As with most entrepreneurs, the first customer or client is typically a best friend or a relative, which is a sweet way to show encouragement. One year ago I got my first pre-sale for the book after my lifelong best friend (Kelly Allison) saw the finished product (the “galleys”, that is). At the time, a quantity of 500 was being printed and scheduled to be delivered to my door in October, 2009. I was pretty excited about the sale, and in fact – not long after the first sale – I sold 22 (books) in pre-sales before anyone even saw the final product. Since then, in one year, I am proud to look back on a pretty substantial, productive and what I consider to be a successful year.
Highlights of year one that stick in my mind:
781 books sold as of today in 32 US states and three countries (US, expats in the UK and The Netherlands).
It was really exciting to be named a Finalist in the 2009 Midwest Independent Publisher Book Awards [Social Science (psychology, family, self-help) category]. I was really hoping to win, but having a “finalist” sticker on my book brings me great pride and appreciation for the acknowledgment.
Fifteen different news entities featured or mentioned the book through interviews, stories, reviews and endorsements of the toolkit. Three more are currently in the pipeline for publication before year end.
Our customer base includes (and is not limited to); attorneys, bookstores, financial planners, funeral homes, hospice organizations, houses of worship, libraries and professional organizers. The biggest surprise for me is that many more end users than businesses are purchasing the book. More sales go to end users than all the businesses put together. My market research showed the opposite would likely occur. This is an exciting turn of events to embrace with vigor.
The events in which we participated (speaking engagements) have been tremendously rewarding, enlightening and fun! We have been asked to speak or appear at six events since January. Two more are scheduled in the fall as well as one scheduled in 2011!
I have learned (and continue to learn) a tremendous amount about survivors’ circumstances, death, death care, the funeral industry, our population and longevity statistics as well as more and more about the boomer generation every day. I must say I am excited to wake up every morning and love what I am doing with every inch of my being. Helping people is something I have always done and always wanted to do for a living. Until this venture, nothing quite made perfect sense for me and my skill set; everything fell into place so naturally with this project.
Mindful of the long term death care issues faced by millions every year, we are committed to providing practical assistance to every person in need of help after a death. Through up-to-date self-help tools and innovative solutions, we strive to become and remain the world leader in helping survivors manage after a death.
Thanks to everyone for all the support and encouragement…Peace…