How Do I Write a Self-Help Book?

To write a self-help book, concentrate on topics with which you have the most experience. Whether your expertise lies in techniques for overcoming food addiction, or for pain management, make that your focal point. Although it helps to have medical training or a degree, publishing a self-help book can be accomplished without one. Write from personal experience rather than from a scientific standpoint. Once your book has been written, obtain the service of a professional agent who can help you submit your ideas to a publishing company.

Before you enlist the help of a literary agent or contact a publishing company, your ideas must take form. You can compose your thoughts on self-help strategies using a computer program. You might want to keep a journal to record all experiences that could be applied to a self-help plan. After you have compiled your ideas into book form, break them into comprehensible chapters. Upon completion, you should hire a professional proofreader.

Deciding to write a self-help book generally indicates a desire to share experiences that others will find relevant. A self-help author who writes from experience will have more credibility than one who does not. Recounting personal mistakes and ways you've corrected them can be a source of inspiration for many. Be straightforward in your writing and don't try to sugarcoat any of the issues on which you're focusing. Even if the truth hurts, readers may walk away enlightened and armed with the knowledge they need to succeed.


Every author experiences creative phases and dry spells. When you write a self-help book, you need concentration. Don't be discouraged, however, if you reach a stumbling block. Take a break from your writing, even if only for a few days. Once your creativity has resurfaced, think back on how you've improved your life and share your insight with others. Once you have completed your work, it is time to put the wheels into motion and get your self help book published.

You will need to write an effective cover letter to present to publishers. The opening paragraph should summarize the material of your book in a concise, yet compelling, manner. Include a writer's biography and list of your writing accomplishments.

If you can't afford a high-priced agent to sell your idea, you might contact a publisher yourself. This can be difficult for someone inexperienced, so do your research. You can find information on publishing online or at your local library. Some libraries also have free classes that offer advice on how to write a self-help book and have it published.



Discuss this Article

Post 3

I would really like to write a self help book but I am not sure exactly how to narrow my focus down. I want to write about dealing with loss through substance abuse. After my mother died I got into drinking pretty hard and just ended up making a bad situation worse. I think I have a story that people want to read and advice that could really help, but I am having a lot of trouble getting started.

Has anyone written a self help book before? How did you make the first step? Did you work off of an outline? Also, how did you get publishers interested?

Post 2

An accessible, conversational tone is really important when writing a self help book. These kinds of books have a purpose and it will not due if your writing style is so dense or impenetrable that readers struggle to get through your advice.

But achieving this tone is harder than you might expect because you have to both connect and inform. There does need to be real information in there, often about difficult and complicated subjects.

Post 1

I think having personal experience in the subject you are writing about is one of the most important skills for writing a self help book. Your own anecdotes, observations, thoughts and feelings about the issue are really the greatest contribution you can make to your readers.

I see so many self help books by people that have never been in debt, never had addictions, never been sick with cancer or lost their families in a tragic accident. I cannot say that all these books are worthless, but what does an outsider really have to contribute? I want to listen to the voice of someone that has been there.

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