Denver Woman Turns Bitter Divorce into Sweet Success
by Jack Sommers
The experts told her she was crazy. After all, the failure rate in the magazine publishing business is 96 percent. "The name alone would turn off most readers," Cyndee Rae recalls them saying. "They said I might as well call it Cancer."
After just two issues, advertising sales have more than doubled. The Tattered Cover Book Store sold out of the first issue three times. Subscriptions are on the rise, and Rae’s Web site has recorded upwards of 3,000 hits on some days.
Rae had experienced what she calls "a traumatic, bitter divorce" in 2001.
"I was a stay-at-home mom for 14 years with two kids," she says. "I didn’t know anything about divorce except that I had to contact an attorney. People tend to trivialize divorce since it’s so common. But when you’re going through divorce, it can be a very painful, frightening, and lonely experience. Looking back, I wish I’d had access to more resources and information. There are so many critical issues, especially when children are involved.
"Our magazine’s name is actually Divorce in Denver, Moving Forward," she explains. "Our goal is to be positive and forward-looking. We want to help people through the divorce process, to get from point A to point B, so they can move on with their lives."
Some 20,000 copies are distributed via direct mail to attorneys, CPAs, family therapists, psychologists, social workers, doctors and other professionals in the Denver Metro Area. Copies are available at all Tattered Cover and Newsland locations. They are also provided to divorce recovery groups and court-required parenting-after-divorce classes. Individual subscriptions sell for $16 annually.
"We try to connect our readers with the experts they need," Rae explains, "whether they’re attorneys, special advocates, mediators, psychologists or financial advisors.
"Our subject matter targets people in each of the three phases of the divorce process," she adds. "First, those who are thinking about or preparing for divorce; those who are in the middle of a divorce and are struggling with the myriad legal, financial, and emotional issues; and, finally, those in post-divorce recovery — when it’s final, how to pick up the pieces and go on and have a great life."
For example, her most recent issue included such diverse articles as "Sex with Your Ex," "Choosing Whether to Leave a Relationship," "ADR for Same-Sex Couples," "Let’s Not Screw
"There are so many issues surrounding divorce — legal, financial, emotional — we won’t have any problem coming up with relevant articles," she maintains. "We anticipate our readers will need us for a year or two at most. During that period, there will be a constant influx of new people going through the process, so a lot of our topics can be recycled and updated. Plus, there’s no shortage of people willing to share their individual, personal experiences. That’s what our readers seem to enjoy most."
Rae continues, "When I tell people what I do, I usually get one of two reactions: ‘I wish I would have known about your magazine when I went through divorce,’ or ‘I have a sister, brother, friend, etc., going through it right now.’"
The reader response has been overwhelmingly positive, she notes. "Attorneys and people who work in the mental health field say the magazines don’t last long in their offices. People want to take them home."
Professionals have also mentioned to Rae that they enjoy reading Divorce in Denver. "A number of their peers are in the magazine," she explains, "plus it helps them to be more understanding of the issues their clients are facing. They are also able to find other experts or professionals they might wish to work with."
Rae says Denver attorneys can get involved in many ways. "I encourage them to use the magazine as a resource for their clients, and also to let me know about story ideas or ways I can improve my product. And, frankly, I’m always looking for advertisers."
For a person whose previous experience with the magazine industry was solely as a subscriber, Rae admits she’s having fun while learning on the fly.
"I disliked my job in insurance and investment sales," says the native of Deadwood, South Dakota, "but I’m loving this one. It’s therapeutic for me. I know the idea of changing careers so drastically is kind of crazy, but I’m finally doing something worthwhile that I’m passionate about. No matter what happens, it won’t be a failure because I had the courage to try."
Cyndee Rae can be reached at email@example.com or (303) 918-3603, or visit http://divorceindenver.com. Freelance writer Jack Sommars can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.