Trends in Self Help Books
What types of book are trending in the genre?
The Self Help genre is flourishing at the moment. Anxiety of numerous kinds is prevalent in every corner of society and many are looking for advice on how to cope. Writers and authors who want to capitalise on this trend should be prepared to do a lot of research to ensure that they are giving their readers factual and useful information. But it can also be helpful to know what is popular in the genre and what people are actively looking for. Here are the top three trends in the best selling Self Help books.
First up, advice based on religious practises. There are lots of books currently on sale offering advice from people who have studied how particular religions may help an individual with anxiety or other issues. These can usually be divided between two kinds, those that are very religious in their focus and emphasise faith, and those that are more secular and focus instead on the habits and traditions that can be useful for those with mental health problems. These books are often written with the author posed as a mentor in a position of knowledge over the reader. There are usually a lot of good quotes that can be used give insight when someone is struggling or which can be turned into personal mantras. The books that are less based on faith and instead look at the habits and traditions that may be helpful to people tend to borrow quotes and ideas from many different places. Do be careful when reading or writing books like this, one of the most often repeated complaints in the reviews is that quotes are unoriginal and are taken from other sources without citation.
Secondly, there are a lot of books currently doing well in the Self Help genre which are autobiographical. This can come in a variety of styles. One premise which seems particularly popular at the moment is the, "I went through hell and this is what I learned" premise. Different people have different ideas of what hell is, of course, so you will have ex-soldiers describing how they recovered after their time in the army, or people who have become bankrupt and have built themselves up once more to a comfortable income. There are as many different routes through these particular hells as there are hells to get through. It can mean that people have a chance to find one that fits their circumstances more accurately, however, there is also evidence to suggest that people actively look for authors they can feel connected to, rather than events that align with their own lives. So even if you do not have a story that mirrors a vast slice of the world, if you appear to be an empathetic character then that can also work in your favour.
Finally, the third type of Self Help book doing especially well at the moment is the kind in which the reader is told to abandon any attempts at fitting in and instead choosing to live the life that they want. Several of the books put forward the premise that secretly everyone is pretending to be someone they are not and that the world would be a far better place if everyone dropped those acts and simply acted in ways that made them happy. This also stretches into books about decor, home improvement, and cooking. The reader is urged to stop acting in ways that are performance-based and instead be truthful to what one wants. By acting as such the reader can surround themselves in an environment that will make them happier.
These three themes are all popular and incorporate numerous books and even series of books into them. There is also a lot of mixing between these themes, where writers have incorporated elements from more than one style into a single book. This shows that there are many, many options for writers and that experimentation is possible. If you are choosing to write in this genre, good luck! It's one with a lot of readers where there is always room for new ideas. Despite this, however, once a book is well known it can last in this genre for ages. How many books have you heard being recommended again and again?