Thursday, January 18, 2024

Self-Help Stumbling Blocks and How to Overcome Them, #3: Missing Pain Point

All too many self-help, psychology, and spirituality manuscripts end up in the dustbin because their authors never identified a clear pain point. Indeed, in my years working in non-fiction publishing, I’ve lost count of the number of self-help submissions that might as well have these titles:

Random Insights I’ve Collected Over My Years As a Therapis

•Astonishing Spiritual Experiences I Have Had

•I Know I Want to Write Something Mystical About Nature But I’m Not Sure What


Stumbling Block #3: Missing Pain Point

A book ends up vague and unfocused when you have a mountain of material that you’re determined to turn into a book—research, case studies, anecdotes, personal experiences—but you haven’t spent enough time defining your book’s pain point and accompanying promise. 

In general, readers reach for self-help, psychology, and spirituality books because they are trying to overcome an urgent problem in their lives. Your mountain of materials needs to help them solve that problem, or they'll pick up a different book.

Identifying Your Pain Point

You should be able to state your book's pain point in a single sentence: "My book will help/teach/show readers how to do/achieve/overcome/be/start/stop BLANK."

For example, My book will help readers conquer insomnia and sleep eight hours a night.

Although your book may cover a dozen or more facets of insomnia, from childhood trauma to caffeine addiction to light pollution, there is only a single overarching pain point, and that is the reader's difficulty falling and staying asleep.

Filtering For Your Pain Point

Let's say you've realized your book's pain point concerns insomnia and how to overcome it.

Now, sift through your mountain of materials, selecting only those stories, anecdotes, and research tidbits that directly and powerfully relate to solving this problem for your readers.

If it doesn't relate to solving the problem, it goes.

When you identify a clear pain point, then put every single word into the service of solving that pain point, you get a book which is clear, focused, compelling, and likely to have a meaningful impact on your readers' lives.

Are you writing a self-help/psychology or spirituality book? Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me, and we'll chat about ways to maximize your book's potential to change readers' lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment