How To Find Your Vital Vocation: A Practical Guide To Discovering Your Career Purpose And Getting A Job You Love, which I published last month, is my first self-help book and won’t be my last. If you want to write a self-help book, it’s probably because you have some experience you’d like to share with the world, or a service you’d like to showcase in book form. Writing a self-help book is a fun and rewarding way of getting your expert knowledge out there, and the process has never been easier. Here’s how to get started:
1. Pick your niche and your book topic.
To make sure your audience can find your book, you have to target it to the people who really need it – your niche market. Are you writing for men or women, younger or older people, folks who are employed or unemployed? Perhaps your niche is very specific and you’re going to write a self-help book to help female police officers to develop their management skills so that they can move up the career ladder – if so, your niche is women police officers who want to develop their management skills so that they can move up the career ladder.
A niche can be broad or narrow, but it must be defined up front – writing a book for “everybody” is likely to create a rambling, untargetted book that generates few sales. The key to finding your niche is that it’s not “out there” it’s “in here” – you are your niche. If you’ve walked the path, you’re writing for others who are on the path behind you, or who haven’t even started onto it yet. So – who were you before you learned about what you’re going to write about? There’s your niche!
2. Solve your ideal reader’s problem.
Don’t be daunted by the thought of writing to a large audience. Write a self-help book for one single person – the person who most needs it. Following on from the example above, imagine one female police officer who loves her work but wants more; who knows she needs to get some management experience so she can move on, but just doesn’t know where to start. See her in your mind’s eye? Good. Write for her.
3. Choose your keyword-rich title and subtitle.
Increasingly, new self-help books are first found online – so it’s important to make your title easy to find. Make sure the title and subtitle include plenty of keywords that are important to your niche market – the kind of keywords they’ll be searching for.
How To Find Your Vital Vocation: A Practical Guide To Discovering Your Career Purpose And Getting A Job You Love may not be the snappiest title in the world – but it’s keyword-rich, instead. Hidden in that title are the keywords and phrases “purpose”, “career”, “job”, “vocation”, “job you love”, “career you love”, “finding a job”, “getting a job”, “discovering your purpose”, “find your purpose”, “how to find a job” – and quite a few more.
4. Include some interactive elements.
Readers of self-help books are looking for practical solutions to their problems, and many of them will want to feel that they’re able to make progress soon after starting the book. Don’t make them wade through lots of reading being passive recipients; involve them in the book as soon as you can.
In How To Find Your Vital Vocation, I introduce interactive written exercises in the book’s introduction, and clusters of self-coaching questions starting in chapter one.
5. Don’t wait for permission to get published!
I chose the self-publishing route because I wanted to get my work out into the world as soon as possible. I got professional help with editing and cover design and have published the eBook through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, and the paperback courtesy of Amazon’s Createspace).
As an indie author, I didn’t have to wait for an agent or publisher to “approve of” my book or to give me permission to become published. I took that leap myself, and now my book is available worldwide. The tools available to prospective authors today are amazing, and the self-publishing opportunities endless. Make the most of them.
So – what will you write a self-help book about?
BONUS MATERIAL: Be sure to check out my series of articles on self-publishing, starting with How to Self-Publish Your First Book (Part 1): Planning, Platform…and a Promise Fulfilled