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One day At A Time Therapy - Abbey Press 1990


The Story of the Elves that Sell Books

Elves? Yeah, Elves with candles on their caps! They're selling thousands of books a month. Many millions already sold. Books are translated into more than 16 languages.

You ask, "How do you put together a small publishing firm run by the Benedictine Monks, and a delightful family of elves?" Abbey Press says, "Very successfully!"

In 1987, Abbey Press Publications, St. Meinard Archabbey, St. Meinard, Indiana released its first Elf-Help book - Be Good To Yourself Therapy. "Reader response to this little self-help volume was simply extraordinary" says Linus Mundy, publisher at Abbey Press.

Cherry Hartman, first Elf-Help author, said her book was for "those who desire to rejoice in their own lovability."

But it was the artist R. W. Alley's development of a loveable elf-like character that tied the publishing package together and gave it life. Alley, the illustrator of all titles, says he knew immediately that "a pointy nose and ears were a given." He made the nose generously long - to make sure the character didn't look so kid-oriented "cute", he says, and he added a cap with a mood reflecting candle in its peak." The dynamic Elf-Help series was born. There are 37 titles to date!

Robert Alley, who has spent more time with elves than Santa Clause, explains the universal appeal of his wise and whimsical elfin stars by saying, "I try to get adults to peel away what's on top, to get rid of the socializing stuff and concentrate on those emotions that come out if you just let them. Though they're not children's books, they get at core feelings much as a children's books do."

Says Linus Mundy, former publisher at Abbey Press, "I like to think Elf-help is in its adolescence. There's a lot of life left in this series." Yes, elves are selling books at Abbey Press!