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A self-help author is a professional who writes books that teach readers how to improve various aspects of their personal lives. Self-help topics include such topics as how to deal with extreme anger, cope with anxiety, or make a marriage relationship work. Writers in this industry essentially gather information about their chosen topics and put together detailed guides that offer tips regarding how to deal with these topics.
One important duty of a self-help author is to complete research on the self-help topic on which he or she plans to write. For example, a self-help author who wants to write about how to deal with depression or low self-esteem completes interviews with field experts such as psychologists, therapists, and other self-esteem trainers. The writer can also interview individuals who have struggled with personal problems and overcame them with professional assistance. Looking up findings from relevant research studies in trade journals or in news articles is also part of the job description of a self-help author. Authors in this field additionally write down their own experiences and observations to include in their self-help books.
Actually writing the book is a major task that self-help authors perform. To do this, he or she puts together a written outline explaining how many chapters or sections the book will contain and the topic for each. For instance, a self-esteem book could be broken down into separate chapters that address comparing oneself to others and physical image insecurities. The outline essentially is a detailed blueprint of how the content of the final copy of the book will look.
A writer of self-help books edits and revises the self-help books he or she writes as well. Editing involves reading through the book manuscript and spotting errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. The author at this point also re-reads sentences, phrases, and paragraphs to determine if rewording and reorganizing parts of the book will make a point more clear. Reading the book from the vantage point of a new reader will ensure that the content is written for the appropriate target audience. In addition, self-help authors actually hire professional proofreaders and copy editors to offer suggestions on how to improve the communication of the content.
Yet another critical duty that a self-help author performs includes finding a company to publish the book. The writer either chooses to self-publish the book or to submit the manuscript to a major publishing company of nonfiction books, following the company’s guidelines. For instance, some publishing companies require authors to submit a manuscript that is typed in a particular font and to be formatted a specific way. Getting the manuscript published for the masses to read is the chief goal of a self-help author.