The Tate Publishing Question

Posted on March 28, 2011. Filed under: Authors, Manuscript Submission, Publishing | Tags: , , , , , |

It’s been a while since I visited the question of Tate Publishing, and now I’m bringing it back up with a twist. I know a lot of people out there were interested in my original post talking about Tate, so I’m going to revamp it with updated information and begin a series of posts on Tate.

For this, I’ve brought in a Tate author, Jennifer Pereyra. Jennifer has followed my blog a bit, especially when she found my original post. At the time, she was just beginning her relationship with Tate and starting the publishing process on what will be her first children’s book. She was a little disappointed to see my negative views on Tate and made a point of writing a comment about her experiences with the company.

Thus, Jennifer and I began a series of comment and subsequently email communications that have proved enlightening to me in their detail. I feel that I’m getting to see a side of Tate that few people see outside of those who work with the company or are published through the company. For that, I have to thank Jennifer, whose communication has been honest, straightforward, and pleasant.

In the interest of full disclosure, I spoke with Jennifer and asked her if she would be willing to interview with me. Her answer was a resounding yes, and I will be breaking up the interview into pieces. I’m going to give you a brief overview of what most people already know about Tate, followed by the Q&A I had with Jennifer concerning her experiences with the company. Then I will change pace a little and tell you Jennifer’s story, how she came to write a children’s book, and her background. The last bit I’ll post is a review of her new book, Mommy and Daddy Work To Make Some Dough.

If at any time you would like to offer some questions about Tate, some commentary of your own, or any other dissenting opinions, please feel free to post them into the comments section of the blog. I’m also interested in getting a round table discussion going with Jennifer or some of the Tate employees and those people who are either dissenters or curious about Tate. If you’d like to participate in this, please feel free to send me an email at the address I’ve posted in the contact me section of the blog.

Now, with that said, let’s begin looking at Tate Publishing. This post will be an overview of the company and their practices. I’m no expert, and I am trying to be as objective as possible while pulling from different online resources. Please be aware that I am in no way employed by Tate or published through the company. I’m simply a person who is curious and trying to find the most up-to-date information about the company on the off chance that I ever decide to publish one of my works-in-progress.

First, I know that Tate has been criticized in the past for its author investment practice. On many websites, forums, and blogs, people have complained that this investment makes Tate a vanity publisher. I’ve read several author blogs that state quite firmly that no “traditional” publisher would ever require an author to pay to publish his works.

The argument here is that if a publisher likes your book enough, he will publish it. Simple as that. No author investment required.

This is my opinion, but I think there’s a bit of a problem with this scenario. Unfortunately publishing today has been changing. Instead of having publishers eager to see new names that might one day become best-sellers, there are more and more publishers balking at the idea that they should publish a no-name author who has never been seen in print before. Why? Because public opinion is king in this industry.

If you’re a no-name author, the chances that you will write something spectacular enough to get you listed on the best-sellers list are slim to none. That sounds harsh, and I’m criticizing myself here, but most authors today are unfortunately required to write to the audience instead of writing for themselves. If you want to write a story, most publishers will evaluate it based on whether it will sell to the mass of readers. That’s it. No consideration for the caliber of writing, no consideration to the uniqueness of a plot, nothing. Now, I can’t speak for publishers in general as I’m not affiliated with a publisher in any way, shape, or form, but it seems to me that the mass of books being published today are either big name, well-known authors who have a huge following, or concepts that are similar to the biggest trends in publishing right now (i.e. vampire fiction for young adult readers).

It’s obvious, isn’t it? Several big name authors have already begun “presenting” works by unknown authors. James Patterson, for example, “presents” several books that are not his own writing. This marketing ploy to get new authors out there sometimes flops because readers have recognized the way these things are phrased on the covers of books. But the point is not that it’s happening; the point is that this is one of the few ways unknown authors are finding to get recognized enough to get on the reading map, so to speak.

With that said, is it any wonder that more and more unknown authors are turning to self-publishing and e-books? Why wouldn’t they want to go with a publisher that promises to treat them fairly (as Tate does in their author FAQs) and work hard to get them noticed in the dog-eat-dog world that is the publishing market these days?

The only thing I can think of keeping people from flocking to Tate is the author investment. And I think that’s the way Tate wants it. With so much information out there claiming Tate as a vanity press or charging exorbitant amounts* for their authors, it’s not surprising that more people aren’t polishing up rough drafts to send in to the company.

Instead, countless authors are sending their manuscripts to agents and publishers, accepting the rote responses that tell them they aren’t worth the agent’s time or publisher’s money. And Tate, on the other hand, gets to sift through its smaller slush pile at a more leisurely pace, picking and choosing its authors with care as it considers what authors and books are going to be worth putting in a substantial investment of time and money to publish.

The author investment aside, Tate is also different from traditional publishers in another way. The company is doing everything right, as they claim on their website. Competing in the publishing world is a matter of marketing and placement. So Tate has started their own marketing via short TV commercials. Instead of simply allowing their books to go into a bookstore where they may or may not be seen, promoted, and sold, Tate puts money into marketing campaigns for the author, showing commercials, facilitating book signing events, and finding other ways to promote their authors.

On its website, Tate also claims to have good relationships with all of the big distributors. Ingram, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders – all are listed as companies that Tate has relationships with. While I don’t know the process of getting a book placed in a store, I do know that working with someone who already has relationships in place with the store I want my book in is a bit of a comfort to me. I somehow doubt that vanity publishers and self-publishers offer you quite the same deal.

Tate Publishing states that they will give each author a competent team of editors, marketers, and whatever else they believe is needed to get that author into the wider world of published works. I’ve read on other websites that many people don’t “see” Tate books listed on major bookseller websites, and I haven’t done enough research on that to comment. However, I can’t imagine a company that has won awards for being one of the best companies to work for in Oklahoma being so successful without practicing what it preaches at least to an extent.

So now I’ll end this little post by asking you not to lambast me with negative comments. If you have thoughts about this, please feel free to comment, and I will respond; however, if your only aim is to tout how terrible Tate is or vice versa, please do so in a structured, considerate manner. Most of the above consists of my own opinions mixed in with the facts about Tate Publishing, and I would appreciate if you read this post in that light.

I am going to be posting the Q&A with Jennifer Pereyra tomorrow for your reading pleasure. I hope you’ll all be looking forward to that. Again, if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Jennifer has also been very responsive to the comments here, and I’m sure she would be happy to answer any questions that are not already answered in her interview.

Thanks again for reading, and I hope you do your own research into this and other publishing opportunities that come your way.

Rae

 

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7 Responses to “The Tate Publishing Question”

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Rae

I think you have done an excellent job of taking the facts about Tate and editorializing them. I particularly enjoyed your comments about how difficult it is to even get noticed by agents/large houses. Particularly for those that write in the children’s picture book genre, unless you are a celebrity with built in marketability, well, good luck. Unlike so many other posts out there, you truly took the time to seek an understanding of the company’s business practices and I believe you have done a great service to your readers in sharing this unbiased opinion.

Jen

Thanks for the post. I am looking forward to future posts on this particular topic. You mentioned about how some people have commented that Tate is not listed on major websites, but I haven’t heard that. What I have seen is that Tate isn’t found in and brick & mortar stores. At least that is where I have seen the comments on the net gravitate toward.

I’m currently in a discussion about Tate at a place called Autonomy.com where I have my book listed for other authors to review. As it stands, Tate has accepted my manuscript. I’ve been communicating with a woman there who has been very helpful, though I’ve left a few messages to return her calls and cannot seem to reconnect. I want to speak directly with them so I can ask questions and get answers from them personally.

When it comes to self publishing, you can purchase marketing packages that will do similar, if not the same, as what Tate does, but it will cost more and it won’t last as long. Self publishing marketing campaigns last usually only 3 months, but you can spend more kidney for longer periods of time.

I’m looking forward to your next post.

Thanks for your objective comments on Tate Publishing. In the interest of full disclosure, I am the associate director of marketing at Tate Publishing. I usually don’t comment on posts like this, but thought I would chime in and talk about my own personal experience as an employee. Nobody asked me to write this, nor do they know I am writing this (yet). I have worked for Tate Publishing for nearly fives years, and it is, without a doubt, the best place I have ever worked. Prior to working for Tate, I worked as a news reporter, and I have worked for companies like CBS and Westwood One. As an old reporter, my reputation and personal integrity are everything, and I would not sacrifice either for any employer.

This is a Christian company, and each Monday we open our staff meetings with a prayer. It is not unusual for us to pray for other staff members and for authors who are having any number of personal problems, such as an illness in the family. It’s just what we do. The authors I work with aren’t just my clients; I consider some of them to be good friends.

We have a great team of people in the marketing staff, and we work extremely hard every day for our authors. My day starts at 9 am and I frequently leave the office at 6 pm and continue to work from home until about 10 pm. No, I’m not forced to work these hours. I do it because I enjoy the work and want to do the best possible job for my authors.

If I have an issue or a problem at work, I can email the president of the company, or walk to the other side of the building and talk to the company’s founder. They are never too busy to talk to their employees, and they don’t make us feel like we are working “for” them, but rather “with” them. This is truly a family business.

The message that is conveyed in every meeting, in every email to every employee is “customer service.” It is engrained into our company’s culture. In fact, Tate Publishing gives awards to employees who have gone above and beyond their regular job descriptions to provide exceptional customer service.

You are correct; I can’t guarantee an author will be a bestseller. In fact, I can’t guarantee any certain number of book sales. No publisher can. I work with authors who have sold tens of thousands of books, and others who have sold 1,000 books. It all depends on the book, the author, and how hard they work to help us market and promote their books. There are no guarantees in the publishing industry, and the business is changing every day. Fortunately, this is a company that not only quickly adapts to change, but is a trend-setter in the industry. We were one of the first publishers to offer ebook versions of all of our titles, and many of our children’s titles include free audio book downloads. The first question I was asked at my job interview was “how well can you handle change?”

The president and founder don’t mention it outside of the office, but they make numerous contributions to charities, ministries and local schools. One school in the area ran out of paper for the school year, and the company donated enough paper to seem them through to the end of the year. Unlike other companies, they don’t issue press releases to pat themselves on the back (even though as a PR guy I think they should).

Those are just my own (personal) view points of Tate Publishing.

Hi and I would like to say I have been following all this discussion about Tate as they publlished a book for me and I only have good things to say about Tate’s staff and the process they took me through. I am glad to hear some more positive comments about them as they have been getting smashed on teh internet from people who have not worked with them. Thinking about..reading about and finally doing it..Getting published is like and the publishing world is like a gian jungle!!! Tate has helped me throught it.

Hello All

Terry, you should also post a link to your blog because I started following you before submitting to Tate and found your blog to be informative and applicable to all authors/aspiring authors!

I also thought I’d let everyone know that Rae just posted her official interview with me.

Find it here https://rrbookwyrm.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/introducing-jennifer-pereyra-and-her-take-on-tate/

I don’t have any particular issue with Tate Publishing. I am sure the company does what they claim they will do, and are honest all the way around.

However, I know several people who published books through Tate Publishing. Even though I know them, I have no interest in buying or reading their book! They are not famous or even well known in any particular fields of study. One of them wrote a book about spirituality. She has no theological education or background of any sort. She is not famous even locally. This is merely a book of her opinions! Why on earth would I pay money to read this? It is a vanity publication, nothing more.

Other than that, I don’t care who publishes a book – if the book interests me, I will buy it.

I am also a new Tate author less than two months from releasing my first book, The Angel Crest Deception. I can say that Tate has always delivered on promises and deadlines within their production process. They have always treated me professionally and with a wonderful Christian spirit.

Having first researched Tate over six years ago, I have had the time to witness Tate go from a very questioned and debated company to a model that other publishers are increasingly starting to emulate.

In this quickly changing and fast moving publishing industry, Tate has been on the cutting edge of trends and market forecasting with continued success. Now, other companies are offering the same kind of services that was once considered “questionable” or “unethical”. The truth is, imitation is the biggest form of flattery. After many years of being in business Tate is now being imitated. They have been able to withstand the test of time and criticism and now are reaping the rewards of imitation. Kudos, Tate.

As I said, I’ve been watching Tate for over six years. Has everything they’ve tried been flawless? No. I would even go as far as to say that above the company’s desire to catapult an author to success, is an equal desire to make money. Let me be clear. Does Tate believe that every, or even many of the authors they sign will become well known, end cap dwelling success stories? I don’t think so. It is a simple and respectful fact that they want to make money – but this can be said for every publisher. Tate has just developed a new model that uses more of a “cast the net” method of acquisition than a “fly fishing” approach.

In contrast, one must wonder how many brilliant authors gave up on submitting manuscripts on their 99th try when it was their 100th cast that would finally pull in the “big fish”. How many amazing stories have not seen the light of day because the large companies do not accept unsolicited work? Tate may just be a saving grace for the literary well. Well, Tate is not a big fish. Nor, do I think they are trying to be. But then again, after continued awards, accolades and successes, what will people be writing about Tate Publishing six years from now? Only time will tell.

In the mean time, I will enjoy and appreciate the education, relationships and mutual benefits of signing with Tate Publishing. Happy writing!


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