Discussion and links regarding potentially problematic publishers, agents, writing contests, etc.
While perusing the internet, I came across this -
Someone said there was a discussion about it here, but it seems to have been lost.
So...I'm bringing up the subject again.
It looks good, but if it was in this forum, then there must be something wrong. What can you tell me about it?
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:
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:
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.
Hmmmm.... wow....thanks, Deb.
I'll keep my wits about me. It did look like a "too good to be true" organization.
I am finding there are a TON of self-publishing/partnership publishing companies out there.
For my poetry and short devotionals, I'm thinking that e-publishing will probably be the best route, but for my children's books and novels, I'd prefer going the traditional route.
After reading your posts, I am discouraged. My book is presently being published by Tate. However, I don't have to sell 5,000 books anymore it's 1,000.
What do I do now? Any suggestions?
I have been a Faithwriters member for awhile but have not been a part of Forum. I hope you don't mind my joining in this post.
Hi Roseann. Of course you can join in the conversation. Welcome.
I am VERY glad to hear it's "just" 1,000 books now, but even that is a lot. However, that is an improvement.
At this stage, you would have paid your publishing fee/partnership fee, so I don't think there's a great deal you can do with this book unless you want to go for a hard fight. So I would recommend treating it as your first experience and doing your best to promote your book and, generally, make the most of it. It probably depends how far into the publishing process you are. However, if your book is published with Tate, I wouldn't recommend signing on for book number 2.
One thing I would strongly recommend doing is to have the proof you receive from Tate checked by an actual book editor who will check it for everything (not just proof reading). It may be too late to do that, but if you can, PLEASE do that. You've invested a lot of money into this book already, so don't rely solely on their editing.
Unfortunately, I've heard some VERY disturbing things about Tate in recent weeks. The latest threads on the Absolute Write forum, with a link to a sound clip from a recent staff meeting, have left me with even more concern. I do recommend reading this huge discussion in their forum starting from here:
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthr ... 92&page=71
I've started with a page near the end, where the bit about the recent changes and the not so happy campers working there has been posted. However, if you can cope with a mammoth read, start that thread from the beginning. The person who uses the name "Teller of Truth" is an ex-employee.
Basically, as more and more people are discovering that they can publish their own books (even if the standard is fairly poor for many), companies like Tate are starting to hurt.
AND any publishing company that has a confidentiality agreement with their employees regarding what goes on in the business is a concern all by itself. What do they have to hide?
By the way, the recording of the meeting was by an employee (thank God for voice recorders), and was May 31 this year.
Apparently the people Mr Tate was wanting to find had breached confidentiality. They didn't come forward, so he fired twenty-five people instead.
Most telling comment made by Mr Tate was this (referring to what his staff have to handle now and talking about plans for the future). they won't need to: "deal with the BALONEY OF AUTHOR INTERACTION."
That's how much Tate Publishing cares about their authors. He also goes on to say something about basically having their time wasted dealing with "an author's complaints."
He literally said "baloney of author interaction."
I know this is a very old post on Tate (or TAKE as my wife and I refer to them after looking over their contracts) but still think it is another nail that is needed in Tate's coffin.
Tate Publishing is the only full-royalty mainline publisher (we are not a self publisher in any way) still considering unsolicited submissions let alone placing resources in an unknown or first-time author's work.
Tate Publishing does not charge a fee for publishing and absorbs all the cost of production and distribution of a book (nearly $30,000 per title). However, we do require any author who signs with us to have full-time professional book marketing and publicist representation. (Outside professional publicists cost anywhere from $18,000 - $120,000 per year.)
If you are currently not working with a publicist then you do have the option to work with our publicity firm that we have on retainer for the life of your contract. They charge $20,000 per year, but we will absorb the cost for that as well. You are simply required to pay a one-time initial refundable retainer fee for this publicist of $3,990. All of that information will be explained to you thoroughly if in fact your book is accepted for publication, but do let us know if you have any questions at this time.
Toll Free: 888-361-9473 Fax: 405-376-4401
127 E Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, Oklahoma 73064-4421
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for anyone taken by these wolves in sheep clothing feeding on goodhearted Christians.
Seriously? WOW.... I'm in the WRONG business
Thanks for posting that, Jimbo.
They aren't a self publisher. That's right. They are a subsidy/vanity press company in "disguise." I don't mind a subsidy press publisher providing a service to writers, as long as they are up front about who they are, and provided the author knows what their options are. Most of these companies are very up front about the way they work. It's up to the author to explore their other options.
Tate basically says they receive manuscripts, unsolicited, for consideration, but the reality is that if you submit a manuscript (no matter how bad), it will probably get the acceptance letter. People have tested this in the past by submitting nonsense. If you submit, and are willing to pay the price, you will probably be accepted.
And believe me, to provide the service they provide, it does not cost anywhere near that amount of money. For a big traditional publisher, yes, maybe for their releases, but for what Tate provides, no way.
Okay, posting in this thread again because if we can make someone give a little more thought before signing a contract (with ANYONE) then it's worth keeping this thread alive.
In the past, I have been sent books to review by authors with Tate. They have always left me heartbroken for lost potential. There may be some very good Tate books out there, but the ones I've seen have not been in that category. They may have been quite good if the author had sought professional structural editing before publication, but they didn't. And it showed.
A couple of weeks ago, someone approached me to write an endorsement for their new novel. I said I would be willing to read their manuscript before writing an endorsement. I won't write one based on an overview or preview. Professionally, I have to be careful. After saying I would look at it, I found out the author was going with Tate. Still, I hoped for the best.
Anyway, I got through about 80 pages of the manuscript. The author has a reasonably creative idea and the story has potential. Unfortunately, that potential won't be reached because it needs major structural editing. I felt really bad saying I couldn't endorse it based on what I read, and said if there was time before the book actually went to press, it would be really good to employ a structural editor. Also offered to give a broad overview of the general areas that need work (eg POV, telling, weak character development, fairly unrealistic dialogue.)
The author took me up on the offer, so I sent her a four page overview of what needed work. Just got the response, and it was a very nice note saying that not everyone is going to like every story or writing style.
In other words, the author missed the point.
And this is how Tate works. They get authors who don't actually know what's wrong with their writing. So they think Tate has done a great job editing their manuscript because they got the typos (or at least most of them) and made a few suggestions here and there. They are so connected to their book that they don't realize that unless it was really good to start with, most of the structural problems are still going to be there once the typical Tate edit has been done. I've just seen the proof of that.
Now if Tate were offering a reasonably inexpensive service to get books into print, with add-ons for editing, etc., like Xulon, I would respect that. If that's the only way someone is going to get their book into print, and they don't have the ability to do the pre-press on their own, then it's a way to do it and you know what you are paying for. With Tate, that's not the case. Not if the manuscript I just read is indicative of their standard of editing.
So, please, dear eager authors, do your research. If, after researching, you decide that Tate is right for you, then that's fine. It's your money, obviously, to do with as you wish, and you may have a good experience with them. BUT PLEASE, consider your options first and do your research.
Here are some sites/discussions to get you started:
Top 30 Complaints and Reviews about Tate (Consumer Affairs Website)
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/misc/tat ... shing.html
Goodreads Discussion Group
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/12 ... a-decision
And the Ultimate Discussion - Absolute Write (You may want to skip a lot of pages and stick more to the ones nearer the end just to keep the information fresh)
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/sho ... .php?t=992
Like I said, I have no problem with people using subsidy press options (like Xulon and others) provided they know what they are signing up for. For some people, this is the easy option to get into print. However, if a company promotes itself as choosing your manuscript, and then hits you for a fee (even if they call it a marketing cost now), it may be best to look elsewhere, like an obvious subsidy press company instead or do it yourself through CreateSpace.
With 1 million books published last year alone, please take the time to do everything you can to make your book shine.
I've got a friend of a friend who was referred to me to help him see if his book is publishable. He's been talking to an editor for a small local publishing company that is pretty much a vanity press. They have like 4 books published and they are not quite in the same market as his, not even close. His is a fantasy adventure novel, their books are chick lit.
Anyway, I'm still reading through it (bits at a time), and it looks like it has some good ideas, and he knows it needs editing. He's talking about selling his motorcycle to have the money to publish it. I keep seeing red flags everywhere, but he's not totally listening to me. But he said he would run everything by me. I told him to read ALL the fine print before signing anything.
I think, with work, his book has potential. I'm not sure I have the time/energy to be the one to do anything beyond a basic proofreading of it (it's a pretty long book). I think he will need someone to go over it with a fine tooth comb. While not a Christian book, it is family friendly (no sex scenes).
Well let's hope he listens to you eventually or gets a revelation for himself. I really hope he doesn't sell his motorbike.
Yeah, me too. When I said, "Are you sure it's worth selling your motorcycle?"
He said he doesn't have his license for it any more and doesn't ride it. I just don't want him to waste his money on a company that might not be a good fit for his book. I asked him if they do more than just print/publish it. If they do any editing/how much, if they promote it - more than on their own site, etc. I even copy/pasted one of your posts from here to share with him about some of the dangers out there
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