In the last days of life, heart-to-heart conversations come easy for some, not so much for others. Lynn Devlin witnessed firsthand the fear that kept patients and their families from talking honestly about their illness, death, and the days after.
After losing her husband to stage four cancer, nurse practitioner Lynn Devlin became hospice and palliative care certified.
To document her experience for others, Devlin wrote a book called Cancer Widow. But Devlin soon found she had more to share. In her work as a palliative nurse practitioner, she noticed that end-of-life conversations emerged with common themes even across clinical settings.
In response, she published a three-book series: The Caregiver’s Journal, The Last Days and Hours of Life, and The Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s.
Why are books important to your particular business?
The original book that I self published was Cancer Widow in 2012. This book led to numerous speaking engagements, including a television interview at Mayo Clinic.
Professionally, the success of that book encouraged me to write the three-book series of end-of-life ‘conversation starter’ booklets. This in turn launched a speaking career to colleagues and healthcare professionals across the state and at national conferences.
How do you use your books as marketing tools?
The booklets have never had an official ‘launch’ and all the copies so far have been sold through word of mouth. The booklets are a terrific way to reinforce the presentations.
How did you choose the topics that you wrote about?
I have written about topics that essentially chose me! I had been a family nurse practitioner for many years when my husband was diagnosed with stage four cancer. This experience prompted me to become hospice and palliative care certified.
The end-of-life conversations that I have every day, with families have a great deal of similarity across clinical settings. There are only so many consults I can do every day and the booklets are a great way to share the information.
Has self-publishing been worth it? Why or why not?
SO worth it! My life has changed because of the book and booklets in every possible good way. It’s been overwhelmingly positive, with people buying one for themselves and one for a friend.
If you could do it again, would you do anything differently?I would have done it earlier! I also would have a marketing/distribution plan in place. That is still a work in progress.
Lynn Kelly Devlin is a nationally board-certified hospice and palliative care nurse practitioner who lives and works in New Hampshire. She often speaks to health care professionals, corporate audiences, students, and small groups about end-of-life issues.