When it comes to writing and publishing a health and fitness or otherwise wellness-related book, much of the standard jargon and advice doesn’t apply. Some of it does, of course, but many readers and buyers of these books don’t tend to cross categories and buy, say, action and adventure or science fiction or romance books in the same way as those who walk into a bookstore looking another fiction or non-fiction genre. And yet, health and fitness books are HUGE right now. All you have to do is walk into the closest bookstore or library to be convinced of this fact; Misty Copeland, Tina Fey, Reese Witherspoon, and Cameron Diaz routinely grace some of the most prominent displays. But your readers are not the same as other authors’ readers … so how do you write and publish a book that will move them?
We have a couple of ideas!
The first step to writing a successful health and fitness book is to know your competition, and to know your competition you’ll need to read widely in the genre. What kind of health and fitness books appeal to you? A celebrity lifestyle book, like those mentioned above, tends to read as equal parts memoir and dietary regimen. That’s great … but there are lots of other models! There’s an entire subgenre dedicated to lifestyle books written by doctors (actual practicing medical doctors, that is) and they are entirely different. So too are the more topical, exploratory works that blend creative non-fiction with self-help elements. Run your hand along a library display or the health and fitness shelf at your local bookstore, and you’ll find dozens of models you might consider for your own book. Find one that feels right, and start taking notes on how it’s structured, on its tone and style, and how it treats graphics and pictures.
Next, you have to consider how to plan for the long haul. After all, health and fitness is a lifelong pursuit, and it is fitting for the genre that writing one of these books will take a while. Gather your information, put it into practice, and live the experience you’re writing to endorse. Your readers will find your book compelling and authentic if they feel convinced that you’re not simply posturing but embracing the lifestyle you advocate that they too should choose! As much as or more than any other genre, health and fitness books require the reader to believe that what they’re seeing on the page belongs in their life, and can be achieved by tenable, easy-to-replicate steps. Once you know how the strategies you’re writing about feel from the inside, a process which is bound to take a while, you’re in the perfect position to write about them!
This is a niche genre and in order to reach your audience, you’ll need to know exactly who they are. You can’t rely on general feelings of affinity (“I love all fiction!” “I love all romance books!”) to sell a health and fitness book, as picking one of these up and trying it on is less like buying and trying on new clothes and a lot more like completely changing everything you eat or think and do. Most people who love science fiction are perfectly happy to buy twenty or thirty books in the genre a year, but people don’t tend to experiment with their lifestyle with remotely the same frequency. They do, however, tend to give other people health and fitness-related books as gifts on a regular basis. Knowing this is half of the battle later on down the road when it comes to marketing, but in the short term it’s helpful for determining what does and does not make it into your book. What would you want out of a gift? Something purely functional, or something with bright and glossy images to catch the eye?
Lastly, find a publisher who knows how to market and sell health and fitness-related books. We mean specifically, not just as yet another generic addition to their non-fiction publications. Take a look at their online catalogues or bookstores (ours is at www.OutskirtsPress.com/bookstore!) and check for a variety of non-fiction subgenres, including health and fitness, cookbooks, memoirs, and more. The more subgenres are represented, the more likely it is that this publisher knows how to appeal to those small, targeted audiences and can help you along the way!
To see our staff picks of amazing health and fitness books from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.
Not sure what you need to get started publishing your health and fitness book? Visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com to chat with a Publishing Consultant or call us at 1-888-672-6657 to find out how to finish your manuscript and get it ready for publication.