Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Goodbye, Tate Publishing

Last night, a local author I'd interviewed several years ago contacted me and she was very upset.

She, like a number of other authors I'd interviewed for The Herald-News through the years, had published her book with Tate Publishing, which many of these authors didn't realize was a vanity press...or even understand what a vanity press is.

I remember one parent years whose high school child had written a novel and was "accepted" for publication with Tate and how "impressed" Tate was with the novel felt it the several thousand dollars spent to get the book in print was well worth it.

And I'd plenty of similar stories from other authors who'd signed contracts with other pay-to-publish companies.

These authors had no idea they weren't signing contracts with traditional publishing houses. And, as the impartial interviewer, it was not my place to tell them.

And now...Tate, who I'd considered the King of Christian vanity publishing, is gone.


I imagine vanity presses have fallen on hard times. The ability to publish for free has existed for awhile (Here's looking at you, Lulu), with, perhaps, Createspace leading the pack.

But with the advent of eBooks and the ability for anyone with some basic computer and editing skills to start a small press, authors really don't need to spend thousands of dollars to turn their manuscript into a printed book.

Now it's true that authentic self-publishing for free doesn't necessarily lead to increased sales (Here's looking at you, Denise), and it's arguably contributed to the vast amount of slush out there (Here's , hopefully, NOT looking at you, Denise), BUT...

At least the author understands the process up front and hasn't dumped a substantial amount of money to start at zero, as far as sales are concerned, or confused about what is or is not traditional publishing.

And while readers have more badly written books to navigate to find ones they'd like to read, the self-publishing process have widened the choices and given authors a real opportunity to turn their manuscripts into books someone might want to read.

Goodbye, Tate. I won't miss. And I imagine other authors out there, once they move past the shock an disbelief, might feel the same.

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