Interviewing Kitty D. Bullard from Great Minds Think Aloud Publishing

Today I’m talking to Kitty D. Bullard from GMTA publishing, to find out more about this great publishing team and to chat about their submission process, amongst other things…  

Welcome Kitty! It’s lovely to have you here with us!

Can you tell us a little about why you set up GMTA?

When I first started getting into the literary realm, it was as a reviewer and I had decided to start an online book club. I put out feelers for review copies of books and in truth had no idea that there were so many independent authors out there that were scrambling to get their books in front of the populace. I began to receive responses to my review solicitations and became completely amazed by how many really great authors are out there that haven’t been snapped up yet. I started getting more into promotions and was doing it for free for a very long time. Anything from blog tours, to guest posts and interviews and finally found that I had quite a knack for it. At this time I was still in school trying to earn my Bachelor’s Degree in business and marketing. Around the last part of December of 2011 I began to realize my dream. I decided to give publishing a go. I started by creating accounts on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other sites, did research into contracts and creating websites and finally got it up and running. I had a few submissions right off the bat. I can say it was trial and error, so much to learn and you never stop learning, not ever. Even though GMTA is well-run and very organized there are still things I am learning every day. Though I can honestly say, it’s been a full year now and we are doing fantastic. We have some amazing authors and have even turned out a bestselling fantasy series by Brian D. Anderson. We intend to continue to do so in the year to come. We want more bestsellers and more great authors!

You have several websites including one focusing on UK authors and also a separate blog website. What was the reason for diversifying?

Well, GMTA has authors from all over the globe. A lot of them reside in the good ole’ UK and we felt the need to focus on that largely in part because we want them to receive the best exposure we can give them both in the US and the UK. I was fortunate enough to meet a lovely young lady by the name of Kate Bainbridge who has a proficient drive and intelligence for promotion and marketing and she’s from the UK but has a foothold both there and in the US. I hired her to promote the UK authors in both places and she has also taken on promotion of the Romance, Young Adult, and Erotica genres as well. She is a marvel and very dedicated. It would be hard to find a harder worker than she.

When you are considering submissions, what is the deciding factor for YOU when you offer a new Author a contract?

I can honestly say that in order to catch my attention or my partner’s you must have a really awesome story to tell.  We base our choices largely on that but we also base our choices on an author’s ability to write. When I say this, it means an author has to know how to catch the reader, pull them in and refuse to let go. For all the manuscripts we do take there are just that many or more that we do not and for the very reasons I just expressed. We aren’t looking for the next Twilight or Percy Jackson we are looking for authors that have their own unique stories to tell, something that hasn’t already been done a thousand times over.  When you send a manuscript to GMTA it has to shine, and it has to be polished. If we get something that hasn’t been polished and looked over by the author several times then we toss it aside and go on to the next. Not to sound harsh but in this day and age, an author can’t just write a story and send it in. It takes time to cultivate, much like a grain of sand into a beautiful pearl. You have to love your work and your art enough to look it over several times, flesh out the details, create your world, your characters, and really make sure it’s exactly the way you see it in your mind before you send it in.

How important do you feel it is to work closely with your Authors? In today’s market it’s often difficult for a new author to know where to start, but being active is crucial to getting titles out there in front of the readers.

I feel it is extremely important to work as closely as you can with your authors and we try hard to do that through every process at GMTA, not only in internet promotions but with editing, cover design, corresponding on when the book should go out and how it should be marketed. We want our authors to have a large part in how they want their work produced and exposed to the world. If you don’t listen to them you can’t expect to make them happy. A lot of our authors will likely tell you that working with GMTA, is almost like working with a family unit. We try hard to create that feel for everyone.

Has any aspect of the business really surprised you since you set up?

Good Lord yes, if I were to list all the surprises I’ve had in the past year I’d likely fill up a book of my own.  The first surprise for me was to find out just how easy it is for most authors to put a book out there. That is one thing I sadly have to say has changed a lot since I can remember the old days of publishing. It used to be hard for authors to get their work in front of an audience because they weren’t allowed to publish on their own. You had to go out there and find an agent and then the agent had to solicit publishers and so on but now anyone can put a book out and sometimes it’s bad and sometimes it’s good. I can honestly say this and I do not mean to sound harsh but there are some books out there that shouldn’t be, and there are some people out there that call themselves authors that have no right to. But, for just as many there are of them there are the really good ones, the gems that you find that mean the most and that is exactly what GMTA is looking for, we want diamonds, emeralds, rubies, pearls, sapphires… that is what we intend to find and we’ll keep mining until we do even if it means we have to go into the darkest caves around.

With the social media explosion and the popularity of e-books, how has this affected your marketing plans for the future?

Are paperbacks still important to you? I am so glad you asked this question. Paperbacks are still most certainly important to me. Even in the age of Nooks, and Kindles, iPads, and Kobos, I still feel the need to hold a paperback or hardback in my hands. There’s something about the nostalgia of print that I don’t think could ever take it away completely. Though I must say that in this diversely digital age we live in, I feel, and have seen that e-books do sell more copies than print. We have so many people that are traveling constantly, working all hours of the day and night, people that have to have one hand free at all times such as women with children and so on that love their digital readers and there is nothing wrong with that. I completely understand why they have become so vastly popular, but do I ever think personally that I’ll completely cut out my printed library? No, definitely not. I love printed books far too much and in truth the more rare they become the harder I’ll hang on to them. My plan for GMTA is to keep on doing what we’re doing now for as long as we can. We do both e-book and print and I intend to keep doing that until they tell me that I can’t!

Totally agree with you there, Kitty! Love my Kindle Fire, but I still have my shelves full of books and if I love something I read on Kindle then I buy it in paperback too!

Right now things are changing very rapidly in the publishing world, so what do you see as the main challenges for authors at the moment?

The main challenge for authors is to stay on top of your game. Promotion is key, also making sure you do not send out a manuscript to any publisher without polishing your work first. Work hard, be creative, and above all never stop dreaming. Things change all the time, even stars fall from the skies but if you continue to hold on to your craft and really believe in what you do, you’ll make it. I know a lot of you work day jobs, night jobs, and even part-time, but just remember to always take the time when you come home to get on your Facebook pages, or your Amazon accounts, Twitter, whatever social networks you may have and peddle your wares!

Has the social media explosion changed the way you market a book and do you think this trend will continue to grow?

I feel this trend will always continue, as long as there are computers there will be social media and trust me as I know for a fact, it works. GMTA did not get its first bestseller by newspaper and magazine adds, indeed no, that first bestseller came from social media and everyday good old plugging on behalf of GMTA and the author. We worked our butts off and it paid off in the end.

What services do you offer and what is your submissions process?

 GMTA is first and foremost a publishing business, but we do offer services to authors outside of that. Our editing department, which has just gone under a huge transformation, offers their services to authors that are not published with GMTA as well. Our cover artist offers her services to authors outside of GMTA and we do blog tours, PR kit creations and book trailers for other authors. Our services are reasonable and our door is always open. For more information you can find us here: http://www.gmtapublishing.com and if you have any questions other than what is answered on the site you can always contact me personally: Kitty D. Bullardgreatmindsthinkaloud@gmail.com and my partner Amber Rendon is available as well at: artist.gmta@gmail.com and you can also reach our HR Manager, James Pierce at: GMTA.HR@gmail.com . One thing I would like to toss out there as well, GMTA is not a vanity press. There are fees when you publish with us but they are minimal. Our website outlines what the charges are and our contracts go into further detail.

How active does an author have to be in terms of self-promotion in today’s challenging environment and is this a radical change as opposed to, say, an author’s role ten years ago?

Extremely! I’ll be candidly honest here because I know there are still a lot of people out there that don’t ‘do’ computers. In this day and age, you almost HAVE to know at least a little about computers and social networking. However, I can say that does not rule out a person’s potential of being a successful author because if you are with a really great publisher you can get the help you need with internet marketing. That is one thing GMTA does that some other publishing companies don’t do. We do a lot of the internet campaigning and marketing for the author and we also help the author understand what we are doing and how they can do it themselves as well. We will even create a Facebook page for the author, including like page, Twitter account, Blog, and Website. Anything an author needs that will help them stand out and get noticed we are prepared to do and we do it for absolutely nothing. But to answer the question in one word, YES you need to be extremely active in self-promotion to be an author. I have even seen big time authors with larger companies that do their own PR. It’s vitally important.

If you were asked to give a new author just one piece of advice that might help what would it be?

Let these readers know you are here and you’re not going away until they read your book and give that feedback good or bad! One thing you should always, always remember as well, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and even when it was done there were people that didn’t like it. You’ll always find your critics, and they will, at times, be harsh but even Tolkien had his critics, so did C.S. Lewis, George R.R. Martin, some of the greatest and most amazing authors in the world had their critics for as far back as we can remember so don’t let that get you upset. There are worse things in life than someone telling you that your book is no good. Trust me, you’ll have just as many or more telling you that it is GREAT and… remember too, opinions are like… well you know the saying. 😉

Sound advice, Kitty and something, in my opinion, all new writers should pin on the wall next to their computers!

Where do you see GMTA in five years’ time?

In five years it is my hope, to see GMTA either become a company that can give the larger publishers a run for their money, or to join forces with a larger publishing company as a brand or imprint. I would love nothing more than to be recognized on a large scale by the likes of Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Random House, Harper Collins, and St. Martin’s Press. We are very interested in heading in that direction and will do all we can to make it happen.

Thank you so much for allowing me to do an interview with you Linn, I have enjoyed your questions and am always open to doing more in the future. Here are more links where you can find GMTA:

Main Website: http://www.gmtapublishing.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GMTALITERARY

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/gmtapublishing/

Tumblr: http://greatmindsthinkaloud.tumblr.com/

Blogger: http://greatmindsthinkaloud.blogspot.com/

Deviantart: http://gmtapublishing.deviantart.com/

WordPress: http://greatmindsliterarycommunity.wordpress.com/

GMTA Review Team Blog: http://gmtaliterarycommunity.blogspot.com/

Other imprints: Polliwog Press (Children’s); Grimoire Press (Horror); Mythos Press (Fantasy/SciFi); Libertine Press (Romance/Erotica)

 

I think it’s clear that GMTA are on a mission and we are going to be hearing a lot more from them in the future! A great chat Kitty, loved every minute and we’ll catch up with you again in the not too distant future!

 

Find out more about Editor and author Linn B Halton:

Website
A loveahappyending.com author
Signed by:http://www.sapphirestarpublishing.com/linnbhalton
Twitter: @LinnBHalton
Facebook: Linn B Halton
Romantic Novelists’ Association page

Amazon.co.uk (buy)
Amazon.com (buy)


Please leave a comment

  1. Nicky Wells Says:

    What a fabulous article ~ I love Kitty’s candour and the insights she shares both into her own business and the publishing industry. Lots of food for thought for published and aspiring authors alike, fabulous! X

  2. Janice Horton Says:

    Very interesting reading. Thank you Kitty for both the insight and for introducing GMTA Publishing.

  3. Sheryl Browne Says:

    Extremely informative – and very eloquently put, too! I love this ‘It takes time to cultivate, much like a grain of sand into a beautiful pearl’. What a wonderful way to describe working at your ms until it shines. Thanks for sharing you knowledge of the publishing industry, Kitty. Some really useful info here for writers just setting out, self-pubbed and pubbed authors. Love it! 🙂

  4. Harvey Black Says:

    The publishing industry is on the move with new technology, like the Kindle and iPad, starting to make its mark. For an author like myself, it is imperative that i keep abreast of the publishing Industry’s current outlook. Articles such as this one are essential. Thank you GMTA.

  5. Kitty Bullard Says:

    Hello to you all! I’d like to thank Linn for doing this interview and I greatly appreciate all the comments! I hope I have indeed given some sound advice and I’d love to hear from any of you personally any time. I’m always open to answering any questions you may have as well. It was wonderful to be hosted by you Linn and I wish you lots of luck on your publishing endeavors! 🙂

    All my best to you all,

    Kitty

  6. anneli Says:

    Thanks for your insights into what’s happening with self-publishing. I agree with you. Best of luck with your publishing business.

  7. Kit Domino Says:

    Excellent article full of advice. Thank you for giving us an insight into GMTA Publishing and wishing you another successful year.

  8. Sue Fortin Says:

    Thank you for such an interesting post with lots of great advice.

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