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Shortly after I found out I was pregnant with our second child, I set this crazy goal to publish a book—before the baby was born.
Those pregnant hormones can make us do some pretty crazy things.
I was a work-from-home mama with a 1.5-year old at home hustling during nap time and bedtime doing freelance writing, editing, and virtual assistant work to contribute to our family financially.
At the time, I was doing some VA work for a book marketing blog and learned a little bit about how to self-publish a book. While I liked the work I was doing, it was something that was paying the bills… but it wasn’t something I was passionate about or eager to do every day.
I knew I needed to do my own thing that excited me too.
So how does one go from ordinary work-at-home mom to published author (even if you’re pregnant)?
Here are the steps:
STEP 1. BELIEVE YOU HAVE SOMETHING VALUABLE TO OFFER
This was a massive mindset shift for me. However, when I realized friends, family, and co-workers were shocked that I’d paid off all my student loans in just a couple of years on a teacher’s salary and curious to know how I did it, I found my first book topic.
I let go of the self-doubt and believed I had something valuable to offer. Now I truly believe EVERYONE has a worthwhile book idea in them that no one else can share.
STEP 2. SCHEDULE A TIME TO WORK ON YOUR BOOK EVERY DAY
From researching to outlining, from writing to marketing, there are many steps to write a book. Scheduling a time in my day when I’d have the best chance of uninterrupted time was crucial.
For me, this was usually 5:00 – 7:00 AM before my husband left for work. My husband took care of our daughter during this time (she’s always been an early riser), so I could focus on work.
This was absolutely crucial because working at home with a baby is no easy feat. Checking emails, sure, that can be done with kids around, but writing a book with a crying little one tugging at your leg was not happening in my house. Shout out to my husband!
STEP 3. SET GOALS AND DEADLINES
- Without a deadline, writing a book can easily become a 10-year project. My goal was to complete all the steps to publish my book before Baby #2 came.
- Determine how many words you want your book to be. Many nonfiction eBooks are 25,000-30,000 words, while a standard novel is 60,000-80,000 words. My target was 25,000-30,000 words.
- Set a daily word count goal. A page is 250-300 words, so your goal doesn’t have to be huge. Setting a realistic goal for me was 1,000 words per day. This meant I would take no more than 30 days to write my first draft.
STEP 4. START WRITING
Next was serious “butt in chair time” for the actual book writing. I wrote a messy first draft. I researched the best book writing software to make the job easier because for me, writing an entire book in Word was a pain.
I invested in the book writing software Scrivener, which was incredibly handy when I had to go back and reorganize my entire book…three times.
STEP 5. GIVE BOOK TO BETA READERS
Getting early feedback from readers can be critical to making sure you’re on the right path to a great book. Let a few trusted friends, family, or editors give you honest feedback about your work.
You can even find beta readers on Goodreads to find people who are readers of your specific genre or topic.
STEP 6. REVISE, REVISE, REVISE
Next was finalizing the title of my book (With the title Pay Your Student Loans Fast, I didn’t leave much for the imagination. Instead, I stuck with something I knew people wanted a solution for.
Revising took quite me longer than expected, so it was good I finished writing faster than anticipated so I didn’t get behind schedule.
STEP 7. HIRE AN EDITOR
Next up is investing in a book editor. An editor can give you professional feedback on your book. They can look at the overall structure, your writing style, as well as spot grammar mistakes and sneaky typos.
Editing may require several rounds to make a book an enjoyable read and as close to error-free as possible.
STEP 8. FORMAT YOUR BOOK
There are two methods for formatting your book: DIY or hire. This will make sure the spacing, indents, and everything else look great for both eBooks and print books.
While the frugalness in me wanted to DIY, this was one of those things I opted to hire a pro to do especially since I decided to offer paperback books as well as eBooks using a print-on-demand service called CreateSpace.
STEP 9. DESIGN AN EYE-CATCHING BOOK COVER
A book cover is super, super important for catching the eyes of people browsing for their next book online. My cover took several rounds of going back and forth, but in the end, I was very happy with what my designer created:
STEP 10. LAUNCH AND PUBLISH!
Believe it or not, my due date was July 16. It was crunch time trying to get all the final steps taken care of. When July 16 came and there was no sign of baby, I decided that was the day to publish.
So the final step was uploading my book files to the sites that sell books like Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble.
Here’s my first copy I got in the mail…along with my 9-month pregnant belly ☺
And after all that, I became a published author. Hearing from readers whose lives I’ve touched through my book is completely humbling and amazing. Plus, having a published book is a source of passive income now that all of the hard work was done up front.
The best part of the whole thing, however, was the book to my then 2-year-old daughter. She saw the picture of me on the back and said, “Mama, that’s you!”
She is an absolute book-lover, so it felt incredible to tell her just like so-and-so wrote that book, Mama wrote this book.
If you’ve thought about writing a book and you’re looking for another stream of income, publishing a book is an option we don’t hear about often.
Whether freelance, blogging, or writing a book, writing is a flexible and creative skill that moms can use to make money while helping thousands of people for years to come.
About the Author
Val Breit spends most of her days trying to keep her two little minions out of the toilet and from harassing their dog. She’s a nap and bedtime hustler who could talk all day about ways to pay off debt and earn money at home. Check out her latest shenanigans at TheCommonCentsClub.com.