Bruce Hiland and former Senator Ted Kaufman, two friends who have known each other for decades, were at their local Burger King, drinking coffee and enjoying one of their regular visits. As it usually did, their conversation eventually turned to the people they knew who were struggling to succeed at retirement. This time, though, things felt different.
Reading that story left them filled with horror. They had both seen far too many people retire, only to end up deeply unhappy and unfulfilled. They had both watched countless friends and acquaintances go back to work because they couldn’t figure out how to fill their time. And now, a major publication was promoting the very mindset that caused so much trouble for people.
They knew the problem for most retirees wasn’t a lack of money. The problem was that most people hadn’t done anything more than getting their finances in order. And even if they had, most of the time, it didn’t amount to much more than coming up with a plan similar to the one the New York Times article described. That was a problem, because going for walks and reading books—day in and day out—would never lead to true fulfillment.
Bruce and Ted couldn’t stand the thought of retirees wasting their golden years. As retirees themselves—and active ones, at that—they felt like most people’s approach to retirement was akin to genocide. They were determined to do something about it.
Bruce and Ted knew writing a book was the perfect way to teach retirees how to live their best retirement life.
While drinking their coffee and talking about how they could help solve this problem, inspiration struck. Looking Bruce dead in the eye, Ted suggested that they write a book together.
At first, it felt like a crazy idea. But the more they talked about it, the more they realized how much collective knowledge they had about how to do retirement well. It almost seemed like it would be a crime not to share that information with others.
As compelling of a reason as that was, it wasn’t the only one. They both know one of the biggest problems people face when they retire is a lack of stimulation. To get around that, they need to take on meaningful, challenging projects. Writing a book—something neither of them had done before—fit the bill perfectly.
Once they realized all the benefits writing a book would have, they both jumped on board. They couldn’t wait to stretch and grow their own skills and knowledge. They were excited about offering people who were already retired a solution to the epidemic of loneliness, dissatisfaction, and lack of fulfillment that might be plaguing them. And, they couldn’t wait to help people who were getting ready to retire to think through what steps they should take—beyond just financial ones—to create the best retirement possible.
The whole project seemed like a win-win. They were going to write a book, and they were going to do it together.
Bruce and Ted had no idea how to get their book published.
Excited to get started, Bruce and Ted began jotting down notes. They reached out to people to ask them questions about their retirement experiences. They met regularly at Burger King to talk about the issues they wanted to include.
After months of this, they had a good sense of what they wanted the architecture of the book to be. They knew how they wanted to tell the story. Ready to start writing the manuscript in earnest, Bruce drafted an introduction and sent it to Ted to review. And then, they hit a snag.
President-Elect Biden asked Ted to help manage his transition into the presidency. Ted wasn’t going to turn the request down—the country, and his friend, needed him. But that didn’t leave him any time to work on the book.
Determined to carry on, Bruce started writing, then passed his drafts to his wife to review. He kept all the edited drafts, so he could give them to Ted as soon as the inauguration was over.
Once Biden was sworn in, Ted dove back into the project. He and Bruce revised and refined the draft until they were happy with it. Finally, they knew it was ready. But then, they came face-to-face with the biggest problem of all: both of them were completely in the dark about how to actually publish a book.
Scribe had the expertise and experience to help them turn their manuscript into a polished, published book.
Ted and Bruce started reaching out to agents, only to be turned away.
Undaunted, the two started looking for self-publishing companies. However, once again, they hit a wall. Most of the self-publishing companies they could find specialized in helping people write their memoirs.
Their book certainly wasn’t a memoir, and they didn’t need help writing it. What they did need help with was publishing and marketing—preferably from a company that had experience with genres outside of memoirs.
They kept searching and coming up empty. Then, they came across Scribe. As they reviewed the company and its offerings, they realized it fit their needs exactly.
The only potential sticking point was that Scribe seemed to be focused on helping people who wanted to build and scale their businesses. Bruce and Ted didn’t want to do that—they just wanted to make sure their book reached the people they were so desperate to help.
They jumped on a call with Rikki Jump, Head of Author Strategy at Scribe, to talk through their options. As they explained what they were looking for, she reassured them that Scribe would support them in reaching whatever goals they had.
That’s all they needed to hear. The two signed up for Scribe’s Publishing package, with an added book launch package to help them maximize their marketing.
Their team at Scribe helped them navigate the uncharted waters they found themselves in.
As excited as they were to launch the book they had worked so hard on, Bruce and Ted still knew they had to face one sobering fact: neither of them had any idea what they were doing.
Just as importantly, their team at Scribe focused on building a relationship with them as people. In fact, Jessi made it clear to them from the beginning that Scribe would still be there, supporting them and working with them, several years down the road. That meant a lot to Bruce and Ted, because it was a clear indication that Scribe cared about their ongoing success.
Their team’s support didn’t end there. In the weeks leading up to the launch, they guided Bruce and Ted in exactly what steps to take (and when) to get ready. They coached them through writing the sales copy for Amazon. They even introduced them to Amazon’s sales algorithms.
With so much support behind them, Bruce and Ted were free to focus entirely on the message of the book and getting that message to the people they were trying to communicate with. And Scribe was there, backing them up, every step of the way.
In the first year alone, they exceeded their sales goal by 300 percent.
When Retiring? launched, the results were astonishing—and exciting.
As sweet as those numbers are, they are made even sweeter by the fact that more than two-thirds of their book’s Amazon sales are organic sales. In other words, they are purchased by people who go directly to Amazon and search for their book, instead of buying it based on an Amazon recommendation that popped up while they were browsing.
The two suspect that word-of-mouth recommendations account for a lot of their organic sales. But they also credit the great media coverage Scribe helped them get, from outlets ranging from MarketWatch, to Retirement Wisdom, to Earn & Invest.
The media’s interest in the book’s unique message, along with their incredible sales totals, prove the book is getting in front of the people Bruce and Ted wanted to help. And they couldn’t be happier about it, because they know every single person who picks up the book is taking a huge step towards living their best retirement.
The book’s impact continues to exceed their wildest dreams.
After writing this book with the sole objective of helping as many people as possible create an ideal retirement, nothing makes Bruce and Ted happier than hearing how their book has helped do just that.
For example, they heard from someone recently who wanted to thank them for writing a book about retirement that covered far more than just getting their financial house in order. That person wanted them to know how helpful their advice was, especially their suggestions about how to prepare for such a major life transition.
Bruce and Ted get messages like this all the time, and each time they do, it fills them with joy. But the thing that makes them happiest is the realization that their message resonates with people of all ages.
While they never expected it, the book’s broad appeal delights Bruce and Ted. For them, knowing the book is growing into a phenomenon is the greatest outcome they could have wished for, because it means that it’s getting into the hands of the people who need it most—whatever age they happen to be.
Here are a few more people whose lives have been made better by Bruce and Ted.