10 Tips for Writing a Self-Help Book

Do you want to write your own self-help book? Here are 10 tips you have to know before writing a self-help book.

I know for a fact that these tips work. Why? Because I have used these 10 tips to write and publish my own self-help book, Feeling Good: The Secret To Manifesting.

I strongly believe that everyone has a story to tell and lessons to share.

Self-help books are the perfect platform to share what you’ve learned with the rest of the world. 

There’s no satisfaction greater than using your personal experiences to transform the lives of others.

If you’re ready to put your pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), use these 10 tips for writing a self-help book to get started.

1. Pick One Key Message

girl on laptop

The first tip for writing a self-help book is to pick one key message that you want your reader to know after reading your book.

The self-help genre is intended to allow the reader to learn something on their own.

So think from the perspective of a reader and ask yourself, “Why should I read this book? What can I get out of it? What’s in it for me?”

The content of your book should progressively build on one key message so that the reader has a strong grasp of it by the time they finish your book.

Of course, you can insert stories and other related topics in the book, but they should all tie back to your core message.

If your book covers multiple topics at once, you risk losing your readers halfway through the book.

2. Write An Outline

man reading

The second tip for writing a self-help book is to write an outline before you write the manuscript.

Your outline should cover all the major topics organized by chapters as well as the key takeaway in each chapter.

Your outline will make or break your book. Why? Because it acts as the foundation for the rest of your book.

Once you have created a good outline, you can basically fill in the blanks with content and the book basically writes itself.

Whenever you feel lost or stuck in the writing process (which happens all the time to even the most prolific writers out there), your outline will serve as your map to guide you back on track.

3. Choose A Compelling Title and Subtitle

girl writing

The third tip for writing a self-help book is to choose a compelling title and subtitle.

The title should be short and memorable because that’s the first thing everyone looks at when book shopping. You’ll want to come up with something that grabs the reader’s attention.

The subtitle should be a concise sentence that aims to convince the readers on why they should read your book.

Here’s what I landed on for the title and subtitle for my book, Feeling Good: The Secret To Manifesting.

Here are a few more books with titles and subtitles that are compelling and convincing.

4. Use Personal Stories

Couple walking on street with coffee cups

The fourth tip for writing a self-help book is to use personal stories and experiences.

Some self-help books fall into the trap of being too boring because it is too focused on the science and research behind the lesson.

While it’s important to provide the readers with evidence to show support for your points, it’s even more important to keep your readers’ attention with relatable stories throughout the book.

Your stories can be funny or they can be raw and emotional. Readers want to get to know the real you.

And plus, sometimes a simple story can illustrate a point far better than a scientific study.

My favorite self-help books are the ones that take me through a journey through the author’s lens. Check out the top 21 self-help books to read this year.

5. Less Is More

girl thinking

The fifth tip for writing a self-help book is to remember that sometimes less is more when it comes to the word count.

The average word count for a self-help book ranges between 30,000 to 70,000 words, which means an average of 50,000 words.

But don’t let this word count limit your book. You should write as little or as much as you need to convey your key message to your reader.

Some topics will require more words and examples to be fully explained, while other topics can be summed up in a short 2-hour read.

Don’t feel pressured to add fluff to your book just to make it longer.

6. Make Your Tips Actionable

woman sitting on a chair thinking

The sixth tip for writing a self-help book is to make your tips actionable.

Self-help book readers are looking for knowledge that they can learn and apply on their own.

So don’t make your tips too complicated.

The easier they are to follow, the more likely they will be actually used and applied.

This is the key to creating real transformation in your readers’ lives.

7. Channel Your Inspiration

man meditating

The seventh tip for writing a self-help book is to channel your source of inspiration.

There are so many creative ideas beyond the physical realm that are waiting to be accessed by you.

When I was reading my book, I channeled the creative wisdom from the Universe so I was able to simply let the words flow onto the page.

So channel the God of your own understanding (you can call it the Universe, God, or simply your intuition) and let the creative force move through you.

During my writing process, I used a lot of positive affirmations like these I Am Affirmations and Prayers to the Universe to keep the positive momentum going so that I can keep my creative channel open.

8. Take A Break From The Manuscript

girl dancing in front of a mirror

The eighth tip for writing a self-help book is to take a break from the manuscript every once in a while.

Writers like to refer to this as “letting the manuscript breathe”.

If you’re experiencing intense writer’s block or you’re struggling to write a particular chapter, that’s a sign for you to take a break from your manuscript and let it breathe.

Go do something that you enjoy like going for a walk, having a snack, or watching your favorite show. Anything to take your mind off the book.

You will feel more energized and invigorated the next time you sit down to write again. 

And who knows? You just might find the inspiration that you need to write your book during your break from the manuscript.

9. Highlight Your Products or Services

women talking

The ninth tip for writing a self-help book is to highlight your products or services in your book.

If you’re looking to write a self-help book, you’re probably already a teacher or expert in your field.

This means you probably have other offerings such as online courses, seminars, or coaching services.

Well, your book is the best place to let your readers know about your products and services.

If they read your book and love it, they will definitely want to come to you for more!

Weave your products and services into your personal stories and experiences.

Remember that you are offering additional resources to help the readers transform their lives.

10. Start Without A Publisher

woman writing

The final tip for writing a self-help book is to start writing now—even if you don’t have a publisher yet.

It’s incredibly easy to self-publish your book nowadays using self-publishing services such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or Apple Books For Authors.

Yet some people refuse to write a book without a publisher and so they end up taking their “book” to the grave.

Ask yourself this question and be honest with your answer, “What is your goal for writing this book?”

Are you in it for the money? Or do you genuinely want to help others (even just one person) transform their lives?

If you answered yes to the latter, then start writing your book today!

Everyone has a message to share that will be appreciated by someone else.

As long as your message is backed by service and inspiration, you will find your tribe.

There’s a student for every teacher, and there’s a teacher for every student.⁠

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