Savvy Book Selling

When custom or self-publishing a book, hands-down the single toughest challenge that authors face is marketing. The rub, of course, is that being successful at selling your book is crucial. While custom publishers (like, say, Three Bean Press) help in this effort, authors must be their title’s biggest advocate. Getting the word out about your book doesn’t come easily to everybody. That’s why we’ve asked photographer Bill Brett—whose book Boston, Inspirational Women had made back his full investment before it was even back from the printer—to share his strategies. Brett is a natural and has an approach to sales that gets real results. Most impressive still? His pitch is never arrogant, delivered always with business savvy and an easy smile.


Room to Grow


Recently we were given a real treat when we sat down at a breakfast event called “Celebrating Inspirational Women and Mothers” at the Four Seasons Boston. The gathering, which raised money for the charity Room to Grow, featured a panel of women from Bill Brett and Kerry Brett’s book Boston, Inspirational Women. As the publishers of this new release, we felt we knew these women well. After all, we spent months poring over their images and bios, fact checking on their websites, and eventually meeting many of them face to face at social gatherings to highlight the book. As the book’s descriptions tout, their philanthropic and business accomplishments are impressive; These women truly are inspiring.

But at the breakfast, we got to see the true essence of these women and learn about them on a more personal level, beyond their titles and achievements. Trish Karter, founder of Dancing Deer Baking Co., showed her quick wit and eloquence while remaining down to earth and humble. Mary L. Reed, who leads the Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children, demonstrated her calm demeanor and talked about how she gathered her strength from her mother. Harriet Lewis, owner of Grand Circle Corporation, revealed her soft side, showing true tenderness when talking about her kids and her fears. Wendy Semonian Eppich, publisher of The Improper Bostonian, displayed her vulnerability and also her sense of humor. And Joanne Jaxtimer, of BNY Mellon/New England, gave credit where credit is due to her husband, but it was clear from listening to her what a strong mom and woman she is. Carol Beggy and Linda Holliday acted as co-chairs of the event, and Mary Richardson was the moderator moderator.

As busy women trying to juggle the challenges and blisses of running a business and managing homes, marriages and children, we appreciated the honesty and humility that these powerful women brought to the panel discussion. It was their openness and humor that made us want, more than ever, to aspire to be inspirational ourselves. We thank them for sharing their insights.

Our Clients are Making it Happen!

Author Kathleen Flaherty and illustrator Jen Donehey are raising funds on in the hopes of printing their wonderful new children’s book “An Octopus Named Mom” in the USA. Check out their story, see Jen at work on a watercolor in her studio and get caught up in their enthusiasm. We know we are! And, if you feel so compelled, you can make a donation (even a buck is okay), pre-order a signed copy or get a framed illustration to help get them closer to their goal.

The Gift

Every year we try to align our company with a worthy cause. We’re a small business, so as much as we’d like to be able to give, give, give, that’s not always a reality for us. This year, we got smart and decided to match each book sale we made during the holidays with a book donation to a deserving charity. Enter Cradles to Crayons, an inspired organization that “connects communities of plenty with communities of need.” Launched in Boston, Cradles to Crayons supplies children ages 0 to 12 with the day-to-day essentials they need; the perfect pairing for Three Bean Press’s book drive. We were thrilled to have surpassed our 100-book goal, ultimately donating 126 brand new books to the organization, and we were truly touched when we dropped the books off, spoke with Founder Lynn Margherio and Marketing and Communications Coordinator Liz Farley, and were given the opportunity to see the company’s “Giving Factory” in action.

The Giving Factory is a massive warehouse chock full of gently worn shoes, clothing, blankets, books, car seats and other basic necessities that are essential for every child to feel “safe, warm, ready to learn and valued,” Cradles to Crayons’ mission. And while The Giving Factory seems to be brimming with items that, after going through a five-point check system, head to low-income or homeless children whose parents or social workers have expressed a need, Massachusetts citizens’ demand for these items is so great that The Giving Factory could use far more. This time of year, Liz and Lynn explain that winter boots, hats, mittens, gloves and coats are in high demand, and, sadly, many children require such clothes not only for outdoor use but for the indoors as well, given unheated housing conditions.

We were touched by the commitment, size and scope of The Giving Factory and Cradles to Crayons and its staff. The organization is coming up on its 10-year anniversary and a second branch has been launched in Philadelphia. In the Brighton warehouse, more than 24,000 volunteers come through the doors each year, and they’ve just gained three more in Three Bean Press—actually, five including a five- and eight-year old that will be tagging along, as volunteers can be as young as age five!

The idea for this organization was hatched by Lynn Margherio, when she was visiting relatives. She went to dress her niece and had to rifle through clothes that were too small and still bearing price tags, and she literally tripped over toys to get to the playroom to do a craft with her nephew. She knew that her family’s home was not unusual and was struck by how much excess some households have while others are barely getting by. Cradles to Crayons was born, at first launched out of a small corner of her office, and Lynn became what one board member dubbed a philanthropic “Robin Hood” by creating a resource that transferred surplus items to households just as deserving but bereft.

Last year, Cradles to Crayons helped more than 48,000 children in Massachusetts and has become recognized by social workers, teachers and families as an organization they can count on. It’s a win-win for everyone. More affluent families benefit from actively bettering the communities in which they live and learn, and feel good that the clothes and necessities they’ve purchased don’t go to waste, while the children and parents who receive these donations of clothes, shoes, books, safety items and school supplies have one less worry on their minds, their self-worth buoyed by such a simple act .

Three Bean Press hopes to help this worthy charity more in the future and is excited to be involved with Cradles to Crayons. We’re grateful to all those who bought books to support our book drive in December, and encourage everyone to give as they can. Call 617-779-4700 or visit to find out how you can contribute.

Nancy Gaines of “Boston Inspirational Women” featured in Gloucester Times Article

From the Gloucester Times:

‘Inspirational’ local woman

Times correspondent Nancy Gaines is featured in a new coffee-table book that celebrates “Boston Inspirational Women.”

The project is the first collaboration between well-known Boston photographers Bill Brett, chief photog for the Boston Globe for many years, and daughter Kerry Brett, who shoots portraits and celebrity covers for the Improper Bostonian Magazine. The text for the book is by Carol Beggy, also a former Globe staffer.

Beyond Gaines, a resident of Bay View and wife of Times staff writer Richard Gaines, the portfolio of accomplished and admired women, which will appear in hardcover next month (and on Amazon), includes the likes of the late Myra Kraft, wife of Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft and very much an activist in her own right, Mary Richardson of “Chronicle,” Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust, publisher Wendy Semonian, uberchef Lydia Shire, state Senate president Therese Murray, and actress and author Marianne Leone.

Story Time—Our List of Top Reads for Kids

“Crunch time” for holiday shopping is officially here. And you likely have some little ones on your list yet to buy for. So, you can’t find the exact Pillow Pet Junior is coveting, opt for the gift of reading instead. A magical book can grow a child’s imagination, education and sense of wonder—and it won’t go the way of the Zhu Zhu Pet three years from now.

Sure we’re publishers, authors and illustrators of children’s books. But most of all we’re mothers, always searching the shelves of bookstores and libraries for another good read for kids. And there are plenty to choose from. If you ask us, there can never be too many children’s books.

Of course we’re not the least bit biased when we tell you that we really dig our own children’s stories (Lily + the Imaginary Zoo, The Yellowest Yellow Lab, Frankie Goes to Fenway: The Tale of the Faithful Red Sox–Loving Mouse, and our newest book, by artist Priscilla Hayes, The Too Much Love Story). But if you must search beyond Three Bean Press’s titles, here are some of our personal favs:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Because you can’t deny its magical power to make baby’s eyelids peacefully heavy.

Tikki Tikki Tembo retold by Arlene Mosel. For the longest and most rhythmic character name that’s like a fun tongue twister—how fast can you say it?—and for Blair Lent’s gorgeous illustrations.

Amelia Bedelia series by Peggy Parish. For housekeeper Amelia Bedelia’s delightfully literal mind—she makes sponge cake out of sponges and when asked to draw the curtains, she does a drawing of them—that will have kids roaring with laughter over her misunderstood idioms.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. For its classic poems that are full of heart, whimsy and hilarious moments. Don’t miss “Sick.”

Corduroy by Don Freeman. Because there’s something undeniably charming about this little bear, even if he is missing a button.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. Because can’t we all commiserate? From the getting the prize-less cereal box to being forced to buy the plain white sneakers, this poor kid can’t catch a break today.

Strega Nona by Tomi de Paola. For the bountiful pasta that overtakes an Italian town when Big Anthony tries to use Strega Nona’s magic pot. Yes, there is such a thing as too much pasta.

Horton Hatches the Egg and Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss. For the elephant’s earnest nature: He meant what he said, and he said what he meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent. And he realizes that “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Polar Express and Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg. For Van Allsburg’s glorious illustrations, and for showing kids how far their imaginations can take them.

Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt. Because who can resist bunny’s soft coat and playing a game of peek-a-boo with Paul? These simple, tactile pages are interactive for baby.

Eloise by Kay Thompson. You simply must have these books. Eloise is really “rawther” entertaining on her escapades with Nanny, Weenie and Skipperdee in the Plaza, to Paris and beyond.

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw. For the riotous rhymes about a flock of foolish, jeep-driving sheep.

The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman. For the picky Peters’ appetites, and how they all combine to make something wonderful. And, of course, for Marla Frazee’s brilliant illustrations (look for her other books too, as her drawings engage parents and children alike).

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. For the naughty monkeys, the exasperated cap peddler, and for the book’s ability to get kids to join in telling the classic tale.

The Napping House by Audrey Wood. For its repetitive yet fun text about a slumbering mouse, snoozing cat, dozing dog, dreaming child, snoring granny, cozy bed and—yikes—a wakeful flea.

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. For the little boy’s faith, against all odds, that the carrot will surely come up.

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. For its tender and beautifully told story of a blueberry-picking trip in Maine gone slightly awry. And for McCloskey’s always striking artwork.

Olivia by Ian Falconer. For the precocious little pig’s unlimited list of talents. And for her wardrobe.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems. For Trixie’s unwavering love for her beloved stuffed animal and for Mo Willems’ inspired—and hilarious—illustrations.

On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier. For its celebratory tone and the way it shows a newborn’s connection to nature and to his or her place in the universe. We’re choked up just thinking about it.

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney. Because this rhyming tale is just so fun to read—we never tire of reciting “llama drama”—plus, that long-necked little llama is pretty darn cute.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. For Reynolds’ wonderful pen-and-ink drawings and watercolors, and a message that shows how a good teacher can unleash hidden talent in even the most reluctant student.

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy by David Soman and Jacky Davis. We especially like this follow-up to Ladybug Girl for its imaginative take on playground play, its colorful costumes and its fantastic art. Oh, and we also like that it’s written by two authors.  

The Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park. For the spirited main character and the delight that readers new to chapter books feel when they learn they can join Junie B. in her fun—and slightly irreverent—antics.

Do you love these books too? What are your favorite reads for kids?

Feeling the Love

art © priscilla hayes

Tina Turner asks (okay, so it’s more like belts out) “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” Well, we say “Everything!” And we’re fairly certain Priscilla Hayes is right there with us. Who’s Hayes, you ask? She’s the Boston-based abstract artist–turned–children’s book author who combined a series of sweeping, sunny canvases with her own experiences involving “a child, a couple, a cat and a dog who are dear to [her]” to create a delightful new “fable in paint” called The Too Much Love Story.

Available mid-November (and more than worthy of some space on your bookshelf, we’d add) this story/art book involves a couple who—you guessed it—has too much love. Their love runs so deep that their hearts simply can’t contain it. So what happens? The love spills out of the house, into the yard, and through the streets of a seaside village; readers can literally see it happen through renderings of hearts of all shapes and sizes against Hayes’ vibrant backdrops.

When the town’s beaches, ice cream stands, playgrounds and theaters become impossibly overcrowded with the pair’s emotional outpouring, the couple searches for a solution. They find it—sound the spoiler alert alarms!!—in the swaddled-up arms of a new baby.

According to Hayes, The Too Much Love Story reveals just one of the many special ways of becoming a family. And, in a very cool touch, she encourages children and families to think about their own “love stories” by placing keepsake photos in a pocket that’s affixed to the book’s inside back cover.

Preview The Too Much Love Story here: