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Resources for Writers

How To Write A Self Help Book That Sells by Donna Kennedy

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Article by Donna Kennedy ©.
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In recent years self-help books have become extremely popular. In fact at the time of writing a search for the words ‘self help’ generated a staggering 694,941 results on Amazon.com. What does this tell us? Well, firstly it tells us that people are looking for help, but importantly it tells us that people are, more than ever, looking to books as a source of that help. If you are considering writing a self-help book, there is certainly a market for it. The key is to make your book the self-help book that people want to buy!

Here are some tips that will help you stand out from the crowd:

1) Be real.

You don’t have to be an expert or be academically intelligent or qualified to write a self-help book (although being ‘the’ person to write the book is essential when it comes to getting it published). The best self help books are written by people who have drawn on their own experiences and the experiences of others. Write what you know about and write about a topic you are comfortable with, so that, if asked you can speak about it with confidence. Inspire through experience.

2) Be Accurate.

If you are giving facts outside of your experience, make sure that you do accurate research so that everything you say is true, correct and current. Statistics and findings should be supported by relevant sources. 3) Speak to the reader, not at them. Instead of dictating to your reader or trying to impress them with how much you know, create rapport with them. Allow them to connect with you – they will be much more receptive to your information. You can do this easily by using a conversational writing style, similar to how you would talk to someone over a cup of coffee. Think of your reader as a friend seeking advice.

4) Keep it simple and get to the point.

Remember, if your reader needs help you need to make your information easy to receive and easy to understand. People don’t want to trawl through 300 pages of jargon to get answers. They want answers quickly. Keep your information simple, concise, and clear.

donna_kennedy140x2105) Make sure your content is fresh and different.

Put a new spin on what already exists. If there are many books written on a specific topic, it means that there is a big market for it. Look at what is selling most and make it current and more appealing.

6) Motivate.

Although this may seem obvious, you would be amazed at how many self-help books aren’t motivating. Books that just explain but don’t actually give a How-To can leave a reader deflated. Make sure your book has a positive uplifting impact and gives the how-to experience. Ask yourself if the book would motivate you, if you were to read it. Would your content encourage you to improve your life?

7) Be Practical.

Empower your reader by giving them simple practical exercises to do. Two or three is enough. The exercises should be engaging, practical and life enhancing.

8) Give Solutions.

When someone buys a book they usually do so because the title resonates with them. They assume that the title will reflect the content and that the content will enlighten them in some way. In other words, they expect you to answer the questions they have in their head before they start reading your book. As such, you would do well to pre-empt what questions the reader might want answered and satisfy them by giving them that information. As a general rule, before you even start writing content, write down ten things your reader might want to know about the topic and create your chapters around those questions.

9) Deliver Quality.

If a reader invests their valuable time and money into you by buying your book, the least you should do is give them quality content. The information you give them should apply to real life situations, not just work in theory. Have you used the information yourself and got results? Have you seen others use your information and got results? If you haven’t, try it out first and make sure what you recommend works. Think of the bigger picture – you may want your reader to buy another of your books down the line. Make the first one so good that they will line up to buy your next one.

10) Add Value.

When I write a book, I like to give my readers access to material that will further enhance their experience of reading my book. As such I give free complimentary products such as, CDs, DVDs, webinar coaching etc. I suggest you do the same. You can see exactly how and why I do this my visiting my website http://www.donnakennedy.com Your aim as an author should be to give your reader such a good experience that they talk positively about you and want to buy your next book. Give them your best, deliver it correctly, and they will do the selling for you!

To your success!

(c) Donna Kennedy

In her new book Born to be Beautiful, author and motivational speaker Donna Kennedy demonstrates to women that it is possible to maintain the body you want, both during and after pregnancy. Kennedy has developed her own ‘Born to be Beautiful’ pregnancy plan, which includes a simply-broken down nutrition guide, an exercise plan, goal templates tailored for the reader and Donna’s own recipes.

Kennedy deftly removes the pressure placed on expecting and new mothers to be ‘supermum’ and replaces it with strategies that keep babies healthy – without sacrificing the physical and emotional needs of the mother. Explaining the science behind a variety of pregnancy topics, her plan includes explanations not only for the changes women face in pregnancy, but also for the strategies in coping with them. Kennedy’s background as a psychologist and motivational speaker blend together to provide a relentlessly encouraging guidance for expecting and new mothers.

Born to be Beautiful is in bookshops now or pick up your copy online here.


Donna Kennedy was born in Co. Mayo, Ireland. Mother to baby Ashton, she is a professional motivational speaker, having set up her own business practise aged twenty three. She regularly features in national and international media as an expert in the areas of life enhancement and business development. She has given talks and seminars to thousands of people and companies worldwide and her work has been recognised and cited in international journals by leading organisations.