Writing a Self-Help Book? Read This First…

Picture yourself on a mountaintop. As you look across the valley, you notice a thick patch of woods in the distance. Your reader is somewhere in those woods.  They’re entangled in the symptoms of the problem you hope to help them solve. If you try to take them directly from there to the mountaintop, they won’t “get it.”

This is a common mistake smart people make when writing a self-help book. They have incredible insights and ideas and they want to write them down and share them with others. But writing a book isn’t just about getting your idea on paper. It’s about getting your idea into your reader’s mind. There’s a very good reason so many self-help authors fail to do this.

We live in the most information-saturated society in history. More information is published in a week than was created during the thousands of years between the invention of writing and the invention of the internet. Your reader is like a tiny cork bobbing in an ocean of white noise. Their brain has no choice but to adapt.

Modern neuroscientists have discovered that the human brain is literally rewiring itself to do three things:

  1. Tune out every 10 to 15 seconds and look for something new to read, watch or listen to.
  2. Quickly scan long articles, books or blogs, looking only for snippets of relevant content.
  3. Quickly forget any information which it knows to be readily available online.

Even if they read your book, there’s no guarantee they’ll even remember it in a month. If you want to make a meaningful and lasting impression, your book needs to get your idea into your reader’s mind and make it stick. I’m 99% confident that I can help you do this better than any ghostwriter out there.

My name is Seth Czerepak. I’m a ghostwriter who specializes in the self-help (aka “personal development”) niche.  If you’re an author, speaker, coach, teacher, trainer or entrepreneur who has a great story or personal success philosophy to share, here’s what you need to know…

3 Things Your Self-Help Book Must Do

The self-help niche is crammed with repackaged ideas—some great, others not. To avoid being lost in the crowd, your book needs to…

#1: Introduce a UNIQUE System or Idea

The word “unique,” is tossed around way to lightly these days.  In my experience, most “unique” ideas only seem unique to the person who came up with them. Here are a few examples of truly unique self-help ideas, most of which produced best-selling books:

  • Richard Bandler’s concept of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP).
  • Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  • Robert Kiyosaki’s Cash Flow Quadrants.
  • Grant Cardone’s 10x Rule.

These ideas are based on a core system or philosophy so unique, their authors (or their survivors) could literally sue you if you tried to repackage them. You should be able to say the same thing about your idea—otherwise, it’s not unique.

#2: Engage Your Reader’s EMOTIONS

First, read this example…

EXAMPLE #1:

Last night, a 64-year-old man was shot dead in front of the Clean and Dry laundromat on 42nd Street. He was headed home Sunday night when a 22-year-old drug dealer mistook him for a delinquent debtor. The victim, Harold Harris, was shot three times in the chest and died on his way to the hospital. Harris left four children, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandson.

Now, pay attention to your breathing, heart rate and emotions as you read this version…

EXAMPLE #2:

Last night, Harold Harris, a 64-year-old cobbler from Mobile Alabama, was shot dead in front of the Clean and Dry laundromat on 42nd Street.  Harold had just finished washing aprons for his wife, Martha, when a 22-year-old drug dealer mistook him for a delinquent debtor. “He wasn’t even supposed to be there,” said Harry’s daughter, Susan, the first to get the call from the hospital, “But Mama had a bad ankle. She was at home soaking in some Epsom salt so she could make her shift at the hotel tomorrow.” Susan had left the hospital with Harold’s broken wire-rimmed glasses and his leather keychain which the police had recovered from the sidewalk. The keychain was an anniversary gift, and read “Harry, Drive Home Safe to Me – Love, Martha 1973.” Harold enjoyed playing the piano at his church and taking pictures for their monthly bulletin. Every Tuesday, he and his family met at the Head Start Grill at 8 AM. Harry loved the chocolate chip pancakes with two slices of crispy bacon and an English muffin. His wife of 45 years was unavailable for comment, but his eight-year-old grandson, Stevie, spoke for the whole family, “We’re planting a tree and headstone in the backyard for Granpopper Saturday. That way, we keep him at home where he belongs.”

Notice the difference? I won’t bore you with the details of the technique I used here. My point is, emotionally impactful writing is the result of the application of sound principles. I have specialized training and experience in applying these principles so that your story engages your reader’s emotions.

#3: READER Focused, Not Expert Focused

This is easily the most important point. It’s also the most commonly neglected by self-help authors—and the smarter you are, the more likely you are to make this mistake. When a reader first picks up your book, you have ten seconds, tops, to grab and hold their attention for another ten seconds. Then, you’ve got another 20 to 30 seconds to “sell” them on why they should keep reading.

Most self-help authors fail to do this because they approach the subject from their expert perspective instead of from the reader’s perspective. Remember, you’re on the mountaintop. You see the entire landscape. But your reader is lost in the thick of the trees and underbrush.

Your job is to meet them in the woods, lead them out into the open valley, and across it until they reach the root of the mountain. Then, you lead them up the mountain one step at a time. By the time they get to the top, they should be able to see as far as you can see. This is how books become life-changing catalysts for their readers.

Bottom line, self-help books solve problems. If you’re writing one, it means you’re an expert in the problem and in how to solve it. But your reader isn’t, and you must remember the long and complicated series of “aha” moments that led you from being a novice to being the expert you are now.

Our job is to take your reader on this journey in 400 pages or less. This is not easy, and that’s why so many self-help books barely get their readers out of the woods.

Again, writing a book isn’t just about getting your idea on paper. It’s about getting your idea into your reader’s mind.  To do this, you must introduce a truly unique idea, engage their emotions and slowly introduce them to the idea starting from their level of awareness.

Here’s How We Would Work Together…

Before we hop on the phone and talk about your project, let me address the four most common questions my new clients have…

#1: WHAT TOPICS DO YOU WRITE ABOUT?

  • Spiritual growth.
  • Personal finance.
  • Addiction recovery.
  • Social development.
  • Sales and marketing.
  • Trading and Investing.
  • Leadership/Management.
  • Neuro-linguistic Programming.
  • Sex and Relationships.

If you don’t see your topic on this list, message me on LinkedIn or message me on Twitter and let me know what you have in mind.

#2: WHAT ARE YOUR RATES?

  • 125 to 150-page book—$5,000.
  • 250 to 300-page book—$10,000.
  • 300 to 500-page book—$15,000.

My editing rates are between .03 and .05 per word depending on the amount of editing required. I do NOT edit merely for typos and grammatical errors. You can hire any college English major for that. Authors hire me when they’ve written a good book, but feel like it’s not quite hitting the mark in terms of content and delivery. If you’ve written a book that’s been on the market for a while, but it’s not getting the traction you want, believe me, you need my editing services.

I also ghostwrite blogs, articles, and newsletters at an average of $200 to $500 per piece.

#3: HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?

Here are the average time frames I’m used to working with:

  • 125 to 150-page book—3 to 4 months.
  • 250 to 300-page book—3 to 6 months.
  • 300 to 500-page book—6 to 12 months.

Blogs, articles or newsletters take five to ten business days. If you need something faster, I’m willing to discuss quicker delivery in exchange for a priority rate. If our timeline stretches by a few weeks or months, that’s fine.  My only “must have” criterion for large projects is that we keep things moving.

#4: WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?

If you’re ready to start your project, let’s set up a phone meeting. Just message me on LinkedIn or message me on Twitter with three or four times when you’re available over the next three business days. You can also subscribe to me on Youtube or on this site if you prefer to get to know me from afar for now.

One last thing…

The self-help niche is all I write about. It’s all I read about. It’s practically all I think about and it’s been the driving passion of my life since 1996. I have personally coached or worked with nearly 3,000 entrepreneurs and self-help enthusiasts.  There’s nothing in this world I understand better than how to write for this audience.

By the way, thank you for taking the time to read this. It shows me you’re serious about your project. Whether we work together or not, I hope I’ve helped you get a little closer to the mountaintop.

Best,