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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