Post-Tate

In the comments section of my truncated post, “Tate Publishing Troubles,” Keith Kelly asked, “What do we do now?”

I can promise you I’m not the all-knowing queen about this, but I can share what I do know: Predator presses should never be an option. You have alternatives.

Since computers and word processing programs have made writing so much easier, big-name traditional publishers are inundated with queries. They accept so few of them that it’s almost not worth trying. You still can, through an agent and writers conferences, but just as predator publishers aren’t necessary, neither are large, traditional houses.

Here are some alternatives:

  • Small- to mid-sized publishers

Several entrepreneurs have taken up the slack in the publishing industry by opening their own houses. Most don’t require an agent to query them. They’re “traditional” in the sense that you pay nothing. They may or may not buy the rights to your book, but they do pay royalties and many houses pay advances. They do all the grunt-work involved: editing, cover design, formatting, and uploading to the distribution sites. Some even help promote and market (a job that’s primarily on your shoulders even with large publishers). Because they do all this, they’re worth it, but investigate them. Check out their covers and interiors, find out where their books are distributed, see if you get to keep your rights or, in the alternative, when you can have your rights back. And, check out what percentage royalty they pay, because that’s often the rub when going traditional.

  • Independent publishing services

Often, these are boutique-type shops where you can buy what you need. If, for instance, you already have your book edited by a professional and already have a great cover, you may need only formatting and uploading to the distribution sites. There are several who do this much for you.

Of course, this is also where you can get into trouble, so check up on those companies offering publication services. I noticed the Predator and Editor site is currently down, but you can find a list of predators on Charles S. Weinblatt’s “Book Publishing and Marketing.” Among those to watch out for are AuthorSolutions, XLibris, AuthorHouse, Westbow Press, and Abbott Press, but there are many others.

  • Freelancers

One of the best things about belonging to writers groups is that you find people who love doing the very things you hate. Frankly, I have absolutely no desire to learn certain aspects of this business, but I have friends who excel at them. Sometimes I pay these folks outright, sometimes I exchange my editing services for their formatting services, or whatever.

When my publisher released Give the Lady a Ride, I hired a cover designer/friend who also formatted the novel and uploaded it into CreateSpace and Kindle for me. All of that cost me around $300, and I earned it back in the first month.

If you don’t belong to a writers group—a place where favors are exchanged or discounted by people you have met and trust—the next best thing is to find a trusted source of these services. I recommend David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Digital. In the appendices, David has a list of several resources, from cover designers and formatters to promotion services.

I have the 2nd edition of Gaughran’s book, with a 2014 copyright, so a lot of his information is outdated, but it’s still a great tool to have. Within the covers of this book, he discusses virtually everything necessary for getting a digital book out there, so it’s a great place to start, and you can research the rest.

  • Pros and cons of going traditional

What I love about having books released through a traditional publisher is that I don’t have to pay attention to all the minutia: getting the bar code and ISBN and copyright, dealing with Library of Congress stuff, etc. Editing, cover design, formatting, uploading, distribution—all this falls on the publisher’s shoulders.

What I don’t love is the small royalties; the lack of control over editing, cover design, format, and pricing; and not having access to my sales numbers so I can see how a marketing campaign is working.

  • Pros and cons of going indie

What I love about being indie is the control over everything denied me in traditional publishing, and the immediate gratification of indie publishing. I can release a book much more quickly when I do it through my network than I can when I publish through a traditional publisher. And I can see within a few hours how my sales are.

What I don’t love about indie publishing is that everything is on me—all of the minutia I mentioned.

Since I’m still a beginner at all this, I’ve made a gazillion mistakes. Not being registered with the Library of Congress, for instance. That never crossed my mind. Not being with several distributors so my print book can be in libraries and stores. Not having bar codes. Just like writing itself, this end of the business is a learning process. In today’s industry, “I just want to write” is obsolete. No can do. We all have to learn the biz, even if we’re traditional, but especially if we’re independent.

Take the time and do your research. Start with learning what companies to steer clear of. Start with joining a large writers group—even if it’s online. There are several indie authors groups on Facebook, for instance. Start with studying something like David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Digital.

But if you’re serious about this business, start somewhere learning it. Don’t wait as long as I did to realize these are things you need to know.

Keith, I hope I answered your question.

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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6 Responses to Post-Tate

  1. authoraileenstewart says:

    I am assuming from the article above that you were not a Tate author and therefore are offering your opinion. A possibly valid opinion, but still an opinion. I was a Tate author for seven years. I had two series_ a chapter book series with three books and a picture book series with two books.
    Three of the five were under a traditional contract.

    You claim predator publishers should be avoided, and I agree wholeheartedly; but when I joined with Tate seven years ago I don’t feel that they were predatory. I chose Tate carefully after much research and having made a pro and con list. The reason I did this is because I had inadvertently been partners with an unreputable literary agency that nickled and dimed me to death. I had been rejected over forty-two times by publishers without any indication as to why. I wondered, was my writing poor, my subject matter not current, etc… And, I did not want to self publish.

    With my first two books, I viewed Tate as a turn key hybrid publisher. They offered an editor, an illustrator, a book marketing rep, a book trailer, an ISBN, a major book distributor in the form of Ingram, listing on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, royalties, and more. It seemed like what I was in need of and it worked for me. I am probably a bit prejudiced, but I believe my covers are superb, my editors were very good, and my royalties were always paid.

    And as a published author, I have formed relationships with many, many other authors and illustrators, have attended numerous well known book events such as the Southern Kentucky Book Festival, The Kentucky Book Festival, Ohioana, The Hudson Children’s Book Festival, The Iowa City Book Festival, and more, all of which are invitation only events. I have garnered school, library, and book club events as well as having been asked to host writing workshops for children at events such as the Learning Rocks Expo in Columbus, Ohio.

    None of these things would have been possible without Tate. Did Tate make some very poor decisions in the past few years that led to their demise_yes! But I don’t believe they should be tarred and feathered with the brush of evil. Every coin has two sides and Tate should be viewed as a combination of good and bad.There were many happy authors at Tate, and I was one of them.

    So while others cheer the downfall of Tate and mock those who chose Tate to begin with, I mourn the loss of my publisher who honored everything in my contracts and helped me to get to where I am today!

    Like

    • Aileen, since this is my blog, you can assume that everything on here is either my opinion or comes from my experience. You are only the second author I’ve heard from who had a successful experience with Tate. I’m glad you did, and I don’t *mock* those who chose Tate. Still based on some of the horror stories I’ve heard, I stand by my opinion and am glad I’ve encouraged people toward more reputable publishers.

      All the best to you and your writing career. I’m certain you will continue to be successful.

      Like

  2. Gay Ingram says:

    I am a published author for one of my books with Tate. If any of your readers are also published by Tate, I suggest they check out this site. I will not pay to get backmy manuscript file; they legally are in breach of contract. Not sure if anything will come of our efforts, but doesn’t cost anything to try. Check out this website: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2016/06/tate-publishing-enterprises-slapped.html

    Like

  3. Good riddance to Tate. Great summary post here!

    Like

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