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How to Write a Motivational Self-Help Book

Updated on September 21, 2016
Glenn Stok profile image

Besides writing articles with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015, Glenn Stok authored three books and writes professionally for business.

You can apply your own life experience to help others benefit by writing a book about it. I'll show you how I did it.

Are you the type of person who loves to help others and motivate them to be successful? If so, then you should write a self-help book to show how to apply your own methods.

The most important thing is to encourage your reader to follow though with the lessons you've learned. You need to keep the reader's attention as you explain things leading up to making your point. How is this done?

Notice how I already made a commitment by telling you what to expect. When you do that you'll have your reader focused on learning from you, but you need to be true to your word. Stay focused yourself as you write your words.

The best way to have a focus is to follow a theme. This is how to make sense out of complicated issues and help the reader understand. In addition, you need to conclude with a meaningful outcome that relates to what you promised your reader.

Writing a self-help book is somewhat like writing a novel. That’s how I organized it when I wrote mine.

Organize Your Thoughts

• 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.

• 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.

Accept Constructive Criticism

When you publish your own book you need to be willing to do much of the work on your own. There is no publisher to give you constructive criticism. When I worked on my book, I had a couple of psychologists proofread it; in addition to having several friends check it too.

I feel that anyone who is good at writing and has learned something important from their own life experiences can help others benefit by writing a book on the subject.

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.

Inspirational 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.

Are you considering doing it?

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.

No matter what the subject area, remember to explain how you motivated yourself and stay focused on that task. That's what the reader is looking for and you want to deliver on that need with your book.

© 2011 Glenn Stok


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    • 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! :)

    • profile image

      Jill 5 years ago

      Hey Glenn,

      I as well am from Long Island. I read the book "The Secret" about four years ago and it has become my religion! lol When i speak about it through my own experiences to friends and family they always are so intrigued and tell me I should write my own book on my experiences from using it. Also, if I did write the book it would be following the same philosophy of the secret but in my own words and putting my own spin on it. I am a very deep and complex thinker and am hoping that my positive thoughts on life may help others. My problem is organizing it! My thoughts are everywhere and it is hard for me to compile them in an organized manner....any suggestions? Thanks, Jill

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY


      I can tell you what I do. Hopefully that will help. I often come up with random thoughts and ideas to write about. I make a point to type them into files on my computer for future use, or into my iPod Touch if I have it handy. If nothing else, I jot them down so I don't forget them.

      Then when I'm ready to write, I look over my notes and put them into a logical order. I use much of the text from my notes and elaborate further.

      Proofreading is a big part of the process. I usually end up moving sections of text around when I realize a different logical arrangement makes more sense to the reader. Proofread every time you think you are done. Then do it again. It keeps getting better. Eventually you will feel like you have a finished product ready to publish.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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

      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.

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