Duo self-publish guestbook to record ‘Happenings’
March 9, 2009
By David Hayes
Kristi Gage and Rebecca Byus don’t so much consider themselves as authors as they are publishers. That’s because their book, “Happenings: A Guest Book of Sorts,” has but one page of type with the rest containing a distinct lack of content. And that’s just the way they intended it.
“Our inspiration was to make something from our shared passion,” said Gage, a mother of two who runs her own business from her Issaquah home.
“We wanted to make a journal for the home, where guests could leave written comments from events, that you could leave on the coffee table as an elegant keepsake,” said Byus, also a mother of two who runs her own financial planning business.The two met at the University of Washington through their sorority, Delta Delta Delta. In those days, the two shared the quirky phrase for something cool, “that’s so trick.” That became the name for their online venture to sell their book, www.ohsotrick.com.
The book is similar to a scrapbook, with enough space to dedicate two pages to each event. Simply place a photo from the event in the center and have the attendees leave written messages commemorating the experience. The back of the book has labels to affix a theme for each gathering, including “back to school,” “summer fun” and “holiday tradition.”
Gage said they realized there are many places that provide raw materials for creative people to construct their own memory book.
“The scrapbooking thing has been around a long time, but not everyone has the time to do one themselves,” she said. “This helps simplify things, a compilation of events you can put into one book.”
Their research of the market showed scrapbooks, guest books and photo books were already available, but not an all-in-one book.
“Plus, this helps people who know that want something, but don’t have an idea about how to do it themselves,” Byus said.
In addition, a portion of the proceeds from book sales goes toward their favorite local charity, Challenge Day. The organization’s mission is “to provide youth and their communities with experiential workshops and programs that demonstrate the possibility of love and connection through the celebration of diversity, truth and full expression.”
Byus and Gage were introduced to the charity when it held programs at their children’s schools and were immediately enamored with its goal.
“It’s an amazing program that helps overcome boundaries with a heartfelt message,” Byus said.
As designers and publishers, the duo has been pleased with the results of their two-year journey to make the book available. As marketing novices, they admit it took them more than a year to remember to pitch their product to the local press. But with word of mouth growing, many others are realizing their book is perfect for their needs.
“It’s a great housewarming gift. Real estate agents get it for their clients. It’s perfect for placing in a vacation home. And it makes a good graduation present,” Gage said.
While they can’t say what their surprisingly good sales have been specifically, they’re good enough to explore expanding into other theme books.
“We’re looking to make more specific books, such as toward kids with sports, school or a first child,” Byus said.
Besides their own Web site, “Happenings” is also available on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and a couple of small nonlocal shops out of state.
A Guest Book of Sorts’
$39.95 + $9.95 shipping and handling
A portion of proceeds go toward ChallengeDay.org.