Self-Help Readers Want Solutions, not Problems

Cristen Iris

I work on a lot of self-help and personal and professional development books. One problem I see often is too much focus on the problem, forcing the reader to push through 1/4, 1/3, or more of a book before they get to what they came for.

What if you went to the doctor for a broken leg and she spent a lot of time explaining the mechanics of fractures and how nerves work, etc. rather than treat your pain and set the break? Or what if you could plainly see that you have a broken bone, but your doctor spent a lot of time setting up the argument for the diagnosis of a broken bone?

You don't need to convince your reader that they have a problem. The case you need to make is that the solution you're proposing is the solution your reader has been looking for and that if they do not act quickly and decisively what they stand to lose.

Set up the problem, of course. Segue to your solution, then get into it. Focus less on education and more on empowerment. Make the financial and time investment you're asking your reader to make worth it to them.


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Cristen Iris

developmental editor | book collaborator | author talent manager


Photo by Thomas Grams on Unsplash