How to Write a Motivational Self-Help Book
I’ll explain what is involved with writing the content for your own self-help book. I'll show you the structure to use and I'll even give you a template to follow.
You can apply your own life experience to help others benefit by writing a book about it. The first step is to know your motivation because that will help you focus. Then target your audience and provide answers they may be searching for.
You need to have a well thought out plan of what you want to achieve with your book. I'll discuss writing an outline to achieve that.
You need to keep your potential readers in mind and have a clear idea of how you want to inspire them.
Proper Self-Help Book Structure
When creating your book, remember what I mentioned earlier. You need to carefully organize the material in a flowing manner. First by introducing the issue, then making your point, followed by as many examples as you can write about to help your reader grasp the importance of what say. Keep a simple structure as follows:
- Introduce the issue.
- Make your point.
- Give examples.
- Pull it Together.
Begin by Creating an Outline to Organize Your Thoughts
You need to present your thoughts in a meaningful, orderly, and logical way. An outline will help you do just that, while at the same time helping you stay focused.
Logical flow of thought is very important to get right. It helps the reader understand all the points you are making. In some cases you may even be developing a complex idea that involves building on a discussion.
I discovered that some people like to skip around as they read. In some cases that caused them to totally miss important points the author was trying to make. Therefore, it’s important to consider this when you're developing a logical flow of your thoughts in an outline. The reader may not always follow the same flow of your content.
A solution I use is to clearly make reference to prior content so that the reader knows that you talked about this or that earlier. So, if they did skip around, they'll know that they need to review a prior section in order to understand something that may be a complex issue.
We can’t help everyone, but at least we can give an easy-to-follow experience to those readers who are motivated to learn something.
Once you have an outline, follow a template such as the five steps I discuss below. This will help to make sure you include all the necessary items that help tie everything together.
Self-Help Book Template
• Set the Stage
Introduce the issue. Give a scenario of a life situation that you readers can relate to. Try using your own experiences. That makes it easy to come up with an example.
• Give Explanations
Make your point. Elaborate on your thoughts and feelings about the scenario you are using to provide some supportive information.
• Use a Logical Structure
Give examples. In my case, when I wrote my self-help book, I broke it up into various chapters with topics explaining examples from my own life. I maintained focus on the theme just as if I was writing a novel. I kept a logical sequence flowing. If I found myself running into a tangent, I reworked it.
• Express Your Opinion
People thrive on opinions. They search for other people's opinions all the time. If you show some authority on your subject matter, then your opinion will count and you’ll have your reader’s attention. Authority can be as simple as having had experience with the subject.
Always consider how your words will be "heard" by the reader. You may be helping readers transform their way of thinking.
• Pull it Together
At the end, pull it all together with a conclusion that leaves the reader satisfied that they learned something. Make sure you actually left the reader with some knowledge or ideas they may not have had prior to reading your book.
How to Develop Your Content
Consider Writing Content Online First
Take advantage of writing small segments of 1000 or more words online before attempting to put it into a book. I wish I had done it that way. After I published my self-help book I thought of new ideas and better ways to say things. However, it was too late. Once a book is published, it can’t be changed.
I did it backwards, having published a book before writing articles online. I wish I knew about the flexibility of writing online before I completed my book. It would have given me a chance to test various topics first.
Online publishing also includes the ability to get analytics reports from Google. These stats give you a good indication of how useful your written material is to your readers. From this data you’ll get an idea of what subject matter you’d want to use in your book and what might be a waste of time.
Motivational and Inspirational Book Topics
Many things one can write about will provide inspiration to motivate others. If you know of a special topic that you have a lot of experience with, you should consider sharing your knowledge.
See how many other authors are considering each of the following topics. When you make your own selection you will see the results of others. This may give you an idea of what to avoid because it's a saturated subject, or you may find one that you didn't think about yet.
What self-help topic do you plan to write?
How to Get Published
There are many ways to get your book published.
You can pay a publisher to do most of the work for you.
You can send manuscripts to publishers, but there is a lot of competition with this method.
You can self-publish and get it listed on bookseller sites such as Amazon. Two venues that I had used are Lulu and CreateSpace. They both provide online tools to upload your content and crude books covers.
You don't need to think about that yet. Put your best effort into creating a book that's beneficial to your readers and one worth publishing.
Questions & Answers
I'm 28, and I've pretty much failed at or gave up on practically everything, like messing up my studies of the one thing I was passionate about. I've dealt with early family loss, recent family loss, eating disorders and substance abuse. This last year I've learned to self-accept, and I want to write a book. Should I?
I'm a fourth-year social work student. Would I qualify to write a self-help book on government education or do I have to first gain experience in the field to write?
Anyone can write a book, but doing it well and marketing it are the issues you need to be concerned about. The more you can demonstrate your credentials and experience in the field you’re writing about, and the better you are at explaining things in written form, the easier it will be to sell.
Of course, spelling and grammar are very important too. Books, as well as online articles, won’t sell unless they offer value to the reader.
I would recommend starting by writing articles online. Once you have a portfolio of well-written content, you can either continue writing online to make money, or you can compile all of them into a book.
Residuals from online content are easier to achieve since you get paid from advertisers. People doing Google search don’t need to pay for the articles they find, but books don’t make money unless the reader is willing to pay for it.
My books don’t make as much money as my online articles. That has been my experience. However, if you’re in a position to travel and make presentations in libraries and bookstores for book-signings, you could make it feasible.
© 2011 Glenn Stok