busy mom published

How This Busy Mom Got Published & Inspired Her Kids to Publish Too

Yes, even a busy mom with kids and a life at home can write and publish a book successfully without sacrificing time with her kids.

In fact, your kids may even be inspired to write and publish a book themselves! And yes, it is possible.

Our student and thriving mom, Anita Oommen, is living, breathing proof.

The downside is that your kids may just want to write and publish many books after getting a taste of it once (and you will as well!).

Maybe you’ve wanted to write a book for years, maybe even decades like many of our students.

But fear keeps getting in the way.

Fear that you won’t be able to write the book.

Fear that you don’t know what to write about.

Fear that the process will bring you further from your children and home life you’ve worked so hard to maintain.

But imagine this…

Despite all of those fears and doubts, you put bravery first and decide to take action and, like Anita, and you find the process easier than you imagined with the right program and it actually brings you closer to your kids.

So much so that they feel inspired by your bravery, and motivated that they can write and publish a book too!

Over 80% of people say they want to write a book…but the fact is that only about 2% ever do for so many reasons like the doubts and fears Anita faced.

And yet she did it, and succeeded so much so that her children jumped on board, each publishing one book themselves.

All because she signed up for Self-Publishing School.

Breaking Through Fear and Doubt to Write and Publish a Book

Imposter syndrome is real. It’s a pain that holds back even the most brilliant of people from pursuing something they might otherwise succeed in.

Anita faced just the same struggle.

“One of the main things that I battled with is that I wasn’t good enough to do anything, let alone write a book. And that was one of the major lies I battled with for four decades of my life.”

Fear has a way of taking even the best of ideas we have and turning them into a pipe dream, one we never really think we can achieve, out of our reach and untouchable.

But the thing is: fear doesn’t run your life, your actions and decisions do.

No matter what fear is trying to whisper in your ear, you can choose to act against it, and toward your dreams and goals.

For Anita, all it took was the action of searching for help, for the know-how of all things book publishing in order to make this goal of hers a reality.

“Fear says ‘live in a straight jacket,’ but brave is taking action.”

Taking Action is Confronting Your Fears Head-On

One of the first things Anita took action on was researching how she could write and publish her book, with no knowledge of what was needed in the first place.

When her research led her to Chandler Bolt’s free training, she was hooked.

“I heard Chandler Bolt, and listened in, and was all in.”

This simple thing, signing up for free training, was the catalyst that led her to publish her book Picking Up The Shards, a story involving fear and doubt itself.

And it was what led her own children to each publish a book of their own, at 11-years-old and in kindergarten!

Leveraged Impact on Her Family

Here at Self-Publishing School, we talk a lot about leveraged impact. It’s the idea that by writing a book, you can impact several people.

Yourself, by accomplishing a goal and something arduous.

You impact those in your immediate surroundings like friends and family.

You impact strangers who find your book, read it, and are changed because of it.

And they impact their friends and family because of you and your book, and the cycle continues, until your leveraged impact reaches corners of people’s lives you maybe never even imagined.

For Anita, this impact was direct. She inspired her children to each publish a book.

“I started writing and the kids were like, ‘I think I can write a book too!'”

The impact this will have on her children is expansive. Not only can they say they’re published authors, but the confidence this has given them, the insight into how they can inspire others will be carried with them throughout their life.

Alaina Oommen, at only 11-years-old, already has a taste of this for herself.

“It’s really changed my life because most 11-year-olds aren’t exactly like, a published author and it’s just an amazing feeling when someone actually just runs up to you and says, ‘I read your book, and it inspired me.’ Because that was the whole point of even writing my book.”

Not only does Alaina, at 11, have a professional piece of work she created, but she’s also already seeing this concept of leveraged impact in action.

Just imagine where this will carry her and her brother in life now that they know what’s possible.

Their lives are already forever changed.

At Self-Publishing School, we’re in the business of changing lives and helping others achieve the same.

Will your life be changed next?

make money as an author

From No Book Idea to $4,000 Per Month Generated From Her Book

Not everyone knows what they want to write about when they decide to write a book.

Many people want to write a book because it’s what they feel called to do…they’re just not sure how to begin.

At Self-Publishing School, we believe everyone has a book inside of them.

Sometimes, it just takes the right person, the right idea, or the right program to help draw it out.

That’s exactly how Brianna Ruelas, one of our amazing Students here at Self-Publishing School, went from no idea to $4,000 per month from her first book.

make money writing

From No Idea to $4,000 a Month

Brianna’s story is one of several that we hear like this with our students.

Here’s how it went with her particular experience:

She was on a round trip out west.

The passing trees, city signs, growing skylines emerging through the windshield as she neared her next destination; it was inspiring.

So much so that the Book Fairy came out, whispering in her ear and flying off, leaving her with a burning desire to make her mark and share her knowledge with the world.

The very next day, she took action.

“The next day I saw a webinar from Chandler, and I enrolled in Self-Publishing School. It was really that simple.”

Many people believe they can simply start writing and will eventually have a completed book, ready to publish, but Brianna knew that just wasn’t the case.

After all, this was something she’d never done before. And without even having an idea, she sought out someone more experienced in the field for answers.

This was the catalyst that allowed her to pursue her dreams, and earn $4,000 per month in client work from her book.

A Coach’s Guidance Helped Her Uncover The Big Idea

There are some people who have the ability to push you, forcing out what’s necessary in order for you to succeed in what you’re trying to accomplish.

It’s no surprise professional athletes have several coaches at their fingertips, instructing them on how to best work out, what diet will help them succeed, and how best to approach their position to win on the field.

So why shouldn’t people looking to become professional writers (AKA: authors), not have the same support?

“I had no idea what my book was gonna be about, I just knew that I was supposed to write one.”

Brianna only knew she wanted to write a book. She felt called to publish, to share her experience, but wasn’t quite sure how to approach this arduous task.

“I was writing the wrong book—a different book for 10 days before my writing coach kind of called me out and said, ‘Well wait, you should be writing this book’, and he was right.”

What we find often with our students is that they come in with this amazing idea, sometimes even part of their book already written, only to realize that it’s not the book they should be writing.

It’s not the book they can sell or it’s not a book their target audience wants or needs.

With a coach, who has published many books before, you get the direction you need to avoid wasting months (and sometimes even years!) writing a book that won’t sell and therefore, won’t share your story or message.

Or you won’t grow your business from your book, if that’s your goal.

From Book to Business

Writing a book gives you credibility, yes, and it also gives you impact.

Being able to have a professional piece of work that you spent hours crafting to support your passions and values can do wonders in launching or growing a business that you love.

“I really was connected to the fact that if I were to write a book, it would be a launching pad for a business—a creative business for myself.”

Brianna used her book to launch her own consulting business. Talk about an effective business card!

From her book (aside from royalties!), Brianna is able to bring home an extra $4,000 per month from consulting clients she wouldn’t have if it weren’t for her taking action to write and publish her book.

Not only did she go from leaving her 9-5 to stay with her kids to publishing a book, she’s now her own boss, making her own rules, her own hours, and contributing to her family financially and emotionally by showing her children what it looks like to go after your dreams.

And she didn’t do all of that alone, either…

Being an Author Isn’t Always Isolating, Not With the Self-Publishing School Community

When you take on a journey like writing and publishing a book, it can seem isolating, like you’re the only person who can make this thing happen. After all, you spend a lot of time inside our own head when writing…

But you’re not alone with Self-Publishing School.

money from a book

“My favorite part about going through the Self-Publishing School program was the accountability, the structure, the Mastermind Community, and the wonderful comradery between the authors.”

We don’t think the process of writing a book even should be isolating. If so many people are out there writing and publishing books, why not give them a space to collaborate, get feedback on titles and covers, as well as share knowledge to help each other succeed?

That’s what the Self-Publishing School Mastermind community is all about.

Over 2,500 uthors from around the world congregate in an exclusive Facebook group to support each other, hold one another accountable, and even join each other’s launch teams to boost the success of their books.

“People were very kind and available to answer questions, and I’ve been in the Mastermind Community for two years now and I still feel connected, although I published my book two years ago.”

It was this support that led Brianna Ruelas to her next big accomplishment.

Using Her Book as a Springboard

Authors no longer have to be “just” authors. In fact, Brianna Ruelas can now add “professional speaker” to her resume with the tools her book has given her and the doors it has opened.

Because she’s placed herself as an authority from being a published author, she’s able to more easily book speaking gigs.

This only furthers her credibility, establishes herself as an authority, and ultimately can help her bring in even more clients. All of this built on the back of her book.

If she hadn’t taken action and joined Self-Publishing School, the past two years could have looked very different. It could have look much like yours may have:

Spending days wishing her book was published. Jotting down a few sentences here and there, never quite being able to finish the book.

Heck, she may not have even started the book, and it would have remained this distant idea that pops up to nag on the edges of her mind each time she went on a road trip.

And she would have the clients she’s had.

She wouldn’t have the experience of launching and growing a business.

She would have “speaker” listed on her resume.

Because Brianna Ruelas allowed Self-Publishing School to support her, she was able to use this high-quality book that was published effectively to bring in new prospects, new clients, and a new life.

And It’s Not Over…

Brianna published her book two years ago, is still bringing in royalties, and that’s not to mention her consulting business income from her book or the speaking gigs she’s acquired because of it.

And she’s not even done…

Next on Brianna’s list is launching her very own course to coincide with her book in order to scale her business further and continue to build a career she’s passionate about.

All because she wrote and published a book with Self-Publishing School.

Check out Brianna’s book for yourself right here!

Manuscript Format: Step-by-Step Guide to Format Your Manuscript

Did you know there are specific industry standards to adhere to in formatting your manuscript?

Not taking note of these rules can set you back immeasurably when it comes to becoming a successful author.

Speaking from experience as a professional development coach and former literary magazine editor: neatness and precision count.

Just like a hiring manager often throws out resumes that boast “attention to detail” while they are riddled with typos, an agent or editor can be just as quick to toss a manuscript because the writer failed to comply with basic formatting and submission requests.

And then your chances are shot…all because of formatting mistakes I’ll help you fix in this blog post.

Give your story the proper chance it deserves.

Here are the basic manuscript formatting standards:

  1. Title page formatting
  2. Single page manuscript formatting
  3. Formatting chapters
  4. Proper letter design
  5. Submitting your manuscript to editors, agents, and publishers

Why Your Manuscript Format Matters

When a literary professional receives bulk submissions, they need to pare them down. The poorly presented options are often the first to go.

Don’t let sloppy work make you lose out on an opportunity.

But don’t worry! Today we’re going to go over every single thing you need to check for in a properly formatted manuscript.

Even if you haven’t finished writing your manuscript yet, you can save a lot of time by formatting it as you write!

[Pssst! If you want to check out some of our Students’ books, check out the SPS Library!]

#1 – Title page manuscript format

Step on the right foot by perfecting the very first thing everyone sees of your final manuscript: the title page.

Your title page should let the reader know what they’re reading, who wrote it, how to contact the author, and how long the piece is.

  • Contact information–your contact information goes on the title page of your manuscript for easy access.
    1. It should include your legal name, address, phone number, and email address
    2. The contact information should be positioned in the upper lefthand corner of the title page
    3. Single-spaced
    4. Left-justified alignment 
  • Title–the title of your manuscript
    1. Center-justified alignment 
    2. One-third to one-half way down the page
    3. If you have a subtitle, it should appear on the same line as your title
  • Author name–this is the name you are publishing the work under.
    1. Center-justified alignment
    2. One double-spaced line below the title (and subtitle)
    3. If you have a pen name, it goes here. Make sure you use your real name in the contact information section
  • Word count
    1. Rounded to the nearest thousand
    2. One double-spaced line below the author name
  • Agent’s information–if you have an agent already, their contact information goes in the upper lefthand corner, and the writer’s contact information moves to the lower righthand corner.

Here’s an example for what a title page for my book, without a literary agent, might look like:

manuscript format title page

#2 – Single page manuscript formatting

After the title page, there are also specific ways to format each page of your manuscript.

Here are the rules for the rest of the document after your title page:

  • 8.5 by 11-inch pages
  • One-inch margins on each side
  • Single space after periods–if you’re trained the old way with double spaces after each period, you can easily search + replace the document to swap double spaces for single spaces
  • Use a “#” to denote scene breaks–do not use extra lines or other symbols to indicate a scene break
  • Left-justified alignment
  • Book genre-specific paragraph indention
    1. For works of nonfiction, like textbooks and instructional literature, manuscripts should be left-justified alignment with no indentation and a line between each paragraph. 
    2. For works of fiction, use left-justified alignment with half an inch indention and no line between paragraphs.
      1. To indent paragraphs, don’t use tab or space. In MS Word, “paragraph” > “paragraph settings” > “indentation” > “special” > “first line” > “0.5 inch”
      2. After you format the paragraph indentation once, it should do it automatically when you start a new line
  • Headers–at the top right of every page (excluding the title page), you should include the following information:
    1. Your last name
    2. The book title (or an abbreviated version of the book title)
    3. The page number (start page count on the first page of the actual story. Do not include a page number on the title page)
  • “THE END”
    1. “THE END” at the end of your manuscript indicates the end of the manuscript
    2. Center-justified alignment after the last line of your story
    3. Important for beta readers, editors, and agents to ensure no part of the story has been lost in transit

#3 – Formatting chapters

It’s easy to want to throw your chapters together, one right after another, but there’s a more specific means of formatting your manuscript for chapters specifically.

New chapters should not run onto the same page as another chapter.

This is how to properly format a chapter change:

  • New chapter page break–always start a new chapter on a new page
  • Chapter title page
    1. center-align justify the title of the chapter, even if it’s just a chapter number
    2. One-third to one-half way down the page
    3. Start the chapter one double-spaced down from the title

Following that format makes a manuscript much more palatable, just like having your text double-spaced. Any technicality that makes your manuscript easier to read is something you want to take advantage of.

Here’s an example new chapter page from my work-in-progress, Taogan:

#4 – Proper letter design

The words themselves should also be as simple and readable as possible.

Your typeface is not where you express your creativity. Maybe further down the line, your interior formatting can take some more stylistic routes, but for your manuscript, you want it plain and simple.

Here are the industry standards for letter design:

  1. Size: 12 point
  2. Typeface: Times New Roman (Sometimes other basic typefaces like Arial are also acceptable. Always check the submission guidelines for your particular case.)
  3. Color: Black
  4. Line: Double-spaced
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#5 – Submitting your manuscript to editors, agents, and publishers

If you’re traditionally publishing (and therefore, must not be totally aware of the differences and benefits of self-publishing your book), you’ll send your manuscript to literary agents.

If you can’t follow their submission rules, you won’t get an agent.

format manuscripts

If you’re acting as your own agent, you’ll send your manuscript to editors and publishers.

Again, if you haven’t followed industry standards and their specific submission rules, you’re shooting yourself in the foot before they even have a chance to read your manuscript.

If you’re sending your manuscript to a professional editor you’ve hired yourself, you still want to follow these manuscript formatting tips–and the tips below for a digital submission.

The standard manuscript format is organized, readable, and professional, even if you find a situation where it isn’t a requirement.

Check the particular agent, editor, or publisher requirements, as each might have their own specifications for what to include and how to format.

Digital

  1. If you’re submitting a digital file of your manuscript, it should be a .doc or .docx, unless otherwise specified. This is the most popular file type for submissions, and Microsoft Word’s track changes feature makes it a favorite among editors and reviewers.
  2. For an initial submission, an agent typically asks for you to paste the first pages or chapter of your manuscript into the body of an email. Past this stage, they typically request a .doc or .docx of the full work.
  3. You may also be asked for a cover letter, author bio, or query letter with your submission.

Mail-in

Some submissions are still open for mail-in options. If you take a mail-in route, you’ll have to print your manuscript.

If you need to print a physical copy of your manuscript for a submission, be sure to follow these printing guidelines! 

  1. Single-sided
  2. High quality, bright paper
  3. High quality, dark ink

There are many technicalities involved with producing a clean and professional manuscript, but you can use the rules above to make your own checklist!

Go item by item to format your story properly.

If you’d like to bypass the submission process, consider self-publishing your book!