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How to Write a Motivational Self-Help Book

Updated on June 9, 2017
Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok earned an Achievement Award in 2015 for his online articles. He also authored three books and writes professionally for business.

I’ll explain what is involved with designing and writing the content for your own self-help book.

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. Then to 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. You need to keep your potential readers in mind and have a clear idea of how you want to inspire them.


Begin by Organizing Your Thoughts

Organization is one of the most difficult things to get right. You need to present your thoughts in a meaningful, orderly, and logical way.

Logical order is so very important so that your reader can follow along with even the most complex of discussions.

When I discussed various books with people who had read them, I discovered that some people like to skip around. I found that they totally missed some important points. Therefore, it’s important to consider that when developing a logical flow of your thoughts. The reader may not always follow the same flow of your content.

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.

Share Your Life's Lessons

The most powerful thing you can do with your book is to talk about your own experiences. They are useful to your reader for two reasons:

  • Your reader may relate to your experiences.
  • Your experiences set an example to make your point clearly understood.

Five Easy Rules

• 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.

Other Considerations

Write Content Online First

One important thing that I wish I had done before completing my book was to write online first. At least I took the time to proofread a zillion times and rework my manuscript repeatedly.

I had many people read and comment on my book, each time guiding me to improving it as I kept making changes.

Even after I published it I came up with new ideas and better ways to say things. However, it was too late since once a book is published, it can’t be changed.

When you write articles online, you can usually change and update the content. I do that often with my online writing, but my book is a done deal. Therefore, consider writing online before you work on your book. There are a lot of benefits and you’ll learn a lot in the process as well.

The Benefit of Writing Online

The nice thing about writing online is that you can test the results. Some websites, such as HubPages, provide the venue to write on-line and allow reader comments.

These comments are useful to show you how well received your work is. It also helps provide better ways to express yourself, because the feedback will indicate how well readers understand what was written. You’ll know if you did a good job at communicating.

Online publishing also includes the ability to get analytics from Google. These stats give a good indication of how useful your written material is to your readers. From this alone 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.

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.

You don't get feedback with a printed book. Reader feedback in comments, and reports showing statistics of reader involvement, both help tremendously.

How to Go from Online Writing to Book Publishing

When you write your own book you can test the water, so to speak, by writing articles of 500 to 1000 words about various thoughts you might later use in your book.

After you have written a number of articles and feel you have discovered what is useful to your readers and what’s not, you can take it to the next step and create a book.

There are many ways to get published. You can pay a publisher to do most of the work for you (if they accept your manuscript), or you can self-publish and get it listed on bookseller sites such as Amazon.

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 you yourself had learned from your own examples.

  1. Introduce the issue.
  2. Make your point.
  3. Give examples.
  4. Pull it Together.

If you're thinking of writing a self-help book, take advantage of writing small segments online before attempting to put it into book form. Believe me, I wish I had done it that way. I’ve learned so much from writing online. I would say it empowers anyone who is intending to write a book.

Motivational Book Topics

There are a lot of things one can write about to provide motivation for others. If you have a special topic that you know well, you should consider sharing your knowledge.

What self-help topic do you plan to write?

See results

Which Topic Should I Choose?

The most important thing is to focus on the subject of your expertise for your inspirational book topic. This is where you were successful and this is where you can share useful information for others.

Remember that when you write your inspirational self-help book, you can help the reader relate to your discussion by referring to your own experiences. This will help make your point more clearly understood.

Put your best effort into creating a logical progression that builds on itself from the beginning to the end. If you do that, you'll have a book that is beneficial to your many readers.

© 2011 Glenn Stok


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    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 5 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

      Jo_Goldsmith11 5 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 image

      Glenn Stok 5 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 5 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

      HattieMattieMae 6 years ago from Limburg, Netherlands

      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! :)