Relationships are, well, relatable. Everyone has relationships of some kind, whether it’s platonic, familial, or romantic. And while everyone has experience with relationships of some kind, not all of that experience is good.
Or accomplishing what it is they’re looking for in that relationship.
Where romantic relationships are involved, it can be especially difficult. There’s a reason books like The Five Love Languages and Attached are so popular.
All across the world, people want relationship help. Which means if you want to help them, a book about relationships can significantly change their lives.
But knowing how to write a relationship book isn’t common knowledge. If you want people to both relate, learn, and take away applicable steps to change their lives, you’ll have to write it in a specific way.
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What are relationship books? Examples to Learn From
Relationship books are any published work that focuses on and aids in a person’s’ ability to navigate the various types of relationships we all have, particularly romantic ones.
There are many popular works, two of which are mentioned above. If you’re aspiring to write your own, the best way to learn what’s working when it comes to writing a relationship book is to look at the pros.
Examples can help you understand what readers are truly looking for when they buy a book to help them navigate their challenges.
Here are some popular examples of relationship books:
- Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray
- Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Sue Johnson
- The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships by John Gottman
- The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman and Nan Silver
- Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples by Harville Hendrix
How to Write a Relationship Book That Helps Thousands
If your expertise lies in helping people understand operating in a relationship, or your own personal experience may help others, you’ll find it both rewarding and cathartic to write a relationship book.
Here’s how to do it, step by step.
1. Identify Your Target Audience
The first step in writing any book is to clearly define your target audience. Niching down can help you craft your message, give more tailored and specific advice, and even determine which stories or examples you use when writing.
Here are some questions to help you determine your target audience:
- Who are you writing for?
- Are you focusing on romantic relationships, friendships, or family dynamics?
- Are you addressing couples, individuals, or specific age groups?
- What do they relate to when it comes to relationships?
Understanding your target audience will help you tailor your writing style, tone, and content to resonate with your readers. You wouldn’t use modern slang and stories about people in their 20s when you’re writing a relationship book about rekindling the romance for those in their 30th year of marriage.
Your target audience also helps you determine which categories and keywords you’ll use when self-publishing.
2. Define Your Book's Purpose and Message
After you know who you’re writing to, you need to clarify the purpose and message of your relationship book. This will ultimately serve as your book’s promise. It’s why people will buy your book, the end result they’ll get from buying and reading.
Here are a few questions to kickstart this brainstorm process:
- What do you want to achieve with your book?
- Is it to provide practical advice, share personal experiences, or inspire readers to develop healthy relationships?
- What will readers walk away having learned?
Identifying the central message of your book will serve as a guiding principle throughout the writing process and help you stay focused on your core ideas.
When it comes to knowing how to write a relationship book, you'll be tempted to pull in every little detail you can think of. When your purpose as the north star, it’ll be easier to reign in what to write about and what to set aside for future books.
3. Conduct Thorough Research
Writing a relationship book requires a solid foundation of knowledge and research. You shouldn’t be writing based only on personal experience. If you are, it’s more of a relationship memoir than it is a helpful, how-to read.
Familiarize yourself with relevant theories, concepts, and best practices in the field of relationships. Read books, articles, and studies by established experts to gain insights and gather reference materials.
You can also conduct interviews or surveys with people who have relevant experiences to add depth and authenticity to your writing, as well as real-life couples who have gone through and overcame similar challenges to your target audience.
4. Mindmap, Then Create an Outline
We can't probably teach you how to write a relationship book without first talking about the process of preparing for it.
Mindmaps will help you solidify the main topics of your book. If you’ve seen a training of ours on the process of publishing, you know how important this is.
First, you’ll take the main purpose and make it the center of your mindmap. Then, you’ll create branches of supporting topics, research, and evidence that will fall into each of those sections.
Once you have your mindmap filled in and know the various topics of your book, it’s time to put it into a book outline.
Organize your thoughts and ideas by creating a detailed outline for your book. Start with a compelling introduction that grabs readers' attention and outlines what they can expect from your book. Then, break down the content into chapters or sections that cover different aspects of relationships.
Arrange the chapters in a logical sequence that flows smoothly and builds upon the previous topics. Having a clear outline will help you stay organized and ensure that your book is well-structured. But if you have concerns about the structure of your book and if the layout is conducive to the reader’s learning and comprehension, get a developmental editor to help after you’ve written the book.
5. Develop Your Writing Style
Your writing style should align with your target audience and the purpose of your book. Decide whether you want to write in a conversational, informative, or storytelling tone. Consider using anecdotes, case studies, or real-life examples to illustrate your points and make your book relatable to readers.
Light, encouraging tones are often purposeful with these types of books, but there are some audiences that respond to a more blunt, no-nonsense approach. It really depends on who you’re writing for and what will best serve them.
No matter what, though, you’ll want to use clear and concise language, avoid jargon or technical terms, and keep your writing engaging and accessible. Also aim to have your book be written in an evergreen style. This means that in 20 years, the references won't be “outdated” and can apply at any time.
6. Share Personal Experiences and Insights
One of the key elements of a successful relationship book is sharing your personal experiences and insights. Drawing from your own experiences can make your writing more authentic and relatable.
It’s hard for the relationship expert to give advice if they’re only had failed relationships.
However, be mindful of maintaining privacy and confidentiality, especially when discussing real people or sensitive topics. Use your experiences as a basis for providing practical advice or illustrating key concepts, but always back it up with research and evidence.
Usually, stories are a great way to open each chapter because the reader will be invested to know more about the author and a real-life example.
7. Include Practical Tips and Exercises
Readers of relationship books are often looking for practical advice and actionable tips. They don’t just want information. They want to know how they can apply what they’ve learned to real life.
Include tips, exercises, or activities that readers can apply to their own relationships. Provide step-by-step instructions or guidelines that are easy to follow and implement along with encouraging readers to reflect on their own relationships and provide prompts or questions for self-assessment.
Remember to align your tips and exercises with your book's purpose and message.
While you want these exercises to be inside the book’s content, this is also a great opportunity to create lead magnets (also known as reader magnets for books) that will provide a PDF or download to the reader in exchange for their name and email address, which helps you grow your email list and promote other books, products, or services.
8. Edit and Revise Your Manuscript
Once you've completed your first draft, it's time to edit and revise your manuscript. Review your writing for clarity, consistency, and coherence. Eliminate any redundant or irrelevant information. Check for grammar and spelling errors.
You can also enlist beta readers to read through and give you any notes or feedback when it comes to what will help new readers understand your material.
Helpful Tips for Writing a Relationship Book
If you want to take your book to the next level, here are some tips to remember as you go through the writing process:
- Be empathetic and non-judgmental: Remember that relationships can be complex, and not all relationships fit into neat categories. Be empathetic and non-judgmental in your writing, acknowledging the diverse nature of relationships and the challenges that individuals may face. Avoid shaming or blaming language and strive to provide constructive guidance.
- Edit and revise: Writing is a process, and editing is a crucial step. Review and revise your work multiple times to ensure that it flows well, is free of errors, and effectively conveys your message. Consider seeking feedback from beta readers or a professional editor to gain additional insights and suggestions.
- Offer a balanced perspective: Relationships can be complex, and it's important to offer a balanced perspective. Avoid taking a one-sided approach and acknowledge that there may be different perspectives and opinions on various relationship issues. Present different viewpoints and encourage readers to think critically and make informed decisions based on their unique circumstances.
- Stay authentic: Finally, stay true to your voice and be authentic in your writing. Share your own beliefs, values, and experiences, and be genuine in your approach. Authenticity will resonate with readers and make your book more relatable and impactful.
- Don’t try to please everyone: Your target audience can never be “everyone” or you’ll be writing for no one. You’ll have to take a stance and stick to it, even if it means some people will choose not to buy your book. The right people are out there and will relate to you, your message, your tone, and your promise.
Relationship books aren't always easy. We’re sensitive creatures and our relationships are one of the most vulnerable parts of us.
But that’s also a good thing! It means people seek help when it comes to getting it right. That’s where writing a relationship book becomes important and meaningful.
If you feel like you need a bit of help navigating the waters of writing and publishing a relationship book, enlist the help of an SP book writing coach – this person can offer guidance and support during your writing journey!