How to Make and Market a Self-Help Book

Woman meditating while reading a self-help book

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Are you ready to share your insights and help others by publishing a self-help book? It’s a noble pursuit, and potentially lucrative, as well — self-help books generate hundreds of millions of dollars in sales each year in the United States alone. So, let’s get into how to make a self help book.

Writing your self-help book

To publish and market your self-help book, you’ll obviously need to write it first. Perhaps more than with most other genres, there is a strategy to writing a self-help book. Here are six steps you’ll want to follow when writing yours.

Step 1: Find your niche

This is true for any great book, but finding your niche is crucial when creating a self-help book. With so many topics and subgenres within the self-help genre, identifying a specific niche helps you connect with a targeted audience and establish yourself as an authority.

Research shows that self-help books covering specific niches can resonate deeply with readers. For example, best-selling self-help author Jen Sincero found her niche by focusing on personal finance and empowerment. Her nonfiction book, You Are a Badass at Making Money, struck a chord with readers seeking financial guidance and personal development.

So, not only do you need to home in on the subject you’re knowledgeable about, you need to present it in a unique and engaging manner.

Step 2: Define your target audience

The second step in how to market a self help book is to know your target audience. Identify the specific group of people who would benefit from your book. Understand their demographics, interests, and challenges to tailor your book marketing message and efforts. It’s best to be specific when targeting your audience. Trying to appeal to everyone means you’ll appeal to no one, so go after specific audiences like single moms, students with anxiety, hobbyists with disabilities, etc.

Step 3: Develop a compelling title

Self-help books need a great title if they’re going to make a splash. Today it’s very common to use colloquial expressions or even curse words in titles, like You Are a Badass at Making Money or The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Of course, you don’t need to be provocative or obscene to get attention, but choose a title that is clear, catchy, and communicates the value proposition of your book.

Step 4: Outline the contents

Once you have identified your niche and topic, it’s essential to outline the contents of your self-improvement book. A well-structured outline provides a roadmap for your writing process and ensures a cohesive flow of ideas.

Start by brainstorming the main themes and concepts you want to cover. Break them down into chapters or sections, considering the logical progression of information. Organize your content to best communicate the core tenets and help your reader to grasp the concepts more easily.

Step 5: Include key takeaways

One distinguishing factor of a self-help book is the inclusion of key takeaways. Much like with a textbook, key takeaways include actionable advice or insights that readers can implement in their lives to achieve the goals of your text.

Consider the most valuable lessons you want the reader to gain from each chapter of your book. These takeaways should be clear, concise, and easily applicable to everyday life. Present them in a way that prompts readers to reflect on their own experiences and motivates them to take action. Ideally, each chapter of your book should end with at least one key takeaway.

Step 6: Develop your unique voice

Developing your unique voice as a writer will help you stand out in the crowded self-help marketplace. Your voice is a reflection of your content, personality, and experiences and plays a significant role in engaging readers and building a connection with them. You don’t want your book to read like it was written by ChatGPT.

Infuse your writing with authenticity and vulnerability. Share personal stories, anecdotes, and insights that make your book relatable and inspiring. Remember, readers are looking for guidance from someone they can trust and relate to.

Publishing your book

Whether it’s traditional publishing or self-publishing, you’ll have some steps to cover after you’ve finished your self-help manuscript.

Step 1: Create an eye-catching book cover

The initial impression of your book cover holds significant appeal for prospective readers. Invest in a professionally designed book cover that reflects the essence of your book and captivates your target audience. A visually appealing cover can significantly impact your book’s sales.

You absolutely do not want to handle this on your own. Hire a pro to get pro results.

Step 2: Write compelling book descriptions

This is important, not just for the back cover copy but also for your book metadata. Be sure to craft compelling and persuasive book descriptions that entice readers to learn more. Highlight the benefits and unique aspects of your book. Use persuasive language and create a sense of urgency to encourage readers to make the purchase. Do some keyword research and include those words in your copy.

Marketing strategies to sell your self-help book

six months to publishingWriting and publishing an authoritative self-help book is only half the battle. You’re going to need to properly use book marketing and publicity if you want to build awareness, reach your target audience, and drive book sales.

Here are some strategies to effectively market and promote your self-help book:

  1. Create a professional author platform. Establish an author platform, website, or blog to showcase your expertise, provide resources, and engage with your readers. Leverage social media platforms to connect with your audience, share your content, and foster a vibrant community.
  2. Leverage book reviews and endorsements. Seek reviews from influential reviewers, bloggers, or experts in the self-help field. Positive endorsements can boost credibility and encourage readers to purchase your book.
  3. Engage in content marketing. Create relevant content that aligns with the themes of your book. Write guest articles for blogs, offer insights through podcast interviews, or create engaging videos to attract and inform your target audience.
  4. Use email marketing. Make a list of interested readers’ email addresses and send out occasional newsletters to keep them up-to-date on your book, events, and unique content. Offer freebies or discounts to incentivize subscriptions.
  5. Organize book readings and book signing events. Engage in public speaking and book signing events to generate buzz and attract media attention. Consider hosting a virtual event or a panel discussion with experts related to your book’s topic.
  6. Leverage social media advertising. Use targeted advertising on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to reach a wider audience.
  7. Seek media coverage. Prepare a press release highlighting the unique aspects of your book and send it to local newspapers, radio stations, podcasts, and relevant online publications. Engage with journalists and influencers to secure interviews or guest appearances.
  8. Promote giveaways or contests. Run giveaways on social media platforms or collaborate with influencers to offer free copies of your book or other related merchandise. Contests and giveaways can create excitement and generate word-of-mouth promotion.

Marketing and promoting a self-help book is an ongoing process. Continuously engage with your audience, gather feedback, and adapt your strategies based on what works best. Building a strong author brand and leveraging complementary marketing channels will increase your book’s visibility and enhance its chances of success.

Take action and share your insights with the world through your self-help book. Your words have the potential to inspire, guide, and transform lives.

Ready to publish a self-help book?

BookBaby can help you navigate the competitive world of self-help book publishing with our self-publishing packages and promotional services. Call us at 1-877-961-6878 or visit us online at

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