How to Write a Motivational Self-Help Book

Updated on February 2, 2018
Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok had published five paperback books and has received achievement awards from Yahoo, Ezine, and HubPages for his writing expertise.

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:

  1. Introduce the issue.
  2. Make your point.
  3. Give examples.
  4. 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?

See results

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.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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?

    It sounds like you have a lot to offer your readers based on your personal experiences. I am sorry to hear what you went through.

    If you are truly thinking about becoming an author, you might try writing online articles first. I would suggest — this is where I publish my articles. It pays better than selling books. You need to write quality content that provides useful information that readers are searching for online. If you focus your writing on that, you’ll do fine. But in all honesty, it takes a lot of time and work to begin making money.

    The main point about writing online is that you’ll learn what people are looking for. Reader response will help you fine tune your writing. Then, if you decide you want to write a book, you can go on to that step. However, you may find that authoring online articles is a better path.

    Another thing I can say that I learned from my own experience: A book cannot be changed once it’s published, but online articles can be updated and improved as you see fit over time. I find that to be a better choice over book publishing.

    Either way, getting back to how you described your life, I think you have a lot to offer. You should definitely give a writing career a shot.

  • 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


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Nigel Issei M 

      8 months ago

      Hey Glenn thanks for the post I am a seventeen year old and I was planning to write a self help book. My points are all there but I was stuck and didn't know what to do. I think I am going to try and write on Hub Pages first to improve myself. So thanks for that. :)

    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      7 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Jo, I'm glad you found this useful. It looks like you and I are on the same wavelength. We both enjoy writing in a way that is inspirational. I appreciate your feedback and sharing. Thanks.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image


      7 years ago

      Really cool and a very good read. I followed some of your suggested steps when I was working on my first book One Life's Journey. It is a non fiction biography of sorts. It is filled with inspirational messages and poems too. I know what you mean about once it is printed that's it. You can't go back and correct or change a thought. I think I did pretty good for a first timer. The other two I am currently writing will be more polished. I voted up and shared. :) Take care and I wish you inspiration for your next one! :)

    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      8 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Ania, I see you just started on HubPages a few weeks ago and you're doing well already. So if you want to write a book too, go for it! I'm sure you'll have a great one. Welcome to HubPages.

    • Ania L profile image

      Ania L 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hmmm, you made me thinking. I've never thought about writing a self-help book but after reading your hub I became tempted. It's probably one of those things to try in life. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • HattieMattieMae profile image


      8 years ago from Europe

      Thank you Glenn, I appreciate the inspiring thoughts from you, yes that is my ultimate goals to write a book! One that is inspiring and helpful! Will have to look for yours because I do enjoy reading them as well! :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)