How to Write a Self-Help Book (That Helps People)?

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  • October 9, 2023
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  • 8 min read

book writing

Writing a self-help book is more than just putting words on paper. Discover more about how to write a book with no experience. It’s about creating a resource that empowers and inspires readers to improve their lives. Whether you’re a life coach, a therapist, or simply someone with a compelling story to tell, these steps will help you get started on your self-help book journey.

Understanding the Self-Help Genre

If you want to write a self-help book, it’s important to understand what makes up the genre. These books are usually divided into two categories: how-to and motivational.

How-to books are about taking action and getting results, like losing weight or getting organized. Motivational books focus more on why you should achieve your goals, such as “Why getting fit is important.”

The difference between these two types of books is subtle but important—to write a truly useful self-help book, you must understand where your ideas fall on this spectrum.

Identifying Your Motivation

The first step to writing a self-help book is identifying your motivation. Why are you writing this book? What do you hope to achieve with it?

Maybe you’re trying to help people struggling with the same problems you have experienced, or maybe you’re looking for a way to share your own experience in hopes of helping others. Whatever your reason, it’s important that you take some time to think about what drives your desire to write this book before you start writing it.

Defining Your Target Audience

Your target audience is the group of people who will benefit most from reading your book. It’s important to make sure that when you write your book, it’s not just for one type of person but a wide variety of people with different issues and needs. You can do this by dividing your target audience into smaller groups and targeting each with specific content that speaks directly to their concerns.

Research and Data Gathering

If you want to write a self-help book, you’ll need to research and gather data. Our content development services can assist in this crucial phase. First, think about the problem that your book will help people with. What is it? What causes it? How does it manifest itself in the lives of your readers?

Then, collect as much data as possible on that problem and its causes and symptoms. Use surveys, interviews, questionnaires—whatever you can think of! You’ll want to ensure you have enough data so that your findings represent the whole picture.

Finally, use all this research to create an outline for your book. Think about what order you want things to go in, how long each section should be, etc.

Creating a Unique Angle

You must create a unique angle to write a self-help book that helps people. You should try to answer questions that other books do not answer or offer solutions not offered by others. If you can create a unique angle, your book will stand out from all other competitor books. This will make it easier for people to find your book when looking for solutions to their problems.

Structuring Your Content

Structuring your content is important because it helps you organize your thoughts and makes writing easier.

Here are some tips to help you structure your book:

  1. Make a mind map or an outline of the key points you want to make in each chapter, then fill in the details for each section.
  2. Write about many people’s problems, but get specific about how you can solve them.
  3. Include personal examples from your life so readers know you’re speaking from experience and not just trying to sell them something.
  4. Use simple language for anyone to understand without dumbing down what you have to say or using big words that might intimidate readers who aren’t well-educated on this topic (unless it’s appropriate for what you’re talking about).

Writing Engaging Content

So you’ve got a good idea for a self-help book, but how do you make it good? You want your book to be engaging—to keep readers coming back for more. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Keep it simple. Your readers don’t need to know what you’re going through; they just need to know how to help themselves out of their problems.
  2. Don’t make assumptions about your audience’s experience or knowledge level—just assume they know nothing and work backward from there!
  3. Keep the tone conversational, but remember that people might be reading this text out loud—so avoid contractions!

The Power of Personal Stories

Personal stories are one of the most powerful tools in a self-help book. Learn more about the impact of personal narratives in writing your life story: how to write a book about your life. Why? Because they’re relatable. They let readers see themselves in the story, making them feel like they’re not alone. Plus, writing about yourself makes it easy to be vulnerable. That’s what makes people connect with you.

But how do you use your personal story as a tool to help others? By focusing on three key parts:

  • Find what’s unique about your story. What makes it different from other people’s stories? What makes it special?
  • Ask yourself what message your story has for others who need it. This is where you figure out what people will get out of reading your story—what problem will they be able to solve by reading it?
  • Ensure the message is delivered clearly so readers know exactly how they can apply it to their own lives.

Editing and Proofreading

Editing and proofreading are the last steps in self-help book writing. After completing your research, writing your outline, and writing the actual book, you’ll need to review each chapter and ensure it’s as polished as possible.

This is where you will want help from a professional service such as Ghostwriting Founder. They’ll be able to look at your work objectively and point out where there might be gaps or mistakes, or they can simply tell you that what you’ve written sounds good to them—which is just as important!

Having someone else read through your entire book before finalizing it is also a good idea. This will let you catch any typos or grammatical errors that may have slipped through during editing.

Publishing and Marketing

Decide whether you want to go the traditional publishing route or self-publish. For guidance, see how to publish a book. Explore the pros and cons and choose the best path for your book. Marketing and promoting your self-help book is a crucial part of the journey. Make sure it reaches a wider audience and has a meaningful impact.

Key Characteristics and Profound Details

Step Description Key Points
Understanding the Genre Grasping the nuances between how-to and motivational self-help books. – How-to: Action-oriented
– Motivational: Goal-focused
Identifying Motivation Determining the personal or professional reasons behind writing the book. – Personal experiences
– Desire to help others
Defining Target Audience Identifying the specific group(s) who will benefit from the book. – Catering to diverse needs
– Segmenting audience
Research and Data Gathering relevant information and data to support the book’s content. – Surveys, interviews
– Comprehensive data collection
Creating a Unique Angle Developing a distinctive approach that sets the book apart from others. – Answering unaddressed questions
– Offering novel solutions
Structuring Content Organizing the book’s content in a coherent and logical manner. – Mind maps, outlines
– Balancing personal examples with general advice
Writing Engaging Content Crafting content that is both informative and captivating to the reader. – Simple, conversational tone
– Avoiding assumptions about reader knowledge
The Power of Personal Stories Utilizing personal narratives to create relatability and connection with the reader. – Uniqueness of story
– Clear message delivery
Editing and Proofreading Reviewing and refining the book to ensure clarity, coherence, and quality. – Professional editing services
– Objective review
Publishing and Marketing Deciding on a publishing route and implementing strategies to promote the book. – Traditional vs. self-publishing
– Effective marketing strategies
Conclusion Emphasizing the rewarding nature of creating a self-help book that can positively impact others. – Persistence and dedication
– Goal of making a difference


Writing a book that truly makes a difference is a rewarding thing to do. It lets you share your knowledge and help others in a good way. If you follow these steps and stick to your goal, you can publish a self-help book that connects and motivates people.

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