It’s Not Easy Just Because I Did It

            I don’t know how not to make this statement sound not bitchy, but here it is: Publishing a book a isn’t easy. And it’s not easy just because someone like me actually did it. It was years of aggravating hard work. It was working in secret because I was a teenager, and I already had to play trumpet until my lips bled. Why would I want something else I loved gutted for scholarship money? It was no one taking me seriously because I was a kid. It was one person taking me seriously even though I was a kid. It was me finishing my first novella in a Harry Potter journal I had owned since my 9th birthday party. It was not having money to hire an editor, and agreeing to cat-sit for a summer in exchange. It was going to the public library and asking for a directory of publishers. It was the only resources being online, and my family not having a reliable computer, or internet connection. It was me, coming home from school, searching for publishers, on the computer we only had sometimes. It was me, twisting my mother’s arm into reading it, even though reading is her least favorite hobby. (Momma loves me!) It was me, editing my book off of an Ipod touch when I lived in a car, and writing changes down in a notebook. It was me spending time in the library in Key Largo, maybe Key West, while the rain poured down, and I punched in edits from my notes, on to the public computer, using the flash drive I keep in my purse. It was going through every page of that directory of publishers, going to give up when I got to the Z page, wanting to stop at S, and getting a call back from the I page. It was me, probably being cruel and obsessive while trying to publish the thing… In short, I was a diva.

            It was my first book signing, in the library that I went to story time in as a kid. It was coming up with an off-the-cuff presentation for the first time. It was living in my parent’s basement, writing, trying to find a job, writing, job hunting, writing, developing a drinking problem, finishing a second book, getting a job, drinking, writing, working, drinking, writing, working, drinking, writing, working, drinking, writing, working, drinking, writing, working, drinking, writing, working. It was waking up with pages glued to my face from drool and sweat. It was doing that until I was sick of it. It was getting sober, because I couldn’t remember writing the first half of book three. It was falling in love with a community. Working, writing, working, writing, working, writing, working, writing, working, writing. It was getting my heart broken over years of silence when two different publishers accepted book two, but never offered me a contract, and never published it, on two different occasions. It was still writing even though I was worried my career would be over with only one book to show for it. It was working full time, and writing in my car over lunch. It was finishing book three, and buying a portable keyboard so I could type it up, from the handwritten copy, over lunch. It was valuing a laptop from 2015 just as much as a limb. Working, writing, working, writing, fired. Don’t drink. Writing, writing, writing, pandemic. It was being so angry at the world an entire book fell out of my head and on to Kindle Direct Publishing. It was my cover artist getting sick, and my editor going back to law school. It was Jenaniper hearing me complain and coming to my rescue. It was publishing a second book, just not the one I expected. It was my friend who started his own publishing house approaching me again, and asking if, I’d consider trusting him, and his crew with my books. It was my dear old friend, off screen, coming back into my life, and convincing me to work with this publisher, because he quit his job to go to work for his friend’s business and he had been much happier for it. It was me, trusting my friends. It was my cover artist pushing himself through the darkest places to finish the artwork for me. It was sitting on the trunk of my car, with a cigar, reading proofs, in the dark, on a late-autumn night. It was so many problems delaying us, that the release date hit on a horrible traumaversery. It was me curled in fetal position on the shower floor. It was glancing at my phone to see Drakarium Publishing holding our collective breaths while distributor’s bots read over our work to make sure it was good enough to sell. It was feeling too numb to celebrate with the crew. It was three books. So far.

And it was not easy.

            Just because a broke, white, vaguely female, kid from Cow-Town can do it, doesn’t make it easy.

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Published by

Helen M. Pugsley

Helen M. Pugsley comes from a small town of twenty in eastern Wyoming. They have been passionate about writing since they were small. Helen has been working on The Gishlan Series since they were 14, and 'The Tooth Fairy' was a pleasant side effect of surviving a global pandemic.

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