Tag Archives: legacy

Are Your Clients Getting Too Little?

too little

Recently I was reading an article by marketing provocateur Seth Godin. In his usual challenging manner he hit the nail on the head.

” The hard part isn’t charging a lot. The hard part is delivering more (in the eye of the recipient) than he paid for…Too often, in the race to charge less, we deliver too little. And in the race to charge more, we forget what it is that people want. They want more. And better.”

This got me thinking.  A personal history book or video is a big ticket item for most clients. So what can we do to demonstrate that our clients will get get more than they expected?

Here are some ideas that come to mind:

Emphasize the lasting value of A life story.

When you have an initial conversation with a potential client, use  words such as investment rather than cost, legacy rather than personal history, gift instead of book or video.

I sometimes use a new car analogy. I point out that as soon as you drive a car off the lot, it begins to depreciate. On the other hand, a Life Story appreciates over time. You can’t say that about many things.

Use your professional qualifications.

It’s true that “Cousin George” can probably do the book for half the price. But does he have the experience and professional background to do a first-class job?

When people hire me, they know that not only are they getting an experienced professional personal historian but also a former award-winning documentary filmmaker. My work will be better than “Cousin George’s”.  At least I hope so. ;-)

Look for ways you can make your qualifications stand out.

Give your client more than just a book.

There are a number of ways to add  extras.

  • Include a set of audio CDs of your interviews.
  • Provide a poster size duplication of the book cover.
  • Give a subscription to a a family history magazine.
  • Reproduce a treasured archival photo from the book and have it framed.
  • Organize a launch party for friends and family after the book’s publication.

Find those little extras that add more value to your work.

Emphasize the superior quality of your books.

Have one of your beautiful personal history books to showcase your work. The quality will speak for itself. Point out the exceptional archival paper stock and inks that are used.  Acquaint clients with the  outstanding design elements.

You want to convey the message that these are “Legacy” books that will last for generations.

stress the  good feelings that come with a personal history book or video.

What clients may not appreciate are the positive feelings that arise with personal histories. It’s not just a book or video.

Parents and children talk about feeling closer to each other after engaging in a life story. Parents are touched by the thoughtfulness of their children undertaking such an endeavor. Still other recipients of a personal history find a new appreciation for their life accomplishments.

A personal history is  a connection to the soul.

What are some of the ways that you exceed your client’s expectations?

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Image by iStockphoto

Encore! When Small Can Be Profound.

Not long ago I was asked to audio record some final words from a young mother who was dying from cancer.  I’ll call her Sonia to protect the family’s privacy. She was in her early thirties and she wanted to leave something for her only child, a five-year-old boy…Read more.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

Too busy for a vacation this summer? Then you may want to read The Importance of Vacations in this week’s Monday’s Link Roundup. If you’re not familiar with Cowbird, check out this latest web-based means of  collecting stories. And as someone who relies on my copyeditor to save me from embarrassing gaffes, I highly recommend 6 Ways Copyeditors Make Your Book Better.

  • The Self Illusion: An Interview With Bruce Hood. “Bruce Hood, a psychologist at the University of Bristo…In his excellent new book, The Self Illusion, he seeks to understand how the singularity of the self emerges from the cacophony of mind and the mess of social life. Dr. Hood was kind enough to answer a few of my questions below.”
  • Narrative Concepts. “…narrative medicine means an understanding of health and disease for humans, that is grounded in the stories humans live out in their lives and the stories that we understand about our lives which give our lives meaning and purpose…it means that illness is embedded in the stories we are performing and that are performing us.   There is a biological story about how we are organisms who are born, live, wear out, and die.   Our lives are finite.   Within that finitude, however, are multiple social stories which interact with the “how long do I have to live story”.
  • 6 Ways Copyeditors Make Your Book Better. “Linda Jay is a very experienced book editor…I asked [her]…if she would give readers some advice on one of the most important decisions a self-publisher makes: hiring a copyeditor. Here’s her reply.”
  • The Importance Of Vacations. “As an entrepreneur who has launched three businesses, I have on several occasions in the past found myself working long hours, seven days a week and forgoing vacations owing to lack of time and reduced income. As I have grown older, I realize that was a mistake.”
  • Cowbird. “…is a small community of storytellers, focused on a deeper, longer-lasting, more personal kind of storytelling than you’re likely to find anywhere else on the Web. Cowbird allows you to keep a beautiful audio-visual diary of your life, and to collaborate with others in documenting the overarching “sagas” that shape our world today. Sagas are themes and events that touch millions of lives and shape the human story.”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

For this Monday’s Link Roundup I’ve found some great tech articles for you. Two that particularly interest me are Kindle’s Personal Document Service and 5 cloud storage services compared.  Kindle offers some intriguing possibilities for personal historians. And if you use a cloud service as I do, then do yourself a favor and compare services. You may want to switch.

  • We’re Crazy About Books and Confused About eBooks. “…you don’t have to read books to be crazy about them. Published authors command attention and respect even from the people who don’t have to budget how much they’ll spend at their local bookstore … A book is a social object, to riff on Hugh McLeod’s conversation. Not only that, it’s a fetish item or physical souvenir. We gift books. We hold onto books after we’ve read them because we largely can’t make a case to let them go.”
  • What Hoops Will You Jump Through for Your Clients? “… we usually do our best to meet client requests–even that means jumping through some hoops to keep the client satisfied. However, some customer requests are just plain unreasonable. This post describes some “hoops” that aren’t worth jumping through–even to make a client happy.
  • Kindle’s Personal Document Service. “It’s looking like a Kindle Christmas in my family…Why? It’s all about Kindle’s new Personal Document Service. Designed to make it easy for Kindle owners to send personal documents to their reader, it also allows them to authorize others to send documents too. This means I can “publish” family stories by simply emailing the document to my family’s Kindle addresses.”
  • Free For All: From CreativePro.com. “This month’s mixed assortment of free resources includes 2012 calendar templates; a vector kit of pre-press and markup symbols; 13 typefaces; 60 photos of paper; and one way to sign and send a document without a fax machine.”
  • Unlikely Book Club.[video] “Steve Hartman reports on the book club that’s inspiring people in other states and countries. It all began with an unlikely friendship between two men, one a lawyer and the other homeless.”
  • 5 cloud storage services compared. “… personal cloud services have been slowly easing their way into almost everyone’s computing plans.That’s not you you say? You don’t use a cloud service? Really? Do you use Dropbox to store files? Do you get your e-mail at Gmail? Are you experimenting with Apple’s iCloud? Doing work with Google Apps, Office 365, or Zoho Docs? Congratulations, you’re a cloud user.”
  • Protect Your Legacy for up to 100 Years. “The SanDisk Memory Vault is the first product from SanDisk engineered to preserve your most important photos, videos, documents, and scanned files for generations to come. The company claims the device has been tested to support data retention for up to 100 years.”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

To spice up the beginning of your week, this Monday’s Link Roundup includes  Vanity Fair. Writers Reading with  Susie Bright reading from her memoir Big Sex Little Death.  If you’re new to video editing, head over to The Basics of Video Editing. It’s a terrific resource. One of my favorites this week has to be The Book Surgeon. To say it’s incredible doesn’t do this work justice.

  • Cooking Tales: 10 Delicious Memoirs from Chefs. “The past few years, we’ve watched “foodie” culture explode into prime time, elevating many chefs to celebrity status. It’s no wonder, then, that the chef memoir has become as much of an art form as cooking itself.”
  • For Dying People, A Chance To Shape Their Legacy. “Imagine that you’ve just been told you have only a short time to live. What would you want your family and community to remember most about you? In St. Louis, a hospice program called Lumina helps patients leave statements that go beyond a simple goodbye.”
  • Vanity Fair. Writers Reading: Susie Bright Reads from Big Sex Little Death. “Susie Bright has never been one to shy away from discussing sexuality, erotica, and feminism, becoming one of America’s leading “sexperts.” In her new book, Big Sex Little Death: A Memoir (Seal Press/Audible), Bright traces her entertaining and influential political/sexual revolution—from a fearsome Irish Catholic Girl Scout to teenage radical in The Red Tide and International Socialists to co-founder of On Our Backs, the first erotic magazine created by women.” [Thanks to APH member, Catherine McCrum for alerting me to this item. ]
  • The Book Surgeon. “Using knives, tweezers and surgical tools, Brian Dettmer carves one page at a time. Nothing inside the out-of-date encyclopedias, medical journals, illustration books, or dictionaries is relocated or implanted, only removed.Dettmer manipulates the pages and spines to form the shape of his sculptures. He also folds, bends, rolls, and stacks multiple books to create completely original sculptural forms.” [Thanks to Beth LaMie of One Story at a Time for alerting me to this item.]
  • The Basics of Video Editing: The Complete Guide. “These lessons concentrate primarily on editing video in Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be helpful for other editing software. The idea behind having the lessons with both applications is to demonstrate that when you learn one editing application it’s pretty easy to learn another.”
  • Before I die I want to… “A little over a month ago, installation artist Candy Chang turned the side of an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighbourhood into a giant chalkboard where passersby could write up their personal aspirations.”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

Happy Monday! And welcome to Monday’s Link Roundup. As always there’s  a tasty mix of sites to sample. My favorite this week is The Future of the Book. There are some innovative and exciting ideas here and a glimpse of what some  personal histories could look like in the near future.

  • If you have lofty ambitions for your legacy, head for the attic. “As we cheerfully embarked on communicating our thoughts via evanescent media such as SMS and Twitter, storing our photographs on Flickr and Facebook, keeping our email messages on Gmail and Hotmail, did we ever give a thought to how much of this will endure beyond our lifetimes?” [Thanks to APH member Valerie A. Metzler for alerting me to this item.]
  • On covers. “I’ve been thinking about covers for a while now. One of the many great debates around the ephemeralisation of music has been the lamentations for the loss of cover art: now, we are reaching the same point with books.”
  • The Future of the Book. “Meet Nelson, Coupland, and Alice — the faces of tomorrow’s book. Watch global design and innovation consultancy IDEO’s vision for the future of the book. What new experiences might be created by linking diverse discussions, what additional value could be created by connected readers to one another, and what innovative ways we might use to tell our favorite stories and build community around books?”
  • TypArchive. “Over the last 10 years I’ve been visually inspired by hand painted lettering. I began shooting while living in Brooklyn, New York 2001-2008. This obsession lead me to travel and shoot in other locations including, France, Mexico, Los Angeles, Oklahoma, Austin, New Orleans, Miami and Memphis.”
  • Retrofuturism Revisited: The Past Imagines the Future. “Last year, we looked at the 2020 Project, which invited some of today’s sharpest thinkers to imagine tomorrow. But how will their visions look to future generations? To get a taste for it, we looked to the past: Here are 6 charming visions for the future, from the past — a delightful exercise in retrofuturism that embodies humanity’s chronic blend of boundless imagination, solipsistic foolishness and hopeless optimism.”
  • Library and Archives goes digital. “Within the next seven years, Library and Archives Canada will put most of its services online, transforming the country’s leading memory institution into a fully engaged digital organization, just in time to celebrate Confederation’s 150th anniversary in 2017.”
  • What the census can teach us about ourselves. “… as family historians know, it’s the personal fragments garnered from census documents that tell the most dramatic stories of American life. These historical gems often provide clues that, knitted together, can weave a story as cherished as any family tapestry or ancestral tartan.”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this Monday’s Link Roundup I highly recommend Eulogy for Robert B. Parker. Written by his son, it is a wonderful illustration of the ability to capture the essence of a person in a few well crafted words. And if you’re like me and need solitude from time to time, be sure to read the lost art of solitude.

  • Genealogical Tourism Redefining Leisure Travel Market. “For the work-weary, the word “vacation” may conjure images of leisurely, carefree days at the beach sipping umbrella drinks. But according to published research by a University of Illinois expert in tourism and recreation, genealogical tourism is one of the fastest growing markets in vacation travel because it represents a conscious shift away from relaxation and into the realm of personal enrichment and fulfillment.” [ Thanks to Dear Myrtle for alerting me to this item. ]
  • WTC Memorial Museum Unveils Oral History Collection. “The September 11th National Memorial Museum preview site in Lower Manhattan will unveil Wednesday a collection of almost 600 audio recordings from families and friends of the terrorist attacks’ victims.”
  • Eulogy for Robert B. Parker by his son, David. This  was read aloud at Robert B. Parker’s memorial service. “I met my father in 1959 though I don’t remember our first moments together. Over the years, I thought I’d come to know him quite well, but I never really understood–until these last weeks–that he was really three different men.”
  • Our First Legacy: Names…Our Way Home. “Names function as a compass connecting us to our families and communities from generation to generation. Stories about how and why we were given our names give substance and significance to our names.”
  • Procrastination: Feeling overwhelmed, helpless and ready to run away. “For the size of the wave, it’s surprising how it catches us by surprise. You’d think we’d see it coming. Yet, each time we sit down to begin a difficult task that we’d rather avoid, here it comes – a huge tidal wave of negative emotions that overwhelms us. We feel incompetent. We feel like an impostor. We want to run away.”
  • Five Best Offline Backup Tools. “Online backup has many benefits—safety from local catastrophe, storage on professionally maintained servers, etc.—but economy, control, and 100% guaranteed privacy aren’t among them. Check out these five popular tools for making safe and sound local backups.”
  • the lost art of solitude. “Solitude is a lost art in these days of ultra-connectedness, and while I don’t bemoan the beauty of this global community, I do think there’s a need to step back from it on a regular basis.”

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The Life Story Quote of The Week


Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your children’s children.

Deuteronomy 4:9

How easy it is for the things we have seen to be forgotten. In ancient times there was a strong oral tradition. People made a point of passing on knowledge and wisdom. We’ve lost most of that tradition. Unless we keep some kind of record of our lives, our children and our children’s children will know nothing of our heart. That would be a terrible loss.

Photo by James Marvin Phelps