Yvonne, we have unfortunately lost that thread, but there is a lot of information available to help you make a decision regarding them. It's a case of being aware what they offer, and then weighing whether this way of publishing is something that would suit you.
Tate is really a type of subsidy press publisher (even though they dispute that). They may have changed, but I don't think so. The difference to a straight subsidy publisher is that they work on a "partnership" agreement, but they have been criticized in the past for not being immediately upfront (and transparent) about that fact.
Basically, unless things have changed, authors are invited to submit their books for consideration for publication. I suspect most get invited to publish with them (but that's just a hunch based on some of the Tate published books I've read for review). However, to be fair, Tate say they don't accept them all. So we will give them the benefit of the doubt on that. I suspect, though, it's more a case that most of the authors choose not to sign with them.
The author is then contacted to let them know their book is accepted, and unless things have changed these days, that's when they also find out that it is going to cost them about $4000 to be published. However, on Tate's website they say they do not require any money from their authors for any aspect of production
. Even so, I suspect that the wording of that may be the key. They may not charge for production, but the cost may be allocated as post-production marketing, etc.
The agreement is (again, to my understanding in the past) that once a certain number of books have been sold, then the author will receive their $4000 back. However, that's easier said than done.
So unless things have changed, if you use Tate, just be aware that they are not a traditional publisher (regardless of what they may say). They will provide the service, but you will be required to pay a partnership amount of $4,000 and will not get that back unless you sell quite a lot of books (I believe it's around 5,000--which is not likely for most authors).
But the thing that REALLY bugged me about this company a few years ago was when they promoted themselves with this award:http://www.tatepublishing.com/news/index.php?n=1
It was a press release saying they were awarded the Christian Publisher of the Year award from the National Christian Storytellers Association. I know when I saw that, I thought, "Huh? Better than Zondervan or any one of the other publishing houses?" Something didn't ring true. So I went searching.
It was quite hard to find this organization, but I finally discovered that the award was from the gentleman who owns this site:http://www.christianstoryteller.com/
It has developed quite a lot over the years, but at the time of the award, this gentleman, Leon Mentzer, only promoted Tate books. Now there are some other authors promoting their books through his site, but there are still a lot of Tate books as well. The thing is, Leon published his books with Tate and apparently did reasonably well. So the award is basically from a happy client.
I'm not saying that the owner of the website is actually connected with Tate in a business sense, or that there was any payment for the award, so don't get me wrong. But I remember thinking at the time that it would be like Finesse Writing & Editing Service giving an award to FaithWriters for outstanding service to Christian writers. I do believe that, but my connection to FaithWriters would make any award from me a little biased (and lacking in any real value).
This is a very long discussion on the Absolute Write Message Boards (from 2004 through to 2010). Browse through the discussion and weigh the opinions given. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/sho ... cca0&t=992
There's no problem with anyone using Tate, provided they're aware of what is involved with that service. As with any publishing decision, ultimately it comes down to what best suits the author. If an author chooses Tate, they have to be prepared to accept that they probably won't get their $4,000 partnership payment back, but apparently the royalties are quite good (according to the Tate website).
Footnote: After reading some of the more recent comments on the Absolute Write discussion on this (on the last page), an author who signed with Tate explains that she was eventually able to break her contract and get her $4000 back after many hard discussions. Basically, one of the things she said was that although Tate say they only accept a very small percentage of books for publication (3%), this particular lady said that about six or seven of her friends also received acceptance letters and contracts. So that makes the probability of that happening, with such a small percentage of acceptances, fairly unlikely.
Also, the author of those most recent comments said in passing that her husband wrote something in five minutes, submitted it, and it was accepted.
Food for thought.