Celebrated American journalist, Edgar Watson Howe always wanted to become a novelist, but his dreams were nipped in the bud owing to financial constraints. In those days, as it is even now, to dedicate valuable time to penning a novel and also publishing it required a person to have enough money saved for a rainy day. Unfortunately for Howe, he could not lay claim to a full wallet.
To overcome his dire situation and yet pursue his dreams of writing, Howe would return home each day and sit at his kitchen table to write a few lines on a yellow tablet, using a pencil. Soon his experiences about his miserable life in a small town of Missouri began taking shape in the form of a book titled, ‘The Story of a Country Town’. The aspiring author did his level best to get his efforts printed—he ran from pillar to post but most publishers rejected his draft. Though disheartened, Edgar did not lose hope and went about trying to print it himself. Despite the tedious hand-set type printing, Howe saw to it that numerous copies were published and then distributed not just to friends and family members, but also to bookstores. He even sent copies to the likes of famous critics William Dean Howells and Mark Twain. Both critics loved the book and encouraged Howe to continue writing and extend the distribution of the book. Soon, it was the success of this book that changed Edgar Watson Howe’s life dramatically.