Friday, July 25, 2008

Justifying upfront fees




The most powerful inducement of vanity presses that don’t have upfront fees is that anyone can be published without paying a cent for it. This made me wonder how vanity presses which did charge in advance could get away with it. I didn’t think they’d charge very much – perhaps five or six hundred dollars, which would be enough to make a nice profit and still make the authors happy.

I soon found Tate Publishing, which charges $4000 and still has authors willing to defend the practice of charging fees. Tate doesn’t count as many victims as PA does, but the correspondingly larger cost makes up for this. Interestingly, Tate’s website never mentions the hefty price tag. This information comes from writers who have paid and who are justifying it, and from writers who declined Tate’s services when the contract arrived, and the deceptiveness may be one reason why Tate is on Writer Beware’s "two thumbs down" list of publishers.

I read further, wondering how people could rationalize spending so much money. Let me count the ways…

1. The publisher is helping unknown authors and is taking a risk on you.

The guilt trip. In other words, the publisher is doing something nice for you, so why don’t you do something nice for the publisher? That something can range from “ignore warnings about the publisher” to “pay $4000 – or however much it costs”.

The best defence against this is to keep in mind that publication is a business. It is not a charity where the publisher reaches down from on high and plucks you out of the gutter, earning your lifelong gratitude in the process. A commercial publisher doesn’t take a chance when publishing manuscripts any more than a banker takes a chance when giving a loan; both are calculated risks. And a vanity press like Tate takes even less of a chance, since it’s being paid upfront.

2. It’s not actually a fee.

People who have signed up with vanity presses have several euphemisms for the fees. Tate’s website mentions “author investments” in the fine print, and also describes the price tag as an “Author Participation Fee”. Likewise, authors refer to this as a partnership effort and a meeting of the minds (there’s almost as much creativity here as in the manuscripts). Vanity presses may also be renamed “subsidy publishers” or “co-operative publishers”, which sound much more palatable.

3. In exchange for the fees, you will retain all rights to the manuscript.

Vanity presses which make this claim are bargaining on the fact that many new and inexperienced writers will not do the research and learn that writers don’t pay commercial publishers to let them keep their rights. In any case, one of the most important rights is that of first publication – and that will be wasted on a vanity press which can’t and won’t do anything much with it.

4. Every writer is charged.

This is the idea that authors will have to pay at some point along the line for publication, so it might as well be upfront.

With Tate I have "paid up" all at once, and now will concentrate on working with their marketing representative to try to make a profit.

The defenders of vanity presses get extremely creative here as well. Some claim that if you use an agent, that will be money lost too. This ignores the fact that agents get your work before publishers, negotiate for higher advances and enable you to keep those rights that you might otherwise have to pay $4000 for. Others say that if a publisher gives you an advance, production costs will be deducted. Again, they’re bargaining on their targets not doing the research and realizing that this is an outright falsehood. Finally, there is this prediction of doom (scroll down to the end).

JK Rowling was poor and poor for a very long time until her later books when she had to re-sign in order to get more money. You can actually see the same thing happening to lots of authors who didn't 'Pay' to have their book published.

That has to be the ultimate vanity press defense. No doubt Rowling cried all the way to the bank, wishing she’d panhandled enough pennies to go with a vanity press instead.

5. The costs of publishing a book are so high that authorial contributions are needed.

One person who published with Tate justified the expense with, “The $4,000 I paid will not even cover the cost of printing the books, much less editing, promotion, etc.” The idea here is that publishing is a co-operative venture between the publisher and the author, where the author puts up $4000 and the publisher puts up the rest. The publisher may even claim that they are investing $20,000 or $30,000 or whatever amount in the manuscript – there’s no way to verify this claim, but it may make the author feel better. And four grand looks small in comparison to twenty thousand.

Why should the publisher take all the risk? the defenders of vanity presses say. You have to spend money to make money. For an excellent description of this excuse, check out this article from How Publishing Really Works. And for new and inexperienced writers, this can be a convincing reason, especially if the publisher claims to be spending thousands of dollars.

The best defense to this is to keep in mind that you, as the writer, have already done your part by writing and editing the manuscript. You don’t have to do anything more (other than listening to feedback and incorporating what works). The publisher will recoup the costs from selling manuscripts to the reading public. A vanity press which doesn’t sell to the reading public (because of lack of marketing or distribution) will recoup the costs from the author. To increase profits in this regard, the vanity press will keep the costs of publication low by providing a minimum of editing, stock image covers and so on. PA’s costs of printing a title are around $300; I doubt Tate’s are much higher.

As for spending money to make money, just ask yourself if you pay your employer to let you come to work each day.

6. The publisher will refund the money.

The empty promise. The publisher promises to pay back the money if the author does the industry equivalent of winning the lottery – for instance, selling five thousand copies in the first year. For a commercially published novel, this is do-able; in fact, for many genres, this would be a disappointingly low figure. For a vanity-printed novel without distribution? The publisher will never have to pay up.

7. There are no other fees (e.g. editing or marketing fees).

This is like a salesman telling you that if you buy a car from his lot, there won’t be any extra charges for the headlights or the accelerator.

8. The fees are a sign of good faith.

The $4000 Tate asks for is to guarantee that you'll complete your part.

If a writer queries with an incomplete manuscript, why doesn’t Tate simply ask for the rest of the work before offering a contract? Then there would be no need for such a guarantee. Besides, it’s not as though the money is returned to the writer once the complete manuscript is delivered.

I came across a claim that paying the fees was an indication of an author’s seriousness and dedication. This doesn’t even merit a response.

9. You get extra attention for the money.

Tate’s website claims that writers will receive additional services such as assistance with marketing. I’ve also read claims of higher royalties, which are a very safe promise for the publisher since vanity-printed books rarely sell outside the pocket market of an author’s family and friends. So it’s not as though the publisher will have to pay higher royalties on thousands or even hundreds of copies – the average number of sales for a book put out by a vanity press is 75.

Authors may believe that the upfront payment will somehow guarantee distribution from the publisher.

Would TATE not do everything in their power to get my book on the shelf so they could also make more money in the end?

What’s easier – having to be a real publisher or snaring another hopeful writer with money to burn? I’ll bet there’s nothing in the contract which states the vanity press has to do any marketing or distribution in return for the author’s dollars, either.

10. If you don’t pay up, you lack faith in your work.

A Tate author, speaking in defense of the company, said that Tate’s owner had told him, “If you don't feel that your manuscript is marketable, then do NOT do this--we feel it is marketable." Nice pressure tactic, especially if it follows glowing praise from the publisher. I love your manuscript enough to invest my money in it. How could you not do the same? How could you lack faith in your manuscript baby?

The best defense to this is to say, “I find your lack of faith disturbing” in a Darth Vader voice. At least that will make you laugh. And then you can turn it back on the publisher and say, “If you think my manuscript is so marketable, go ahead and market it. I give you my blessing. But I will not give you my money.”

There are countless other reasons – the bigger the scam, the harder the scammees will struggle to justify it. People claim that no one forced them to pay, and it’s not illegal to charge fees (though not everything legal is ethical). Others express disbelief in Yog’s Law or say that they’re getting something in return for their money. Ultimately there’s only one reason to spend money to see a book in print – when you know beforehand that you’re signing up with a vanity press, when you don’t expect to recoup the investment or have a publishing credit. There’s nothing wrong with vanity publishing per se, only with fooling oneself that it is anything other than what it is.

13 comments:

Victoria Strauss said...

11. Go vanity today, and get a hamburger tomorrow.

A common vanity ploy is to promise that if your vanity-published book does well, the publisher will publish your second book "traditionally." So you must pay up now, but you'll get rewards later. Of course, your first book will never do well enough.

Thanks for a terrific post--you've wrapped up all the rationales in one go.

Kim said...

It was interesting, reading that give-and-take between Less Goldberg and Lennie...

It amazes me - because I never gave a thought to paying someone to publish my stuff. Whenever someone mentioned to me that is costs so much to get published, I thought they were nuts and that I must've been way clueless. Hmm... looks like it was the other way around, no? =)

Marian said...

What I'd really like would be to find out if any Tate authors were happy with their experience three or more years later. Anyone can be a joyful honeymooner. The people who are happy after they've got two or three royalty checks are either those who went into vanity publishing with their eyes open and their expectations adjusted, or those who didn't go into it at all. :)

Marian said...

A common vanity ploy is to promise that if your vanity-published book does well, the publisher will publish your second book "traditionally."

Woah. Why not just publish the first book "traditionally", then, if the publisher has the financial means to do so? Universities don't insist that prospective students get paperwork from a diploma mill before studying for an actual degree.

The sad part is that when you first hear that your manuscript has been accepted, it's very hard to think clearly, coolly and rationally and to ask questions. And once you've signed up, you're trying to convince yourself as much as the "bashers" that it was the right thing to do.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Angela said...

I frequent several writing forums, and it KILLS me every time I see a 'Whoo-hoo, I'm going to be published' post just to find out that they really mean they're about to be scammed. It's awful, because then if others try to suggest thinking carefully about everything before signing, do background checks, researching, etc the poster acts like everyone is going all sour grapes on them.

(Thankfully not everyone acts this way, but a lot do.)

Leon Mentzer said...

Marian, Ive been with Tate Publishing since 2004. Now two books later almost three I'm still with them. I paid the partnership fee with the first book only. I rec'd my fee back when sales hit 5,000. I'm still selling that first book. My second book was tradition as well as my third book. As long as my books sell Tate Publishing is publishing them at no cost to me. But I had to prove that my books would sell and had sales appeal. It's still a "honeymoon". Their marketing Dept. sets up ALL of my book signings all over the world for me. All I have to do is ask them. This includes the radio shows I do and TV spots. I've gotten everything they said they could do and they have never stated anything like a guarantee of success. I'm very pleased with what I paid for.

Blessings, Leon Mentzer

Marian said...

I looked up "Leon Mentzer" on Amazon, where two books were listed. Each had one review; couldn't tell much from sales rank.

I paid the partnership fee with the first book only. I rec'd my fee back when sales hit 5,000. I'm still selling that first book. My second book was tradition as well as my third book.

Perhaps this third book isn't on Amazon yet. Either way, it proves Victoria's point about the inducement vanity presses offer - that if you pay to have your first book printed, the next one will be commercially published.

You've convinced me, though, that I should edit my post to read, "The publisher will rarely if ever have to pay out." However, if you received your fee back after making 5000 sales, this would be an exception. Most vanity-printed books don't sell this many copies - due more to the vanity press's lack of distribution, lack of returnability, high prices, etc. than to a lack of effort on the authors' parts.

So on top of the initial payment to the vanity press, the author also has to foot the cost of advertising, sales and distribution. Not a persuasive argument for using the vanity press.

By the way, the term "traditionally published" is generally used by PA and its ilk; "commercially published" would be more accurate if the writer is being paid by the publisher.

Their marketing Dept. sets up ALL of my book signings all over the world for me.

All over the world?

I’m not sure how much of a point in Tate’s favor this is, given that most authors do not have the capacity to fly all over the world for signings.

All I have to do is ask them. This includes the radio shows I do and TV spots.

PA authors get radio shows too (not sure about TV spots). None of this helps without distribution, though it makes the authors feel very positive about their experience.

I've gotten everything they said they could do and they have never stated anything like a guarantee of success.

As far as I know, no publisher states that there is a guarantee of success, so this is hardly a point in Tate's favor, much less a reason to spend $4000 to be published.

As for the vanity press doing everything it claimed it would do, well, PA also does everything it claims it will do in its contract. It's just that the contract doesn't hold PA responsible for a whole lot.

I'm very pleased with what I paid for.

That's great. But in the case of a book that can be commercially published, I see no reason why a writer should pay a vanity press, especially if the writer wants a publishing credit, wants to be commercially published and wants distribution. In the case of a book that cannot be commercially published, a vanity press may be fine, provided the writer has money to spend and isn't deceived into thinking that this in any shape or form resembles commercial publication. It rarely if ever leads to commerical publication either (unless it's commercial publication provided by the same vanity press).

The bottom line for me is : if your (generic your) books are good enough to be commercially published, then they’re good enough for a commercial publisher, rather than for a vanity press.

Thanks for commenting!

Marian said...

It's awful, because then if others try to suggest thinking carefully about everything before signing, do background checks, researching, etc the poster acts like everyone is going all sour grapes on them.

True. It’s almost not worth it, suggesting to someone who’s excited about being published that they need to ask a few more questions or do more research, much less that there’s something wrong with the publisher who “gave them a chance”. On the other hand, that’s how the deceptive vanity presses (as opposed to the honest ones) thrive. The initial victim’s enthusiasm gets two or three more writers to sign up, and by the time she’s for the reality check, those three have told six more, and so on. At least if they know the facts, they’ll be walking in with their eyes – and wallets – open.

ryan said...

Marian,

My name is Ryan Tate and I am the President/CEO of Tate Publishing & Enterprises. I have been trying to make an attempt to jump on some of these blog sites and help clear up any issues or questions that authors might have. There are so many publishing options out there that the more information the better when making the decision of where to publish. Below is a letter that I had written last year to Victoria Strauss and some of her associates in regards to their criticism of POD, vanity, subsidy, partnership, and every other type of publishing that asks for the authors participation. While I can't speak for other publishers, I can tell you that we focus on serving our authors with a level of passion and dedication that is second to none. We work with authors on many different levels, but Tate Publishing is a company that was born of authors that set out to start a publishing house that truly benefits the author first. We believe we have achieved just that. I hope you enjoy the letter and please if you have any questions or desires feel free to contact our offices. I would even be willing to have you out to our offices as my guest! I think you would love the staff and enjoy your experience. Our office numbers are (405)376-4900 or you can email us @ info@tatepublishing.com.

Sincerely,

Ryan Tate


1. Fee-charging--whether for the actual printing/production of the book, or for some other item related to the publishing process, such as editing or publicity. Some publishers require authors to buy bulk quantities of their own books. Fees range from a few hundred dollars to more than $25,000. A nominal "advance" in the face of other fee-charging practices does nothing to legitimize them.

Tate Publishing operates in two primary ways. First, every manuscript that is submitted for publication is reviewed for a mainline publishing contract in which we will issue a signing bonus and royalties based upon their book sales. In a given year Tate Publishing will sign between 15 and 20 authors to whom we will provide this bonus and cover all promotional, production, and distribution expenses. The signing bonuses range from $4,000 to the highest bonus we have ever awarded of $20,000. An example of this is one of our newest authors, Shane Hamman. He is a two-time Olympian and currently the strongest man in America. He holds several national records and was the national spokesman for a group called Rachael’s Challenge (this group was formed after Rachael Scott who was killed in the Columbine school shootings). In addition, we just signed one of Oklahoma’s former Attorney Generals to write a children’s book that will correspond with our state’s centennial celebrations this year. We are all very excited about these titles and their release in the near future.
Second, if a title has not been selected for us to pick up the entire expense and offer a signing bonus we will take manuscripts that are still well written and discuss with the author a partnership agreement. In this agreement, the author would be required to invest $3,985.50 and we will take care of all of the other expenses involved. We spend on average $19,797.50 of our own resources to produce, market, and distribute each of our titles. The $3,985.50 that we require as an investment is just that. We are the only publisher in America that has a partnership agreement in which the author can receive a refund on their investment. Our contract requires that when the total sales for an author’s work reaches 5,000 units they will receive a refund of their initial author investment and we will provide a signing bonus as well as cover the cost of all elements of production, marketing, and distribution for the next book they write. There is no time frame that books must be sold; these clauses are for the life of the book. Many authors achieve this mark every year and we are proud that most of our authors make their money back long before they even reach the 5000 mark.
In addition, our contract does not place any minimal book purchase requirement on any author. Every author can purchase as many or as few as they would like and all authors receive a case of books upon the release for no further cost. Our publishing agreement also includes the production and distribution of the book as an audio book. We are now producing every Tate Publishing title as an audio book. We are especially pleased to have signed contracts with Audible.com and Apple iTunes to have all of our titles for sale on their websites. This is a huge advantage for our authors and comes at no extra cost to them. It is simply a wonderful product offering that gives our titles an additional advantage and distribution channel. The book is also released as an E-book and sold for digital download.

2. Author-unfriendly contracts--including rights grabs, taking copyright, restrictive option clauses, sub-standard royalty provisions (including reverse-accounted royalties), inadequate reversion clauses, draconian "defamation clauses," and a host of other inappropriate and abusive contract terms.

Tate Publishing offers a wonderful contract that is very author “friendly.” Our belief is simple - we don’t need a contract that unfairly locks down or limits an author’s opportunity to succeed or pursue all options they are presented. It is our philosophy that an author will stay with us because we work hard for them and they enjoy the working relationship. Our contract states that the author shall retain all rights to and of the work. The author retains the copyright, motion picture rights, serialization rights, as well as dramatic, operatic, musical, radio, television, reproduction by newsprint, cassette tape, CD, digital audio, or other mechanical recording devices. Both parties are required to agree that our agreement is non-exclusive. The author may enter into other publishing agreements and may terminate their agreement with Tate Publishing at any time. In the event that the author terminates the agreement Tate Publishing requires 90 days notice to begin the process of removing inventory from distributors, wholesalers and bookstores. In addition, the contract states that if the authors terminates the agreement they will continue to hold whatever copyright and other rights to publish that they possessed at the time of the agreement. Upon termination, any license granted to the publisher shall be deemed immediately terminated. Once again, our contract is very author “friendly” and does not limit their choices or freedoms to search out other options.

3. Deliberately misleading advertising--including directly soliciting authors, misrepresenting services to authors in an effort to masquerade as commercial publishers, hiding the fact that they are vanity operations, and making false claims about distribution and bookstore presence.

There are no misleading areas in any part of our contract, staff, website, or promotional materials. We are upfront in every area of our relationship with our authors and potential authors and have never and will never make any false claims. Under the Marketing, Distribution and Royalty Schedule portion of our contract it states:

Agreement for book sales between the Author named below, or “Author,” and TATE PUBLISHING LLC, of Mustang, Oklahoma, U.S.A.

Objectives: TATE PUBLISHING LLC intends to increase Author’s book sales by the Author allowing TATE PUBLISHING LLC to sell and distribute the Author’s work with the TATE PUBLISHING LLC line of books on behalf of Author to bookstores, libraries, mass market, and other markets. This contract does not guarantee or suggest any specific sales volume of the Author’s work. The Author’s works will be catalogued, warehoused, sold, invoiced, shipped, collected, and Author’s funds will be remitted to Author.

TATE PUBLISHING LLC shall be allowed to print the number of the Author’s works, which they deem appropriate for distribution needs and shall pay for the production of the cost of those items as well as the shipping to the distribution and wholesale warehouses.

As you can see we make no commitment that cannot be fulfilled. Tate Publishing does have agreements with marketing firms, distributors, and wholesalers to guarantee the availability of our titles in their locations and websites. Bryan Norris of Key Marketing Group is one of our largest clients and has even arranged guaranteed product placement for stores such as Family Christian Stores for our titles. The rules of supply and demand still apply. If the book has not sold within 30 – 60 days of sitting on a shelf it will be returned, but this is standard in the publishing industry, as you already know.
Every Tate author is also provided with a publicity service. Upon the release of their title we will arrange for book signings, contact the press and media as well, and send their books out for review and promotion on television, internet, radio, and other print/digital media outlets. The author is always provided with marketing reports and can call into their marketing rep at anytime to discuss possible options and desires. We pride ourselves in having an extensive and successful marketing and distribution department and feel that we work very hard for our authors. Every author is given a single marketing rep they can contact at anytime and their books are presented to buyers in every major chain, as well as at every major trade show and expo in the United States. This is an area of our business that is constantly evolving and getting better all of the time. We are proud of what we can do for our authors and will continue to work toward providing them new opportunities. No Tate author is ever alone, and if they ever feel that way all they need to do is contact us and we will work with them to reach a resolution that helps everybody succeed.

4. Conflicts of interest--some of these publishers are the vanity "arm" of (or otherwise under common control with) a fee-charging literary agency, which directs clients to the publisher under the guise of having made a "sale"--often without revealing the financial and personnel links between the two businesses.

Tate Publishing has no parent company or any other partnerships with such companies or literary agencies.

5. Lack of editorial gatekeeping--as befits vanity operations, many of these publishers have few, if any, standards for the books they acquire. Some don't even bother to read the books they accept for publication.

Tate Publishing accepts between 4% - 6% of the authors who approach us for publication. We have a high standard and are very strict in regard to the projects and authors we choose to enter into a contractual agreement. All author’s manuscripts are read, and when a manuscript is rejected for publication, the authors are contacted and communicated with as to why we could not accept their book and given advice on how to refine their work. The manuscripts that are selected must meet our expectation not only on the editorial front, but also the marketing and promotion opportunities it possesses as well as the current industry standards.

6. Poor or inadequate editing. Some of these publishers don’t even pretend to provide editing. Others do little more than run the text through a spell and grammar checking program, or employ unqualified, inexperienced staff.

Tate Publishing offers a high level of editing and conceptual work on all manuscripts. Every staff member is highly educated (none with less than a bachelor’s degree), possesses experience and training in their field and are required to perform at the industry standards required by our buyers and authors. Our contracts states that we will provide the following:

1. Complete professional editing, spelling verification, punctuation corrections, rewrite assistance, grammar evaluation, and suggestions regarding content, readability, and title prior to final proof.

2. Complete layout and editing of the project ready to print. Produce the final proof for Author’s review.


It is also important to note that the author has the final approval in every area of production. Whether it is the cover design, the layout, editing, or illustrations, the authors must sign an approval sheet before the book can move along the production process. Every title is put through our rigorous and exhaustive editing system to ensure the highest quality possible. We acknowledge that every mistake cannot be caught, but it is our goal to make sure that every book is completed with the highest level of quality we can provide and certainly is of the standard our industry requires for publication and distribution. Our editors also provide a conceptual service in which they make suggestions based on how the book flows, how it is organized, and entertains. While our editors will not rewrite a person’s book, they will provide every author with conceptual feedback to help the book succeed.



Sincerely,

Ryan Tate
President/CEO, Tate Publishing & Enterprises

Leon Mentzer said...

If you’re using Amazon as your sole reference point, I would suggest using Google. I’ve never heard an established author worry about “their Amazon Reviews” making or breaking their book sales. And I deal with hundreds of author who attend my seminars.

My third book isn’t finished yet, when it is it will available thru Tate thru Ingram /Spring Arbor as well as all the data bases on the internet, thru bookstores and at my seminars.

As to your remark about “an inducement”, no it was just a business decision based on book sales. My book(s) now sell, but I needed the chance to get it out there and prove it

Your references to Tate, as a “Vanity press” is not based on facts. They offer advances to other authors/ personalities, such as Shane Hammon, two time Olympian who received $20,000 to sign with Tate.

Perhaps one needs to think about the fact that “rarely does a first time author become successful the first book out? No matter who publishes them”. There‘re thousands of books out there that will never be purchased and they’re good books.

You mention lack of distribution; Tate has several distributors including Ingram /Spring Arbor. Also, you mention a lack of returnability, not so for Tate. Please check the facts. If this were the case then Lifeway Christian Stores would not have ordered over 1,200 copies of my first book when it was released.

I have NEVER had to “foot the cost of advertising, sales or distribution”. Please don’t refer to the fee as paying for this. I’m a retired CEO of a company that paid thousand of dollars to print and distribute our in-house pamphlets and instruction books, I’m well aware of the true costs.

The term "traditionally published" or “commercially published” means the same thing. PA doesn’t have a claim to this phrase. To say that anyone who uses this phrase " is generally used by PA and its ilk; is amusing.

Yes, ALL over the world. I host seminars all over the world and I also do book signings and events. The Tate marketing department staff provides me with that marketing assistance and information, no matter where I’m going. They work very hard to set up any book signings or events that I can appear for. Down the road, out of state, or the country. I work hard to promote my book as well as my publisher. The more I work the more I sell. Simple math.

The reason for the $4000 is that I was a nobody, a first time author with no sales appeal, no track record, not famous, just one of the many thousands of authors who have written a book and wanted to be published. I needed professional help to get a professional looking product. Sometimes an author really has to campaign and toot their own horn to do this. I’m delighted to say that I‘ve now had the privilege of turning down two major publishers after they read my printed book. They offer nothing more then what I was now getting from Tate publishing.

What is your point here about a contract? A contract is a contract until it NOT fulfilled. Don’t sign it if it isn’t suitable for you. No body makes you sign a contract.

The bottom line for ME here is that Tate Publishing can and does offer different deals to authors based on an individual’s level and sales appeal. There’re some aspects of vanity, subsidy, commercial, and partnership there, but lets deal with the facts. I was a nobody…. I’m glad that my books are doing very well. My goal was to get published and have some decent sales records. I very glad I didn’t go POD or e-book. I wanted and needed the distributions and professional marketing to help me achieve my goal.

I’m a published, royalty collecting author. Three years later my first book is still listed and selling. Vanity presses don’t have that longevity

May please ask, “How many books have you sold?” I dare say that I might know a little more about that if you never published or used Tate publishing. I have a track record with them. I’m dealing with them in real time not fantasy.

How about checking them out personally? And stop posting other sci/fci site’s opinions. How about your own personal opinion based on a trip to their offices in Mustang, OK? Talk with the Founder, President, staff and other authors? Do some personal research. Tate isn’t the best or perfect for everyone.

I noticed that some of the quotes / sites / links are from people listed in a major lawsuit in the New Jersey courts for alleging spreading false rumors, slander and libel. One site is even soliciting funds for a legal defense.

I would think that if they were in the right then there would be no legal problems. Hm-mmm Perhaps we need to re-think personal opinions vs real facts. You’ve asked for a Tate author who published three year ago or more and here I am. But good reporting is always backed up by facts and proof.
Please don’t state opinions about what I’ve done and refer to them as facts. Check with me first.

One of those sites suggested, checking with the BBB. This is a very good idea. Start there.

Blessings Leon

Marian said...

I’ve never heard an established author worry about “their Amazon Reviews” making or breaking their book sales. And I deal with hundreds of author who attend my seminars.

No one said Amazon reviews make or break book sales, but I find it odd that a book which has sold more than 5000 copies only has one review. Still, if you’re dealing with “hundreds of author” (sic), perhaps vanity publishing works for you. I still wouldn’t recommend Tate, simply because there are cheaper vanity presses around – and more honest ones as well.

As to your remark about “an inducement”, no it was just a business decision based on book sales. My book(s) now sell, but I needed the chance to get it out there and prove it

You could have gotten that chance with self-publishing or with a cheaper vanity press.

My point isn’t that Tate was wrong for you. I’m sure you and Tate are perfect for each other. My point is that Tate is a vanity press, it charges much more than others, it’s not upfront about this and there are much better options either for someone who wants to be commercially published or even for someone considering vanity publishing.

Your references to Tate, as a “Vanity press” is not based on facts.

If you have to pay to get your book into print (whether this is an upfront payment or not), you’ve gone with a vanity press.

Since you admit that Tate charged you to print your book, Tate is a vanity press.

Perhaps one needs to think about the fact that “rarely does a first time author become successful the first book out? No matter who publishes them”.

Perhaps one needs to tell oneself, “There is no false dichotomy between being successful and being $4000 poorer.”

First-time writers who are published by commercial publishers may not be J. K. Rowling, but at least they have a legitimate publishing credit and haven’t paid to be published.

There‘re thousands of books out there that will never be purchased and they’re good books.

There’s also thousands of books out there that will never be purchased and they’re rotten books. What’s your point?

You mention lack of distribution; Tate has several distributors including Ingram /Spring Arbor.

Isn’t Ingram a wholesaler rather than a distributor?

The term "traditionally published" or “commercially published” means the same thing. PA doesn’t have a claim to this phrase. To say that anyone who uses this phrase " is generally used by PA and its ilk; is amusing.

The terms “traditionally published” and “commercially published” don’t mean the same thing. In the industry, publishers which pay you for the rights of first publication are trade publishers or commercial publishers. PA uses this term, so I hope you use it too, to describe Tate. It’s easy when vanity presses and the defenders of vanity presses use the same (deceptive) term for themselves.

Yes, ALL over the world. I host seminars all over the world and I also do book signings and events.

If that’s the case, then it still makes you an exception to the rule. Someone who has a vanity press print their books can still recoup their investment if they have a platform or can exploit a niche in the non-fiction market. This doesn’t apply to most authors, which is why vanity presses aren’t recommended for most authors.

The reason for the $4000 is that I was a nobody, a first time author with no sales appeal, no track record, not famous, just one of the many thousands of authors who have written a book and wanted to be published.

Most authors published commercially for the first time have no track record and are not famous. They still don’t pay to be published.

Anyway, it’s interesting to know that someone who flies all over the world to do seminars and who works with “hundreds of author” (sic) and is the retired CEO of a company is now a “nobody” with no sales appeal.

What is your point here about a contract?

My point is that saying, “My vanity press did whatever its contract said it would do” doesn’t mean much. PA’s supporters say the same thing, and it’s quite true. The contract says that PA does not have to provide marketing or distribution, so it doesn’t provide marketing or distribution.

Three years later my first book is still listed and selling. Vanity presses don’t have that longevity

Of course they do. PA, Xlibris, Dorrance, AuthorHouse, Tate… is there some law you’ve heard of saying that vanity presses only last for two years and eleven months?

May please ask, “How many books have you sold?”

None. I don’t need to have sold books to recognize a bad deal when I see it.

How about checking them out personally?

I have, thanks. I’ve checked out Tate’s website.

And stop posting other sci/fci site’s opinions.

Or you’ll do what?

How about your own personal opinion based on a trip to their offices in Mustang, OK? Talk with the Founder, President, staff and other authors? Do some personal research.

I can write an essay about the moon without having to take a shuttle there. Similarly, I can point out why Tate is a vanity press without having to go there in person.

Tate isn’t the best or perfect for everyone.

Tate isn’t good for anyone who doesn’t have $4000 to blow, for anyone who wants a legitimate publishing credit, for anyone who wants a real career in publishing and for anyone who wants an honest publisher rather than a vanity press which isn’t upfront about its charges.

I noticed that some of the quotes / sites / links are from people listed in a major lawsuit in the New Jersey courts for alleging spreading false rumors, slander and libel.

Anyone can sue anyone else for anything. Doesn’t make them right, doesn’t mean they’ll win.

I would think that if they were in the right then there would be no legal problems.

I do hope you don’t apply that kind of reasoning to your religion, or else you’d have to conclude that if Jesus was in the right, he wouldn’t have had any legal problems either.

Please don’t state opinions about what I’ve done and refer to them as facts. Check with me first.

Judging from your second post here, you don’t strike me as being either too well-informed or honest. So if you don’t mind, I won’t check with you before writing my next post on Tate. And there will be another one. I’m enjoying this.

One of those sites suggested, checking with the BBB. This is a very good idea. Start there.

Checking with the BBB is only a good idea for people who want to be scammed. PA is a member of the BBB too. As James MacDonald put it,

“The BBB is generally meaningless as far as literary scams.”

Anyone who isn’t out to defend their vanity press of choice should check with Writer Beware or Preditors and Editors.

Thanks again for commenting!

Marian said...

Dear Mr. Tate,

You are welcome to comment if you're prepared to address anything I say, but please keep your cut-n-paste advertisements for your vanity press off my blog.

Thank you,

Marian Perera

Anonymous said...

Yes, really.