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.
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.
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 www.cradlestocrayons.org to find out how you can contribute.
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.
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: www.threebeanpress.com/store/