I’d like to open this post with a link to another site. Yeah, I know it’s not the best strategy to immediately send readers off clicking someplace else, but I trust you’ll be back. It will even open in a separate tab, and we’ll be right here waiting for you.
So go ahead and click on over to Writer Beware and read their article on the charges against Tate Publishing.
Okay, are you back? Good.
So first, I do want to say I’m truly sorry to any writers who have been scammed by Tate (and I have met a few) and also to any of the honest employees who are now out of a job. It really sucks to see things like this happen.
I know a lot of people are taking joy in the fact that Tate has gone out of business and criminal charges have been made against the owners. And I can understand why. These pay-to-play publishing houses really do prey on authors who are either desperate or uninformed. They masquerade as traditional publishers, but instead of making money for the authors, they are making money from the authors.
That’s not how publishing is supposed to work, remember? The publisher is supposed to pay the author, not the other way around.
And that’s what infuriates me about companies like Tate. Their customers are not the readers; their customers are the writers. And they target the writers who don’t understand this.
The image above is from a story on Tate Publishing from Writer Beware. That puts them just one step above payday lenders, in my opinion. Not much more can be said, huh.
Anyhow, I didn’t plan to go on a witch-hunt for Tate Publishing here; there are plenty of other site doing this right now. What I wanted to do instead was use this news item as a cautionary tale.
There are tons of predatory companies out there looking to exploit inexperienced writers. Tate was one of the larger ones, but there are many more out there. Many much worse than Tate Publishing.
Google is your best friend.
Never sign a contract without doing your research. Search the publisher’s name and see what pops up. You should be able to tell pretty quickly if there are complaints about the publisher. Check out sites like Writer Beware. If anyone has complained about a certain company, or if it’s actually a vanity press, they’ll know.
Who is the publisher’s target customer?
Remember this: If the front page of the company website is showcasing books it has published, then it is trying to sell books to readers. If the front page of the company website is showcasing services it offers, then it is trying to sell services to writers.
If they ask you to pay them more than $0.00, they are not a legitimate publisher.
You should not be paying a publisher. For anything. Except maybe discounted contributor copies. This may be harsh, but it’s extremely important. The publishing house should flip the bill for everything, from cover design to editing to listing on Amazon (and everywhere else). If they want you to pay them for any of those services, see the point above and ask who their target customer really is.
That’s it. Remember those three points and you shouldn’t get scammed by a vanity press pretending to be a traditional publisher.
Had any of the 39,000 authors Tate Publishing claims to have done any of the three things above, they may have avoided some heartache.
I honestly hope none of them have lost too much money, and I also hope none of them run into trouble getting full rights to their books back.
If you are desperate to get published and don’t want to seek an agent and perhaps delay your dream for years, I recommend either self-publishing or finding a legitimate small press publisher. There are so many options to get published, so don’t give up. A quick Duotrope search for publishers accepting unsolicited queries for novels returns 85 hits at this moment, so opportunities do exist.
Anyhow, back to Tate Publishing, do you know what the worst part of this whole thing is? A whole new batch of predatory companies are now sweeping in and targeting former Tate authors.
Check back tomorrow and if you have any bad or dishonest publishing stories, feel free to share in the comments section. We’d love to hear about your experience.