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Tate Publishing

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

victoriastrauss

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I'm told Tate justifies the $4000 by claiming they spend $20,000+ of their own money per title and are therefore recouping only a portion of their investment. I've not seen this in writing from Tate, so take that as the small-town gossip it might be.
This used to be in their intake literature--the stuff you got when you sent them an inquiry or a manuscript submission. However, that was when they were still describing their fees as being for production, and wanted writers to believe that their "investment" was just a fraction of the cost of publication.

I haven't seen their intake literature since they switched to describing their fees as publicist fees, so I don't know if they're still making this claim--but it wouldn't surprise me.

- Victoria
 

James D. Macdonald

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...Tate justifies the $4000 by claiming they spend $20,000+ of their own money per title and are therefore recouping only a portion of their investment.

...they switched to describing their fees as publicist fees...
,

Does anyone else find it remarkable that while the excuse for charging money changed, the size of the fee stayed the same? If they decided that the "publicity" story was played out, and they started charging a Cheese and Crackers Fee, I bet that it would still be four thousand bucks.

There's an old scam called The Pigeon Drop. It works like this: A scammer, holding a paper bag, walks up to a citizen. The scammer says words to the effect of, "This bag holds a million dollars in cash! I want you to hold it for me. But to prove you're an honest man, you have to give me $100." The citizen gives the scammer $100, the scammer gives the citizen the paper bag. The scammer says, "Wait here while I pop home for tea. I'll be right back." Hours pass. The citizen, waiting for the scammer, finally opens the bag to find it contains nothing but old newspaper. He's been left holding the bag.

You'd think this would never work, but it does, every day. Observe this video, and see how closely the con-artist's lines resemble Tate's pitch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ur3nMiP-XV0

I'm not saying that Tate is a scammer and his operation an open fraud. But I am saying that all authors should avoid them like they'd avoid deadly sin, a flat tire, and a rained-out baseball game.
 

M. Scott

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Just an update. Tate sent an e-mail regarding publishing my work. It was clear they'd at least read it, although they didn't provide any criticism, just compliments.

The $3,990 publicist fee was listed partway down the message, as anticipated. In wrote back to inform them I much preferred a royalty system, that way those involved got paid for copies of my book sold, which is a much better motivator than a one-time fee. I added that I wanted a contract revision eliminating the fee, switching to a royalty-based system.

My guess is I won't get the revision I asked for. Hence, I shall keep trying for the traditional route. At least I get fulls and partials requested, even if my patience runs thin sometimes :) .
 

M. Scott

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They got back to me fairly fast here. Tate Publishing wants me to go with the retainer fee, which is apparently refundable after selling 5,000 copies, because they want everyone who signs with them to work with a publicist. I wrote back saying I would be fine with a publicist, but not risking a retainer fee.

Yes, I know that makes it sound I lack faith in my work. Still, if they want a fee, it indicates THEIR lack of faith in my work...that is, assuming the quality of my work is even the issue under debate, not their policy of always wanting that retainer fee.

My guess is that no change will be considered.
 

M. Scott

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Alright, this is what I got back from them. I'm not sure why they're addicted to exclamation points, but whatever.


-I got a call from Tate telling me their attorney looked at this thread and wanted excerpts from their e-mails removed due to a confidentiality clause.-




I get the feeling most of their messages are copy-and-paste jobs with a few small revisions.
 
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JulieB

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Yeah, and I bet he hires his own publicist, not one his publisher says he must have. And he still makes money.
 

victoriastrauss

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He told us he goes out and hires a publicist for every single one of his books and completely pays for them on his own. His publisher does not pay for his publicist.
Nor does his publisher make paying for a publicist a condition of publication.

I'm sure Jenkins, like many best selling authors, does hire and pay his own publicist (and a whole lot more than $3,990, too)--but I'm also sure that his publisher assigns him a staff publicist, and that Jenkins doesn't pay a penny for it.

- Victoria
 

M. Scott

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Nor does his publisher make paying for a publicist a condition of publication.

I'm sure Jenkins, like many best selling authors, does hire and pay his own publicist (and a whole lot more than $3,990, too)--but I'm also sure that his publisher assigns him a staff publicist, and that Jenkins doesn't pay a penny for it.

- Victoria

How much the publisher made was one thing I mentioned in my message, although the primary focus was the system. I said a royalty system would be fairest to all, especially if the book sells more copies than anticipated. They said the publicist gets 20k per year (I'm assuming royalties aren't added to a base pay of 20k).

I just don't see a publicist working his/her butt off to try and sell 100k copies without making another cent off it. Eh, fuck it (Uh-oh. I just broke their moral code. Now they will never publish me!). I will post the correspondence, but it is a hair long. Note: I have trimmed the actual contract section to reduce length. I did my best to be respectable going back and forth, so please don't be too irritated with my being nice to them.

-I got a call from Tate telling me their attorney looked at this thread and wanted excerpts from their e-mails removed due to a confidentiality clause. Hence it has been removed.-

To the lovely folks of AW - I highly doubt I'll be doing that ;)
 
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MichaelZWilliamson

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Tate Publishing is the only full-royalty mainline publisher still considering unsolicited submissions let alone placing resources into an unknown or first-time author's work.


Bullshit. I sold my first novel on my first submission to Baen, and contracted a trilogy with HarperCollins about 6 months later. As some might have seen in other rants, I still don't have an agent.

Tate Publishing does not charge a fee for publishing and absorbs all the cost of production, printing and distribution of a book (nearly $30,000 per title).

I'm trying to imagine what they do that costs that much. I got paid $7500 out the gate, they paid $2000 for cover art, then they printed and distributed with some promotion in magazines, Simon and Schuster's catalog (whom they contract to for distribution) and in convention booklets. Without a "publicist" but promotion on the blogs I contribute to and some word of mouth, we moved all 12,000 copies of the first print run in 21 days. I believe the second printing moved by end of the second month. The next year I got a royalty statement showing 93% sell through and $18,000. Even by that time, Baen's investment was less than $30,000. So unless they plan to move that many copies of your book, they're either incompetent or questionable.


However, we do require any author who signs with us to have full-time professional book marketing and publicist representation.

I know a publicist who might agree to work with you and quote you a lower rate. I wonder if they'll accept that in lieu? Want to get a quote from said publicist, then see if they object on various grounds? She's worked with some huge names.
 

M. Scott

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I know a publicist who might agree to work with you and quote you a lower rate. I wonder if they'll accept that in lieu? Want to get a quote from said publicist, then see if they object on various grounds? She's worked with some huge names.

Interesting. It could be fun, assuming they haven't read this thread and claim I am slandering them ;) . Expect a PM from me shortly.
 

M. Scott

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I suspect as much, although it still might be fun to see how they respond to various inquiries. I expect if I ever did take their deal, the best I would ever do is break even.
 

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I have completed my review of your book. This is a well-written and very poignant story about bullying and the reasons behind certain types of bullying. Sometimes kids act out when they don’t know how to handle certain situations. This story should also be a lesson to parents. It is a timely book and I believe this can be a very marketable one.

This doesn't show they read your book. All this shows is they know it involves bullying.

Let's say I've been told to write a review on Artemis Fowl. I flip through the book and discover it has fairies in it. Perfect! Now I can write my review:

"I have completed my review of your book. This is a well-written and very poignant story about fairies and the mythology behind certain types of fairies. Sometimes fairies are depicted as kind, and sometimes as mischievous, depending on the myth. This story should also be popular with fans of Tinker Bell. It is a timely book and I believe this can be a very marketable one."
 
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M. Scott

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There was no outline provided. Actually, one turnoff was how they just wanted me to upload the MS. Given the vague description, I know they at least read the first 2 chapters. It wouldn't surprise me if they did just enough to get a letter scrounged up, that way they can make more offers to more people, a fair portion of which will decline due to the $3990 fee.
 

victoriastrauss

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Tate Publishing is the only full-royalty mainline publisher still considering unsolicited submissions let alone placing resources into an unknown or first-time author's work

Tate Publishing is one of the few traditional publishers left that works with high profile/celebrity authors as well as unknown authors.

It's already been said, but bears saying again: these statements are absolutely not true. Sure, you're better off with an agent if you want to sell fiction to the Big Six, but there are plenty of highly reputable trade publishers that will work directly with authors--and ALL trade publishers, including the Big Six, regularly acquire unknown authors.

(I also have to shake my head at Tate's use of "mainline"--a term I've seen used nowhere else--to describe itself. Beyond the issue of how misleading it is, with its implication that Tate is equivalent to trade publishers like Random House or HarperCollins, it always conjures up for me an image of a junkie with a needle in his arm.)

- Victoria
 

M. Scott

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I can't say I've EVER come across a book published by Tate in a store. Maybe if I diligently scrounged every Barnes and Noble in the state I would find a few. Come to think of it...I'm pretty sure I've never seen anything from them in the library. Not that Christian books are my forte.

To paraphrase a Nathan Bransford quote- it's always a good idea to browse an agent's (let's add publisher) website to see if you recognize anything. If you don't, expect the same level of publicity for your work.
 

victoriastrauss

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If you’ll note below, one of our books just went to #14 on the NY Best Sellers List and is also on the same list for softbounds.

This intrigued me (and I'm procrastinating), so I investigated. The book is Memoir of a Milk Carton Kid by Tanya Nicole Kach (apparently written in conjunction with her lawyer, Lawrence Fisher), and it appears one time on each of two NY Times best seller lists: on the Oct. 30 ebook list at #14, and on the Nov. 6 nonfiction paperback list at #31 (under the "also selling" category).

Kach seems to have scored some high-profile interviews to promote her book, including two Dr. Phil interviews in mid-October. This would help to explain her book's appearance on the lists. However, it's interesting to note that the book dropped off the lists after just one appearance--which suggests that there wasn't much support or followup beyond the initial flurry of interviews--and to look at the reader comments on Amazon--several of which mention poor writing and multiple spelling and grammatical errors. It sounds as if Kach wasn't well-served by whoever did the editing.

Kach clearly went through an awful experience, and wants to tell her story. But I fear that what success she has achieved is in spite of her publisher, rather than because of it.

- Victoria
 

Gillhoughly

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Here's what's supposed to happen when a publisher wants your book:

Editor: Is this Gillhoughly? Great. We want to publish your book. We're offering a 5,000.00 advance against royalties.

Gillhoughly: Sounds good. I'd like an agent to look at the contract, though.

Editor: Works for me. What other books have you written?

Gill: I have two finished. They're sequels to the first.

Editor: Great. Send them up, I'd like a look.

Gill: How much will this cost me?

Editor: Not a dime. We pay you. That's how it works.
 

MichaelZWilliamson

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Yes, I even use their account to send anything to them (FedEx) and they send checks to cover/reimburse signing trips, and at conventions they take all the authors, artists and occasional advisers out to a meal. Sometimes in a limo. I've never written a check to a publisher.
 

M. Scott

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To Victoria Strauss - I can only hope Ms. Kach generated a profit. I would like to think she did. There are a few ups and downs. If she wished to make a career as a writer, which I'm assuming she doesn't, being on the NYT Bestseller list could perhaps catch the interest of some agents if they considered picking her up.

On the flip side, I don't think Tate sounds like a name anyone would want on his/her writing resume. I agree with past posters that if you have just one story you want out and aren't looking to make money, Tate could be a means to that end. Even then, I would only consider them a last resort. Hell, regular self-pub sounds like a better option.

The presence of so many errors in the final release reaffirms Katrina Forest's thought that Tate doesn't read through manuscripts thoroughly, if at all. My guess is the editor just ran a spell check, ran searches for "naughty" words and called it good.

Once again, giving someone a boatload of money BEFORE they do anything for you is always a gigantic red flag. Even if they intend to fulfill the contract, there is no motivation to do well, just get to the next person in line and take in more $.
 

ResearchGuy

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. . . Gill: How much will this cost me?

Editor: Not a dime. We pay you. That's how it works.
Even in my own tiny micropublishing enterprise, that is how it works. If I am publishing it, I pay the author. Period. And if I am selling services (editing or formatting or research), it is always on the basis of "if you are not satisfied, don't pay the invoice." (Although I have occasionally fired troublesome clients.)

--Ken
 

M. Scott

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ResearchGuy - This is off topic, but what is the name of your micropublishing company? It's always nice to review who is taking what. I'm not saying I have anything offhand I wish to submit, but it would make for nice information to have.