Paul McKenna, the hypnotist and self-help guru from the UK, has a gift for writing best-selling nonfiction books. After an early career in radio, McKenna transitioned to TV and then to publishing. He’s written 16 nonfiction books, with provocative titles like I Can Make You Thin, which happens to be the best-selling self-help book in UK history.
In our latest So What Do You Do column, McKenna talks about the way he revolutionized nonfiction books (by putting a CD in the back, with a hypnotic trance on it) and why he’s not interested in writing an intellectual tome:
When I’m writing a book, I imagine I’m holding a copy of the book, and I start to flick through it and I get a sense of the emotional tone, or I get a sense of the pace of the book, whether it’s short chapters or long ones. The other thing I do is imagine the [reader] is sitting in front of me, and I think, ‘What do I need to tell them to help them get better?’ My readers need enough science to tell them that what they’re about to do is safe and has been practiced on other people and is a worthwhile process and then I walk them through it. And I’m not interested in writing intellectual books for other intellectuals to read. I’m interested in helping as many people as I can, in as easy and painless a way as possible.
For more from McKenna, including how he got his very first book published, read: So What Do You Do, Paul McKenna, Best-Selling Author, Hypnotist and Host of Hulu’s McKenna?