Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Laura Bush.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Dr. Bush. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am an identical twin. My twin sister, Sarah, and I were born and raised in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English, then taught for five years as a full-time faculty member at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. From there, I moved to Phoenix, Arizona where I earned my doctoral degree in English from Arizona State University in May 2000. I focused my doctoral studies on American Autobiography and women’s life writing, publishing my groundbreaking book, “Faithful Transgressions in the American West: Six Twentieth-Century Mormon Women’s Autobiographical Acts” in May 2004 with Utah State University Press.
After over 20 years of teaching literature, composition, business writing, and professional development courses and workshops at ASU, I resigned in 2012 to reinvent myself as an entrepreneur and found Peacock Proud Press. I now work with entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches, and autobiographers to write and publish nonfiction books that transform the lives of authors and their readers. At Peacock Proud Press, I and my team are committed to working with people who want to write high quality, bestselling books that readers actually buy, read, and recommend.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’ve experienced many obstacles and challenges along my journey. At Ricks College, although I was hired because I was a highly qualified woman, at this church-owned school, my feminist scholarship and point of view were not always welcome. I was also a single woman teaching in a very family-oriented environment and often felt both invisible and highly visible because I often disagreed with prevailing points of view and did not have a husband or children (although I wanted both).
Earning a Ph.D. in English took me six years. Many other graduate students either dropped out or took seven to ten years to finish their PhDs. The subject matter of my dissertation, tracing the autobiographical writing patterns and “faithful transgressions” of Mormon women autobiographies written in the twentieth century, was both exciting and disillusioning. I had to face some difficult truths about my faith community’s past and present history. Eventually, I left because as a feminist scholar and a single woman, I no longer felt comfortable or happy in that environment. Leaving my religious community was a painful, difficult choice.
I published my book under less than ideal circumstances while working full-time at Arizona State University as an Instructional Professional, rather than as an Assistant Professor with time to write and publishing. I’m proud of that publication, but it was not easy. Although I did not have to resign from the university, I had a secure position with matching retirement and good health benefits. However, after years of no raises and no bonuses from 2008 to 2012 at a state-run university, I decided it was time to take care of me, rather than give my all to a huge, bureaucratic institution. I wanted to make a real difference in the world, and I wanted to be fairly compensated for my significant knowledge, skills, and experience.
I was naive, though, about what it would take to start my own business. Then, within a year of leaving a secure job with good health benefits, I was diagnosed with breast cancer (Stage I). After dealing with radiation and the anxiety of worrying about how to support myself financially (bring in more clients) while being treated for Cancer, I also ended up needing foot surgery the next year, and the third year of my business, I had to have knee replacement surgery. The first three years of my business took a lot of courage to keep going and not give up. The past three years of growth and seeing many of my first-time authors achieve their dreams, earn bestseller status, and high praise reviews, as well as remarkable opportunities from the publication of their books, has made all my work and sacrifice worth it.
My advice to young women would be to care about their financial well being from the very beginning. Don’t believe the lie that your career is only about following your heart and the money will follow. Make sure you are doing what you love and stand for being compensated for what you’re worth. Research and investigate possible career or job opportunities that will support you separate from any partner you might be counting on to help support your goals. Partners come and go. You must be self-sufficient, but you don’t have to do it alone, and you shouldn’t. Seek good career counseling in many different places. Consider becoming an entrepreneur. Interview and consult with other women who have “made it.” Gather allies and create a powerful network of men and women, young and old who will see you through the tough times. Follow other women’s and men’s lead and forge your own path. Don’t settle. Show gratitude to those women, feminists, and allies who have gone before you and made possibilities for you even greater.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Peacock Proud Press – what should we know?
We publish high quality, transformational books that make a REAL difference in the world. We care that the books we publish actually get bought, read, and recommended. We care that our authors are able to use their book to forward their business, coaching, or speaking career and opportunities. We care that autobiographers who are sharing their life story to help others write a quality book they can be “peacock proud” of. We have no interest in helping people write a book in a weekend. We actually believe that writing a quality book quickly is not possible. It’s a complex process that deserves an author’s time and commitment. The payoff is worthwhile but not for the weak at heart.
We are proud of the content and the design of our books. We are proud of their wide-ranging subject matter from palliative care to humor to sales and speaking to women following their passions to Kundalini. It doesn’t matter the nonfiction or creative nonfiction topic. It just matters that our authors are ready and willing to take on writing quality books that could take them one to two years to finish, publish, and market properly and professionally.
We are a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and follow their standards checklist for a professionally published book. We will not assist someone to self-publish just any book. It must meet our standards.
What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
Build a community of support. Don’t go it alone. You don’t have to. Do your research. Care about being fairly compensated and learn how to network and negotiate. Find mentors, friends, teachers, and supporters who will advocate for you, be people you can bounce ideas off of and consult with. Be open to their advice and coaching. Then choose for yourself. There is no one way, no right way, or one path. Just choose with your eyes wide open. You’ll fail sometimes. You’ll succeed at other times. Keep going. Your happiness and well-being matter. You matter.
- Website: peacockproud.com
- Phone: (480) 696-1327
- Email: Laura@laurabushphd.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peacock_proud_press/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurabushphd/?ref=bookmarks
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurabushphd
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurabush/