Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Interview With Glitterati Publisher Marta Hallet

Marta Hallett, the founder and publisher of Glitterati, Inc., a New York book publishing company, has been in book publishing for over 35 years. She was an illustrated book editor and publisher, having worked for Harper & Row, Ziff-Davis, and Grosset & Dunlap, among others. She has had two book producing companies (in the 80s to mid-90s) and then left them to move back to publishing as the publisher of illustrated books for HarperCollins; then as publisher of Smithmark, an imprint at Stewart Tabori & Chang; and then finally as the publisher of Rizzoli International Publications.  When her division was closed (the Rizzoli division),she decided to start her own company.

I got to know Marta when I began working with Bentley Meeker, the author of Light X Design, a wonderful coffee table book featuring photographs of the lighting designer’s celebrated work from Glitterati.

Marta conducted an interview via email with Book Marketing Buzz Blog this week. here is what she had to say:

1.      Marta, as a book publisher, please tell us what is driving sales these days?  A combined effort to promote and market books on the part of the authors, alongside heavily targeted efforts to trade and special sales venues, including booksellers of all sorts, museums, institutions and others.

2.      What types of books do you publish and what kinds of authors are you looking for?  Our books are all gift books with heavy content, usually illustrated…in the categories of art, photography, cookery, design, architecture and general lifestyle.  Our authors are almost always incredibly creative and connected and have a platform:  that platform may not be as an author, but they are usually successful at the highest levels in their fields, so we can marry their successes in various categories to our marketing efforts for their books in the book world.

3.      What do you love most about book publishing?  The talented and creative people with whom I work on a daily basis, which keeps my life interesting as there are always new intellectual horizons for me.

4.      You do a lot of coffee table photography books. Is this a genre that will always be in printed form?  I believe it is the genre the least likely to fall prey to the ebook takeover because although our books are chock full of information they are also “objects” and the context of the subject within a special “package” of presentation make them only half a book in e-book format. The physical nature of the books is part of the appeal.

5.      Which publishing trends of today will stick around tomorrow? That is a hard question!  I believe that people will always read books; but books are in a similar state to that of radio, when television was invented:  they will never disappear, but they will fill a different part of the information landscape than they have in the past.

6.      Is today’s author still expecting to be famous and rich as a result of publishing a book?  Sadly, yes…the expectation is always there and I think because authors are creative and positive people and always presume the happiest outcome for their work.  But that is nothing new.  Authors have always had high expectations and I think that although in many cases they don’t come to fruition, those high expectations also fuel the excitement of the publisher to hope for the best, because miracles do happen in book publishing.  Witness Harry Potter.

7.      If you could change one thing about book publishing, what would it be?  That the availability of books would be greater to the general public through actual presentation of books in stores and so forth, and through review and examination in the mainstream press.

 Do We Really Need More Blogs?

Are we lacking certain voices in the blogosphere?  Is there anything original left to be said?

Unequivocally, yes to all of the above.  I am compelled to recruit myself to write this blog though I have put off its launch for years.  Like all good writers I have a world of ideas and conversations competing in my head, each seeking to get published.  Until recently, procrastination won out.  So did fear, time management, and a million other reasons, uh, excuses.

But I cannot remain silent, on the sidelines any more.  And neither can you if you hope to influence people, make money through writing, or advance your career.  Blogging, at least for now, seems like a good idea, though I always was concerned it would take over my time, where I am constantly thinking about what I’ll write.  Likely that will happen.  Some people fear they will run out of things to say or feel judged by negative feedback or that the blog will become a chore.  Or worse, it won’t get read or used in a way to make money.  My problem is I have too much to say and I want to unleash it all – ideas, resources, opinions, facts and stories.  I will only write about one central theme – book marketing and media exposure, for the purpose of selling books and advancing one’s writing career. Kill me the minute I veer off that mission.  My goal is simple – to inform, enlighten, educate, and inspire authors to embrace their talent and to seek to use it not only for fame or fortune but to promote their writings so they too can inform, inspire, enlighten, and educate others.

I want to be original, unique, first, the best – but I may not always be any of these things.  Billions of words have already been blogged about authors, book marketing book publicity, the news media and the writer’s life.  Too many of us are key-word focused and blinded by social media.  Some are disillusioned and many are anxious to have their breakthrough moment.  I understand where you’re coming from and want to let you know help is on the way.  I will add my voice to the massive chorus that now produces more “stuff” that can be consumed.

So many blogs, so many Web sites.  The truth is out there, if only we can cut through the clutter.  Recent studies show that 53% of American adults did not read a single book last year.  Yet, a record one million new title were published in 2010.

What you will get from this blog is the following:  the unique perspective of someone who was a book editor, acquisition editor, and senior publicist at several book publishing companies, as well as someone who has been in publicity and marketing for the nation’s most respected book promotions firm.  I have over 20 years of experience in helping authors shepherd their prized words to the news media and marketplace.  I also had a book published on a topic I never thought I’d be an expert on – homeowner and condo associations.

I will share what I know, and also hypothesize, ponder, question, protest, rally for, and laugh at the things that are most relevant for promoting and marketing books today.

The blog will publish nearly daily, or on some to-be-determined schedule.  Everyone loves a routine and I plan to give you a reason to keep reading.  I have you, author, in mind when I publish this blog.  I am you.  I have worked with and for you all these years. We need to stick together and make sure we write quality books that people need and want – and will pay for.  We want to contribute to society and to what will be our legacy. We find comfort in the way our letters connect and words flow.  Whether our ink is from a pen, printing press, or digitized delivery system we will always use words to inspire, educate, enlighten, and inform. And empower and inquire.  And, in some cases, to reform, revolutionize, and recreate.

And so we need at least one more blog, BookMarketingBuzzBlog!

Brian Feinblum is the chief marketing officer of Planned Television Arts ( but the views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and are personal and do not reflect the official viewpoints of PTA. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at

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