How to Write a Self-Help Book

Updated July 12, 2018

If you're knowledgeable about a topic and have found a way to help yourself, it may be time to turn your ideas into a book. Help someone else by writing down the methods you used to improve your own situation.

Define your goal. Have your message and purpose in the back of your mind. You should be able to say why you are writing this book in one or two sentences. If you can't narrow your topic, you aren't ready to put the book together.

Know your topic well. Be familiar with the concepts or know the topic first hand. The more experience you have with the topic, the more believable your advice will be. Readers need to be able to trust that what you say is true.

Be inspirational. Use a positive tone. You want to motivate the reader to change. Your tone should encourage the reader to follow your advice. Use examples of real life success stories or anecdotes to back up your advice. These stories help the reader visualize success.

Outline your plan in your table of contents. Readers should be able to read the table of contents and know the full scope of the book.

Write only one topic per chapter. You want to keep the book clear and not confuse the reader by mixing up ideas. Write in a clear step-by-step manner so that the reader can follow your advice with ease. Lead readers from where they are to the next step. Include strategies and coping mechanisms. The 12-Step Program is one of the more famous "self-help" strategies, and it outlines each move in digestible units. Use that as a model.

Validate your suggestions. Offer proof that your advice and suggestions really work. Use true life examples and empirical data to back up your claims. As often as possible, offer yourself as the example. If it worked for you, it can work for others.

Read the popular self-help gurus, such as Wayne Dyer, to get a feeling for style and presentation.

Include resources like useful websites and support groups. Show the reader there is more help after your book. Let the reader feel connected to other people who understand the issues.


Write in plain language, not like a textbook. You want to inspire people. Test your book out on people and ask for feedback.

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