Self-Publishing Worked for Me When a Disability Forced Me to Work from Home – by Gloria Troyer

Self-Publishing Worked for Me When a Disability Forced Me to Work from Home – by Gloria Troyer

Sometimes I wish that I was born with a manual that would let me read the story of my life in advance. How useful it would have been if I had known then what I know now about my work environment. I worked as an Archivist in Archival and Special Collections at my local University from 1980-1996.  What I didn’t realize then was that working with old papers and artifacts presented health risks for a small percentage of us.

I was subjected to extreme and dangerous mold like, Stachybotrys chartarum, toxic dust, and other biological hazards from rodents, pigeon droppings, mites, and insect debris.  Some old paper even has additives like talc, and other hazardous inert minerals.

Aside from these pollutants, there were other issues resulting from inadequate ventilation in a closed-air environment. The use of deodorizers and anti bacterial solutions pumped into the air system, and water problems, took their toll on my declining health.  To put it simply, I was exposed to a myriad of toxins, resulting in daily migraines and regular bouts of what was thought to be pneumonia. Over the years my symptoms got worse until it affected my heart and lungs permanently, caused joint problems and a whole slew of other issues.  The symptoms waxed and waned, puzzling my local doctors, who didn’t know what was wrong with me.

And, all the while, I kept trying to earn a paycheck.  My health became so bad that I had no choice but to leave my job in March, 1996. I was later diagnosed with Librarian’s Lung.

That was a very depressing time for me since I am a workaholic. But, if I tried to get up in the morning and dress myself, it was a monumental chore. I couldn’t relax or stop thinking.  What was I going to do?  Where could I work? Most buildings at that time were designed as closed air.  What were the chances that I could find any job where I wouldn’t have a reaction?

Eventually I applied for a government funded program designed for older workers.  The course was on self-employment. I had always been a writer and, while at my job, I had written many articles about the collections I worked on, and technical training manuals, and I also contributed to a regular campus newspaper. The course helped me with organizing finances, and finding markets for my writing.

Even though I continued to write articles, I decided to change my main focus to writing books. I hired a literary agent in Toronto.  The process was so slow and I am not a patient person.  I decided there had to be a faster way to publish a book other than through an agency and a mainstream publisher.  I had heard about self publishing but didn’t really understand it.

When I decided to devote my time fully to writing, I joined several writers support groups and signed up for numerous news letters.  One of those was, which is part of the family. I liked the format and the tone of the publication. Once I made the contact with Angela Hoy, I knew that I’d made the right choice. She was kind and personable, and provided me with all of the information, in an uncomplicated way, regarding what I needed to know.

There are many reasons that self publishing works for me. It is great to be able to order the number of books that can accommodate my buyers, with no minimum purchase.

I can manage my illness as long as I can manage my publications – my way. I knew that, by becoming a self-employed writer, I could control my disability. I write when I have the energy and rest when required.  I can also choose or decline speaking engagements on my terms. It takes a bit of juggling but I must put my needs ahead of anyone else.

Self publishing has been the answer for me and is just what the doctor ordered!


Gloria Troyer has been writing since she was eight years old. She is an accomplished freelance writer, author, and broadcaster. As a child, Gloria grew up on a hobby farm in a rural area. It was there that her imagination flourished, providing her hours of childhood fun. She loved winter, and had the great opportunity to play in open fields of snow, and to toboggan and ice-skate on the many ponds near her beloved home.

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