Thursday, March 7, 2019

How to Write & Self-publish your First Kindle Book: Lessons from my indie publishing journey

Hello friends! I recently wrote and published a Kindle book (which made it to the #amazonbestseller list in the first week) called ‘The Work-At-Home Military Wife – A quickstart guide to creating a pack-and-carry career and work-from-home lifestyle on the move’. It took me a few months, from start to finish, and it’s been one roller coaster of a learning experience.

self publishing
How to write, launch and promo that first Kindle book
I’d love to write and publish more books, both non-fiction and fiction, and the lessons learnt here will help me in the months to come. If you’re self-publishing your first book, I hope my journey will help you too.

Writing a book: I started writing this book in December 2018, when my parents were visiting me, and I could grab a few extra hours to write every day as they were helping out with my homeschooled son. When it comes to writing a book, there are so many tiny steps, and Hassan Osman's ebook helped me break down the process into bite sized pieces. Here are the steps I followed:
1.      Write down the ideas for your book, and choose one that you want to take up for the current project.
2.    Break it down into a list of topics and create a table of contents.
3.    Add in the extras like Acknowledgements, notes, copyright information and anything else that you want in your book apart from the chapters.
4.    Set some deadlines for yourself, like maybe 1000 words each day or 45 minutes at your desk writing your book. While a lot of authors suggest writing tonnes of words each day, I fit things according to my schedule. This is the best thing about Hassan’s book; he asks you to spend only 30 minutes per day, if that’s all you have, to get your book done.
5.     Spend at least 5 days a week on your book, so that you don’t lose the rhythm and flow.
6.    Finish the book. This can be the tedious part because by the time you’re at the end of it, you might feel a tad bored or may want to take a break from it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The Brigade that Builds Brands: Air Force wife Sanyukta's Children's Room Decor & Linen Biz

Hello friends! I’m back with another story from #thebrigadethatbuildsbrands series. We’re featuring Air Force wife Sanyukta Bhardwaj today and her ‘Apple of My Eye’ – a handmade children’s room linen and art venture. I’d  like to mention that we will also feature veterans, veteran ladies and Veer Naari’s as well as Armed Forces wives, who have set up interesting businesses and brands. If you know anyone we can feature, drop us a line (contact details below). 
Now, on to our chat with Sanyukta.

Sanyukta Bhardwaj - #Milpreneur

C. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji wife.
S. I’m an Air Force wife, stay-at-home parent and an Architect by education. Currently based out of the outskirts of Delhi NCR and have been married to my man in blue since 10 years.

C. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your venture?
S. The venture honestly started by chance; it all started when I was packing the hospital bag for my yet to be born son. Being an architect and a daughter of an artist (my mother), I have had a flair for painting, so both of us decided to hand paint and stitch linen for him. Post the birth I happened to show all the hand painted stuff to my fellow Air Force friends. And they motivated me to start this venture when they mentioned how such kind of linen and accessories are not available and even if it is, it costs a bomb.


So that is how ‘Apple of my eye’ was conceived and formed. My very first order for customized bedding set was from the same dear friend (an Air Force wife herself).

My mother and I run this venture together. I mostly do the PR, managing the Facebook page, handling client orders, and my mother does the execution or field work ( since she is stationed and I move from place to place) so we discuss all the details of fabrics, textures, designs, colors etc over the phone.
I however, do most of the wall art orders myself as sourcing canvases and stocking on art and craft supplies is easy with the constant moving!

C. Were you in a different profession and re-trained for the current one? If yes, can you share how/where you learned the skills required for your current profession?

S. I’m an architect by education and all architects are artists/designers by default, so I’m the jack of all trades; the trades being sketching, drawing, doodling, painting and scribbling. So I just had to polish my skills when I started with ‘Apple of my eye’, and now I’m planning to learn stitching too.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Homeschooling a Kindergartner in India – Part 2

We started homeschooling our 5-year-old about 10 months ago. Though we were always intrigued by the concept of homeschooling, we didn’t really know where and how to begin.

Photo credit: Smokey Bandit

Should we set up a strict school-like timetable? Should we set up an entire room like a classroom? Will I, as the primary homeschooling parent, be able to cope with entire days of studies, play and activities, with very little time to do my own work?

There were many questions jostling for attention in my mind, but we decided to take the plunge and go with the flow. This is what we did to get started in our homeschooling journey:

Stocked up on good quality children’s books. I stumbled across a curriculum called Build Your Library, and liked how everything is taught through beautiful storybooks and ‘Living Books’. While I do have the curriculum with me, I generally tend to pick and choose the books as per what we want to learn that day.

Made art and craft material accessible. While we always had art supplies that my son could work through, we put it all in a basket and kept it at a place that he could easily access. This way, now he is always working on a project of his own, upcycling cardboard boxes into robots, cameras and whatnot.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

6 Common Challenges you Encounter as a Work-from-home Military Wife


I’ve been a work-from-home military spouse for 13 years now. From working for a small publishing company to leading a pitch-and-query life of a freelance journalist and content writer, to starting an on-phone health coaching practice, I’ve done an assortment of work. Like many military wives, I’ve worked from bases in the boondocks most of the time, with erratic internet, too many social commitments and odd comments about this strange work-from-home life that I lead.
Create a work-from-home career on the move!

Here’s a bucket list of everything that you stumble across as a military wife, who works-from-home:
1.     Spotty or non-existent internet: While fast internet connectivity is taken for granted in “big cities”, when you’re in the boondocks, this is a rare commodity. I’ve spent countless hours tearing my hair out when I’ve missed my deadline just because the internet refused to boot up. I’ve also had to take sabbaticals because either it took too long to get an internet connection at a new base or because the internet cables got cut & it took ages (read: 6 months) to mend them.
2.    Power cuts: Almost every small town base you’re based in has a regular schedule for long periods of power cuts. “Load Shedding” as it’s called, can play havoc into your work, especially if you don’t yet have an inverter or, even when you have one, the battery’s given up because the power cut has spilled into the next day.
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