think self help authors are one of the places where that is completely relevant. If you don't have a platform you won't be published, or if you publish yourself you won't sell a copy.

A platform is something like a blog or newsletter that people sign up for or visit regularly and it's a place to try out all of those ideas and see how they work. Aside from building an audience I think it's essential to anyone who is trying to be a self help guru, because it's the only way you can see how your ideas will work out in the real world, without actually having experience working with them in the real world.

Post 2

@bythewell - I think one of the ways to go about it these days is to pick a niche topic that you know well and write about that. There are plenty of self help gurus for the general public, for example, but how many of them are advocating change specifically directed towards people of a particular religion, or people in a particular job, or people with a particular medical condition.

It means that your book will not be read as widely, but it's more likely to be helpful to the people who do read it.

Post 1

If you're hoping to become a self help author, I think one of the most important things to consider is if you have anything original to say. This is one market that has become completely saturated, because people see it as a way to make a quick buck. You might think your journey is completely original, but it is probably fairly similar to other journeys that are already out there.

I don't want to discourage people from trying to help others, but you have to be realistic about this. If you don't have something very unique to offer, your book will just get lost in the slush-pile with the thousands of others that are each year. If you truly want to help people, then the best way of doing that isn't necessarily with a book.

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