How Do I Become a Self-Help Publisher?

Kay Paddock

Self-help publishing can mean something as simple as creating a pamphlet on how to stop smoking, or it can mean publishing books full of techniques and tips about all kinds of self-improvement. If you want to become a self-help publisher, you should first decide whether you plan to publish your own materials or the work of others, or both. Electronic publishing can allow you to create ebooks that can be sold online. Print-on-Demand (POD) publishing will let you create printed books inexpensively. Many people in self-help publishing started out by sharing their own books and then expanded into publishing books written by other people.

A self-help book often draws from the author's own challenges.
A self-help book often draws from the author's own challenges.

If your goal is to become a self-help publisher for only your own work, then self-publishing is probably the simplest way to do it. Check the business laws in your area so you can be sure to do everything correctly from the beginning. In the United States, self-publishing can be considered a hobby or a business, depending on the expenses and income it creates. This affects the amount of taxes that will be owed and whether or not you might need a business license to legally become a self-help publisher.

A self-help publisher could provide editing services to an author, which involves the use of an in-house editor for a fee.
A self-help publisher could provide editing services to an author, which involves the use of an in-house editor for a fee.

Once you've checked the laws and regulations in your area, you should probably decide how you want to publish. Self-help books that will be published in print have more overhead costs than ebooks. In both cases, you can do much of the work yourself or you can hire others to do things such as formatting, editing, cover design and marketing. Ebooks can be created and sold with no overhead costs at all in most cases, while POD books can require anything from small set-up fees to costly production expenses, depending on the company and packages you choose. You will most likely want to create a website — or have someone create it for you — so people can find out about your books and even buy them directly from you.

The self-help support industry is a big one, often filled with contradictory ideas. Make sure that the information you plan to publish is effective self help by checking sources and getting expert advice. To become a self-help publisher that will be trusted by readers, it is important to make sure the self-help strategies and techniques in your books are sound. You also can ask experts in your field to contribute information, provide quotes about your book, or even write a foreword or introduction. These will help make your self-help books stand out in a very competitive field.

Finally, if you plan to seek out other people's work to publish, create a way for them to contact you and submit their books. Information on your website listing the types of books you are looking for will help people get their book manuscripts to you. There are also many publications and websites where you can list calls for submissions to attract writers. If you want to become a self-help publisher of this type, you might consider hiring people with editing and publishing experience to help you choose the books with the most sales potential.

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