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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

IceCreamEmpress

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How dare you be known as James Macdonald, Unca Jim! Using your full legal name and everything--so deceptive.
 

Cyia

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Stand by. There's a line-by-line coming.


YAY! Story time with Uncle Jim.

3.gif
 

James D. Macdonald

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Okay, and here we go!

They still haven't figured out the difference between a message board and a blog. O well. At least I'm notable.

Here are some notable quotes from one of the main bloggers on Absolute Write Water Cooler known as James D. Macdonald, “Your Genial Uncle.” His words, not our.
Yeah, that's what I have as a custom user title here at AW. Just like amergina has "powered by the beans of Java" and MichaelZWilliamson has "Combat Word Hacker." I'm usually pretty friendly, too. Just not to scammers.

Quote #1
“If your book flops it’s because your publisher doesn’t need to sell books to make their profit.”
Here's the reference for that, from this very thread, back in 2005: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=232037&postcount=19 Please note that the anonymous poster didn't dare given the link, because he didn't want you to see the context. Here's the full post:

If your book flops it's because your publisher doesn't need to sell books to make their profit.

For your next book please consider a commercial press.

What's the antecedent for "your publisher"? Answer: Tate. So substitute in the antecedent and read the quote:

If your book flops it's because Tate doesn't need to sell books to make their profit.

That's completely true. They already have their profit in hand when you sign that check for $4,000.

As I recommended at the time (and still recommend to all vanity-press authors in general and Tate authors in particular), next time try a commercial press.


LETS look at that statement. If that were true, what about these major flops.
Journey to Justice by Johnnie Cochran. Ballantine paid a
reported $3.5 million.
Behind the Oval Office by Dick Morris. Random House paid an estimated
$2.5 million.
Leading with my Chin by Jay Leno. HarperCollins paid a
reported $4 million.
Surely these big boys would’ve like to sell some books.
Cochrane didn't pay $3.5 million. Morris didn't pay $2.5 million. And Leno didn't pay $4 million. They got paid. In advance. On the other hand, their various publishers didn't pay $3.5, $2.5, and $4 million respectively. Those reported amounts include escalator clauses. I'd explain escalator clauses here, but the anonymous guy doesn't care about them, or any other aspect of real publishing.

All of those authors "sold some books." None of those publishers wound up losing money on those books. And all of the authors came out ahead. Unlike your typical Tate author.

In real publishing, the publisher takes the risk. In vanity publishing, the author takes the risk. That's the difference.
Quote #2
“One thing I’ve always wondered… where and when did Dr. Tate (Founder of Tate Publishing) get his PhD?”
What in the world is this remark about? Personal bullying, character assassination,
getting off base, confusing the issue or all of the above?
None of the above. Dr. Tate is very fond of using that "Doctor." It adds a certain cachet of respectability. Of erudition. Of achievement. It's all over his website.

Respectability, that is, if and only if it's from an accredited institution. If it's from a diploma mill, or if it's a degree that he just decided to award to himself one day, then that too speaks volumes to his personal trustworthiness.

This is no more relevant to publishing than Mr. Macdonald stating that he was a enlisted boatswain mate and then an “officer.” One thing we always wondered………what rank of an officer were you and how is that background information important to what you do now ?
I was a Navy Lieutenant, (O-3), Surface Warfare Specialist. I made Lieutenant in 1982, between my billet as Gunnery Officer on USS Plymouth Rock (LSD-29) and Navigation/Administration Department Head on USS Moinester (FF-1097).

Since that information was listed on a page on my homepage marked "Biography," the reason I posted it should be obvious. I gave the name of my high school too.

These days I don't sign myself as James D. Macdonald, LT, USNR. I don't make, and have never made, any connection from that part of my life to what I'm doing now. Even though being a military officer does imply a certain degree of integrity, loyalty, patriotism, and personal courage.

So, how about it? Where and when did Dr. Tate earn his PhD? That should be a very easy question to answer. It should be right on his biography page. Oh, wait....

Quote #3
“Chris P, here’s a question to ask your nephew: Have you, personally, ever bought a Tate book? Has anyone you know ever bought one? If not, what makes you think that anyone will buy your book?”
Well, A book stands alone from the publishing house. Once it’s released, it up to the buyers to decide which book(s) are a success. The distributors want that book to sell because they make money too. Most people couldn’t tell you who published Harry Potter, but they own the book. This remark is so unprofessional.
Let prove how stupid this remark is by saying, “Have you, personally, ever bought a Macdonald book? Has anyone you know ever bought one? If not, what makes you think that anyone will buy your book?” Duh!
Books don't stand alone (a better word would have been "apart") from their publishing houses. Distribution (another topic that Tate doesn't like to talk about) plays a big part in sales.

Our anonymous friend palms that card very clumsily. Here's how that last sentence should have read if he had been able to think or reason: “Have you, personally, ever bought a Macdonald book? Has anyone you know ever bought one? If not, what makes you think that anyone will buy his next book?”

A more reasonable thing to say would be, "J. K. Rowling is published by Scholastic. Macdonald is also published by Scholastic. I bet he's sold a ton of copies."

Duh.

Quote #4
“You’re right, Dick! I’m not J. K. Rowling nor am I James Patterson. I’m just a shaggy-ass midlist writer. But I’ve paid off my mortgage, put two kids through college, have another two in college right now, and I’ve done it by writing. Writing for publishers who paid me in advance. Who sold books to readers.”
This is pure bully. Very defensive, complete with bad language, ( must be the sailor in him). Well what about your wife’s income? Or did you forget her?
Scammers come across as a bunch of maiden aunts when it comes to "bad language." Another scammer had to retire to her fainting couch when Victoria used the f-word. Seriously, is that the best you guys can do?

I wouldn't have called my remarks defensive. I'd have called them aggressive. And bullying? When I'm standing between inexperienced authors and the guys who want to steal their lunch money? This anonymous one-note has lost sight of, and hopes others won't notice, who the bullies are. I'm not the one sending around fake cease-and-desist orders.

Well, what about my wife's income. You mean my co-author, who shares a byline with me, who is a full-time freelance writer, of whom it is said, (in the entry on her in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, Clute & Grant, editors, Macmillan, 1997, page 287) "all her books have been written in what seems an equal partnership with James D(ouglas) Macdonald"? That wife? No, she doesn't work outside the home, doesn't have a separate income, and doesn't have benefits that I share. All of our royalty checks have both of our names on the Pay To line. Nope, I haven't forgotten her. She's sitting at her word processor not three feet away from me right now.

By the way, she has an earned PhD. University of Pennsylvania, 1981.

Quote #5
“How about you post the answer in public right here?”
This is a common chant from Macdonald. However he refuses to answer any questions about him
I'll give this anonymous coward points: He spelled my name right. But it's really hard to reply when he has comments turned off and refuses to post his name. Is there some question I haven't answered? Go ahead and ask. I'll reply in public, as I always have, to any question asked in public.

The answer I was looking for, by the way, was where and when Dr. Tate got his degree. So, how about it? How about you post the answer in public right here?

But if you read the whole blog,
message board
it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that the original question was so off the subject matter anyway. He confuses and side tracks the issues.
Brain surgeons, in general, don't know a lot about publishing, or about scams and scammers.

Since Dr. Tate keeps trying to gain the public's confidence by referring to himself at "Dr. Tate," you can see that the question isn't off topic in the slightest, no matter how much Dr. Tate would like it to be. It speaks directly to his reputability.

But the issues. Ah, yes, the issues. The issue is that Tate is a vanity press. Have I failed to address that point? I'm sorry. I'll say it again so you can't accuse me of sidetracking: Tate is a vanity press.

We need professional people, not angry, self-appointed, foul mouth tyrants, who are not family oriented.
Are there really professional message board commenters? Do you have to go to school for that? Nor am I angry. I'm amused. Self-appointed? I suppose so. I was unaware there's a Federal Board of Commenters that needed to give me a certificate. Do you happen to have their address? But what's this "family oriented"? Talk about your "off the subject matter"!

Indeed! I'm interested in current events, politics, American society, military history, and a whole lot of other topics. I write about them all. You have a problem with that? You're invited to post your own comments there, too. Comments haven't been turned off at that blog (Note: Making Light is a blog).

Then we found out that he availiable for school visits. Bet that line is long. http://www.sff.net/people/doylemacdonald/visits.htp
I am indeed available. Does your local school need to have a real author come and talk with the kids (and the teachers) about the writing life? I'll need your name and address, of course, and a contract with the school. Travel and lodging up front, plus an honorarium. I like to schedule six months ahead.

Whoever this person is--in addition to being a coward--he's stupid, demented, or a scammer himself. Possibly a combination of all of the above. I base this conclusion on the apparent fact that he has to have read a lot of my comments to gather his paltry ammunition, but still hasn't learned anything about publishing.

------------------

So, Dr. Dick, where and when did you get your degree?
 
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stormie

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Tate said:
Let prove how stupid this remark is by saying, “Have you, personally, ever bought a Macdonald book? Has anyone you know ever bought one? If not, what makes you think that anyone will buy your book?” Duh!
When a "publisher" uses the word "Duh!" when refuting something said or written, I stop right there. Case closed.
 
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Calla Lily

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And Uncle Jim rides off into the sunset, alongside his lovely wife and co-author, knowing the income from their books are still paying the bills. At the bottom of the screen are thousands of writers helped by Uncle Jim, applauding and cheering him on.

Srsly. :Hail:
 

AC Crispin

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Jim, careful, or Tate will start demanding that you come visit their publishing offices in Oklahoma. They got really annoyed when Victoria and I declined to do so. They offered to pay our way and everything. They couldn't seem to get it through their heads that we might not want to fly to Oklahoma on their dime, be put up in a hotel by them, and dependent on their goodwill as they escorted us around their offices to meet their staff.

And they told me they did a "diligent" search for any books by A.C. Crispin and couldn't find a single one that had ever been published.

Research is definitely not Tate's strong suit.

-Ann C. Crispin
 

Alessandra Kelley

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I wonder if "family oriented" is a code phrase, one of those things that's meaningful in a particular subculture. I've seen it used in combination with "Christian-based" (something Tate uses on its website) to clue in evangelical Protestants that here is someone trustworthy in a wicked and profane world.

It's a nasty way to play on a subculture's mistrust of outsiders and tendency to overtrust insiders.
 

MichaelZWilliamson

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I wonder if "family oriented" is a code phrase, one of those things that's meaningful in a particular subculture. I've seen it used in combination with "Christian-based" (something Tate uses on its website) to clue in evangelical Protestants that here is someone trustworthy in a wicked and profane world.

It's a nasty way to play on a subculture's mistrust of outsiders and tendency to overtrust insiders.

There is a subculture of Christian "family" groups that will refuse to buy a book over a word like "ass" or even a kiss between non-married adults. A small subculture, but it does exist.
 

Calla Lily

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It is indeed, Alessandra. Predators aren't only found in jungles.


I meant to say earlier: Can anyone fathom a legitimate, commercial publisher using its blog to launch a convoluted, unprofessional personal attack on an author--any author?

Incredible.
 

Marian Perera

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And they told me they did a "diligent" search for any books by A.C. Crispin and couldn't find a single one that had ever been published.

On Saturdays, I work in a used bookstore. Our stock includes books by A. C. Crispin (Star Trek and V novelizations). I have yet to see a book published by Tate in the store.
 

IceCreamEmpress

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There is a subculture of Christian "family" groups that will refuse to buy a book over a word like "ass" or even a kiss between non-married adults. A small subculture, but it does exist.

I once saw a review on Goodreads of a book by Harold Bell Wright (a huge bestseller of the turn of the 20th century, and an explicitly Christian writer) that warned people not to read it because of the shocking language.

The shocking language was, I believe, "Goldurnit."
 

James D. Macdonald

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I meant to say earlier: Can anyone fathom a legitimate, commercial publisher using its blog to launch a convoluted, unprofessional personal attack on an author--any author?

I must mention that this latest isn't from a blog that's officially sponsored by Tate. It could be anyone. It's just that the only thing the Anonymous Coward can think of doing in that particular post is defend Tate. In a particularly ham-handed and borderline-illiterate way.

(Tate already tried to take on Yog's Law earlier this year; see my earlier line-by-line on their mendacious twaddle.)
 

Kyra Wright

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Let prove how stupid this remark is by saying, “Have you, personally, ever bought a Macdonald book? Has anyone you know ever bought one? If not, what makes you think that anyone will buy your book?” Duh
Yes, I have bought a Macdonald book. Yes, I know others who have. I've found many books by AWers in my local B&N (in Omaha, NE). I doubt that all those authors live in Omaha, which only means that their books were published with legitimate publishers who can get those books into the hands of readers across the nation.

So what was this blogger's point again? ;)
 

Old Hack

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I must mention that this latest isn't from a blog that's officially sponsored by Tate. It could be anyone.

The Publishing Facts blog was started in March of this year, and has just six posts to its credit, the most recent of which is the one which Jim has so carefully deconstructed for us.

The third post is titled, "Another blog we like" which is a bit odd as they haven't "liked" any other blogs yet, so can't like "another". Anyway: the blog that Publishing Facts likes belongs to one Terry Cordingley who, according to his Facebook and Twitter profiles, is the Associate Director of Marketing at Tate Publishing.

The fourth post is another brief post, and links to The Write Agenda; the fifth one states, without a hint of irony, that

Professional review / research sites, do NOT engage in character assassinations. They do NOT engage in trashing their competitors or state things that are NOT facts.

If you search for links to Publishing Facts, one of the links that comes up is an article on The Write Agenda which first appeared on a website called The Christian Storyteller.

When I first found that website it worked fine for me, but now I can't access it so I can't supply any links. But I had a bit of a click around there, and I found quite a few authors with books featured there (authors have to pay to be featured there: so much for Yog's Law, eh?). All of the books and authors I looked at were published by Tate.

I can't say for certain that the Publishing Facts blog is written by anyone from Tate, but it does seem to have a connection with, or bias in favour of, Tate Publishing. And it does spout a lot of nonsense about publishing, too.
 

Momento Mori

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I find it interesting that the "Publishing Facts" blog were promoting The Write Agenda way back on 28th April. That must have been quite early support for it: http://publishingfacts.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/we-like-thewriteadgenda/

Whichever anonymous Tate supporter started Publishing Facts also seems to be unaware of their own hypocrisy. In this post from 30th May:

http://publishingfacts.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/what-in-the-world-is-going-on/

They say:

Publishing Facts Blog:
Professional review / research sites, do NOT engage in character assassinations. They do NOT engage in trashing their competitors or state things that are NOT facts.

And then 2 paragraphs later say:

Publishing Facts Blog:
An eye opening factual web-site that is doing a lot of research and fact-finding about these web-sites is http://thewriteagenda.wordpress.com/. I encourage every writer and author to subscribe to this web-site. Get educated with facts not fiction.
For the complete list of people and web-sites that is being researched go to,
Propaganda-watch-list

So basically, they don't like sites that "trash" unless they actually like and support the "trash" being spewed.

How terribly Christian of them.

MM
 

brianm

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If you search for links to Publishing Facts, one of the links that comes up is an article on The Write Agenda which first appeared on a website called The Christian Storyteller.

When I first found that website it worked fine for me, but now I can't access it so I can't supply any links. But I had a bit of a click around there, and I found quite a few authors with books featured there (authors have to pay to be featured there: so much for Yog's Law, eh?). All of the books and authors I looked at were published by Tate.

The Christian Storyteller is run by Leon Mentzer, a Tate author. He's registered as Leon R. Mentzer on AW and has made numerous posts in support of Tate in this thread.

He's also the person that gave Tate its "Best Christian Publisher of the Year Award 2006" when he was a newbie Tate author.

Judging from the writing, I'm guessing Leon Mentzer is also behind the Publishing Facts website.

~Brian Parkinson~
 
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Rachel77

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And they told me they did a "diligent" search for any books by A.C. Crispin and couldn't find a single one that had ever been published.

I type "A.C. Crispin" in Google, Amazon, and B&N, and I get books right away. Took me all of fifteen seconds, too. I'd love to know what definition of "diligent" they were using.