There is a word that stuck in our mind while we were reading the book Affable In Adversity; an incredibly honest and funny account of bereavement. The word was sonder. We’d never heard of it before, and we couldn’t find it in the dictionary. Thank god for the internet, right. Sonder is the recognition that each passerby has a life as complex and vivid as your own. It’s beautiful.
We all have our challenges in life, those ones that no one else can see, the ones that change our lives forever, the ones that hold us to the ground until we are able to find the strength to fight back. Once we have fought back, well, then comes the urge to help others and that usually means writing a self-help book.
Here’s how to get it right:
Stay On Point
There is nothing worse than picking up a self-help book that starts off grabbing you by the soul and reaching into your heart, only to quickly fizzle out and starting chatting nonsense. So remember what the point of your book is and know how to stay on topic from the very first word to the very last. It doesn’t matter if you are writing about body transformation or divorce, you have to create an outline. It means knowing what each chapter is going to be about and what each chapter hopes to address. This will help you to stay on track and stay organized. It will also help you set writing milestones for which to meet. It’s a win-win situation.
Know Your Voice
When writing a self-help book, you will want to know what voice to use. This can be a tricky thing to get your head around, but it will ultimately be the thing that attracts an audience to your book and not someone else’s. Perhaps you want to keep to the facts and write a self-help book that is to the point and as far from wishy-washy as possible. Maybe you want to put a humorous twist on it knowing that this may be the thing that helps others recover, that’s what the author of Affable In Adversity did. He used funny anecdotes and phrases alongside poignant statements in contrast in a sentence, which made you feel more comfortable reading about death. You could decide to become a voice of expertise on your subject and do tons of research and conduct loads of interviews. Whatever it is, know your path from the beginning.
Research The Other Horses
The reason you need to check out the other competition is simple; you will need to know what will make your book stand out on a crowded shelf in a busy bookstore. So do all the research you can on this, know what your competitors are saying and how they are marketing themselves, and then make sure you are saying something unique and something different. That is not only going to help you in terms of the bookshelf, it is also going to be what helps you stay out of the reject pile on a literary agent’s desk. You need to offer something that your competitors don’t. Remember that.