The 7 Best Self-Help Books for Indie Authors

self help books for indie authors

Self-help books facilitate powerful changes. Whether you want to lose weight, gain a promotion, or reduce stress, there is a book that covers your situation. But what about self-published authors who want to achieve success in the coming year? Today, I’m proud to recommend the 7 best self-help books for indie authors.

As I pen this article, New Year’s is just around the corner. This is the time of year when people make life-changing resolutions. But how many stick to the plan longer than a month or two? In self-development, we aren’t tied to calendars. We understand that there is no time like the present to make a change.

And when you achieve your next milestone, how long should you go on setting new goals?


There is no such thing as perfection. Setting goals keeps us moving forward, learning, achieving, and becoming better people.

The books on this list are near and dear to my heart. Each has made a lasting impact on my writing career and turned me into a better person. Yet not a single entry has anything to do with the writing craft or Amazon Ads marketing. Most of these books were written long before Amazon and the Kindle existed.

But don’t let that dissuade you. These books will speak to you on a deeper level and give you the tools to succeed, whether you’re writing a suspense thriller or organizing your memoirs. 

Ready to jump in?

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind – Dr. Joseph Murphy

Since its initial publication in 1963, readers have called “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” a life-changing classic. The late Joseph Murphy was a proponent of the New Thought movement, which purports that anyone can change their life by directing their subconscious mind to give answers, reveal the path to peace and prosperity, and heal the body. 

While Murphy demonstrates the differences between the active (conscious) and inactive (subconscious) minds, he reduces the science to layman’s terms so anyone can access the information. By injecting positive thoughts into our minds, we can shape our destinies. There are even passages which directly relate to authors, who can instruct their subconsciouses to formulate marketable stories in any genre.

If any of this seems a little woo-woo for you, read on. Murphy cites case studies which prove his theories. 

He also offers a thought-provoking alternative view of The Bible and its many parables. Whether you consider yourself devoutly religious, atheist, or agnostic, you’ll find these viewpoints fascinating.

No book has more positively affected my life than “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind.” I recommend this book to any author.

How this book helped my writing career:

“The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” infused me with tranquility and positivity. The teachings directed me to turn my goals and desires over to my subconscious mind through affirmations and positive thoughts. As a result, I tell better stories than ever, and my career continues to blossom.

Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

How can a book written in 1937 during The Great Depression continue to amaze readers nearly a century later? Despite an avalanche of books which attempt to copy its formula, “Think and Grow Rich” remains a classic.

In many ways, “Think and Grow Rich” was a forerunner to Murphy’s “The Power of the Subconscious Mind”. Hill focused on the power of positive thinking to achieve success, especially in the financial realm. 

In forming his philosophy, Hill studied the successful magnates of his time, including Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford. Hill whittles the success formula down to 13 principles, such as faith, specialized knowledge, organized planning, and mastermind groups, and devotes an entire section to each principle.

Like Murphy eventually did, Hill backs up his theories with real-life examples that educate and inspire in relatable ways. 

Here’s an interesting fact about “Think and Grow Rich”: the project originated after Andrew Carnegie challenged Hill to study successful people and distill a strategy anyone could use. This led to 20 years of study before Hill published this book.

As an author and an entrepreneur, I find Hill’s writings motivating and insightful. I read “Think and Grow Rich” every year.

How this book helped my writing career:

“Think and Grow Rich” made me a better entrepreneur and writer by teaching me to integrate the principles of success into my writing career. Though the lessons seem like common knowledge, I was shocked by the number of principles I’d failed to implement on a daily basis.

Awaken the Giant Within – Tony Robbins

Hey, now we’re moving a little further through the 20th century, although we’re still in the pre-internet age.

If you’re a child of the eighties like me, you remember this young guy in late-night infomercials who swore we could all change our lives in an instant and achieve anything we wanted in life. And if you’re like most people, you probably looked out of the corner of your eye at Tony Robbins, the way you would a used-car salesman.

Boy, was I wrong. Once I gave Tony Robbins a fair chance, he improved my life in ways I’d never dreamed possible. 

“Awaken the Giant Within” by Tony Robbins goes so deep into self-help that it would be better described as self-mastery. The author presents strategies allow readers to accomplish anything, from overcoming anxiety and depression to achieving physical goals and increasing their income.

I appreciate how Robbins breaks his lessons into actionable steps that anyone can follow. 

How this book helped my writing career:

Robbins is one of the world’s greatest motivators. Every time I read “Awaken the Giant Within”, I’m ready to take on the world and achieve new heights. I especially loved the lessons on Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). By using NLP, I can overcome any negativity in an instant. Writing procrastination simply went away.

The World’s Greatest Salesman – Og Mandino

Don’t be fooled by the size of this book. All 128 pages will enrapture and inspire you. 

Published in 1968, “The World’s Greatest Salesman” is one-part sales manifesto and one-part life story set in biblical times. I can’t think of a more unique approach to a self-development book.

A camel boy named Hafid strives to become a great salesman and learns that giving is the greatest gift of all. In return, he receives ten ancient scrolls that unlock the secrets to success in business and life.

The lessons are timeless, engaging, and inspiring. Even non-religious readers are moved to tears as the story reveals itself.

Mandino addresses the universal themes of self-belief, persistence, and the power of adopting positive habits. 

The author’s own life story involved alcoholism before he turned his life around and found success as a writer. In other words, Mandino walks his talk.

How this book helped my writing career:

“The World’s Greatest Salesman” taught me that writing success revolves around helping others, even if you only help by telling a wonderful story that brings joy into someone’s life. Whenever I plan a new book, I keep this lesson in mind. How will my book bring happiness to someone? If I can’t answer that question, the book shouldn’t be written.

The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy

Darren Hardy, the former publisher of Success Magazine, brought “The Compound Effect” to the world in 2010.

If you believe small, consistent actions pick up momentum, like a snowball rolling downhill, this is the book for you. As you might guess, this is the compound effect Hardy speaks of.

The steps to success are straightforward and actionable. If I had to choose my favorite trait for “The Compound Effect”, I would choose its practicality. Hardy uses real-life examples to illustrate his points. And unlike the woo-woo books which purport you can manifest any goal into existence by simply sending your request to the universe, Hardy makes it clear that manifesting without hard work leads nowhere.

Hardy rejects the ‘overnight success’ myth. Patience, persistence, and a long-term perspective will get you where you want to go. But not without real work.

How this book helped my writing career:

After listening “The Compound Effect” on audiobook, I felt a surge of optimism and determination go through me. The next day, I planned an entire year of book releases, with a new book coming out every 30 days. And I stuck to the plan. This allowed me to sell more books without overreliance on advertising.

These days, I publish a new book every two to three months. But that’s a personal choice. I’ll always be thankful for Hardy’s inspiration. Twelve books in twelve months moved my career forward in ways I’d never thought possible.

The Charge – Brendon Burchard

You know that electric feeling of optimism and energy that makes you feel alive and in the zone? Do you wish you could tap that energy more often?

That’s what Brendon Burchard refers to as ‘the charge.’ 

Without question, this is one of the most dynamic self-help books published this century. Burchard proposes that our life experiences come down to ten baseline drives: control, competence, congruence, caring, connection, change, challenge, creative expression, contribution, and consciousness. By understanding and activating these drives, we achieve higher levels of energy, fulfilment, and engagement. 

“The Charge” overflows with practical advice. And if you’re wondering how this relates to business success, Burchard explains that these higher states of emotional and psychological vitality lead to achievement.

How this book helped my writing career:

“The Charge” made me a better entrepreneur and writer by making me a more positive person. When I’m filled with the energy Burchard speaks of, I write faster and better, and find it easier to accomplish my business goals. I’m also a much better person, thanks to “The Charge”.

The 12 Week Year – Brian Moran

How many goals did you set last January 1st? How many did you accomplish?

Sadly, most people make far more goals than they accomplish, and the vast majority fail because they lose interest and don’t follow through.

That’s where “The 12 Week Year” (2013) comes in. What if you set annual-style goals but only gave yourself 12 weeks to accomplish them? Sure, not every goal fits into a 12-week timeframe, but many do.

That’s what makes Moran’s book a transformative guide in the field of goal setting and productivity. The central thesis is most people can accomplish in 12 weeks what others take a year to accomplish.  

But it’s not as simple as moving the goals posts closer . . . though doing so will inspire you to work harder. You’ll plan, track, and execute at a higher level than ever before. The beauty of 12 weeks is the timeframe is just long enough for you to accomplish great things, but not so long that you quit before starting. Urgency conquers procrastination.

How this book helped my writing career:

“The 12 Week Year” drummed home the importance of personal accountability. It’s up to me to write books in the time I allot myself, and the 12-week timeframe is close to perfect for my publishing schedule. 

I use this strategy for marketing, weight loss and exercise, and life changes. The practicality of this book makes me return to it every year.

Also Worth Reading

1. “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” by Steven Pressfield 

2. “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport 

3. “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries

4. “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert

5. “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich” by Timothy Ferriss

6.”Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins

7. “Unlimited Power” by Tony Robbins

That’s my list. What are you waiting for?

Start reading and achieve more this year than ever before.

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