THE MAKING OF A BOOK
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PART 22 AN OFFERING
When friends learned I had signed with Tate Publishing, the slander began. “They are thieves and liars who only want your money.” I wondered how people who never had dealings with Tate Publishing knew so much about them. I also wondered if I had made a mistake.
Then my husband and I were invited to a wedding in Oklahoma City. Tate Publishing was located twenty minutes from the Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City. I sent the RSVP to the wedding and requested a tour of Tate Publishing.
We arrived at the publishing house to see they had reserved a spot for me by the front door with a sign that said, “Teena Myers Author.” The employee assigned to take us on the tour had left ill before we arrived. Dr. Tate took her place. We met everyone in his family except his wife. He was as pleasant in person as he was over the phone. He walked us through the building explaining the function of each department. He talked about plans to open an east and west coast office. Then showed us a photo of his warehouse, located in another part of the city, where books were printed and stored. My husband was impressed.
We walked across the street to a second building and sat in a board room where we talked for hours. Building a profitable business to leave his son was his greatest desire. Unfortunately, his son had turned out like the prophet Samuel’s sons who had not followed in their godly father’s footsteps. Dr. Tate was nearing retirement and acknowledged his son had problems but had faith his son would change.
During our lengthy conversation, Dr. Tate said something that touched a chord with me. Regarding the marketing fee, he referenced King David who refused to offer to God that which cost him nothing (2 Samuel 24:24). I write as an offering to God and that put me at ease about my investment. Dr. Tate’s innovative way of doing business impressed me. Compared to traditional publishing it was unconventional, but it was fair and based on biblical principles.
When an employee entered to remind Dr. Tate of a commitment, he was reluctant to leave. He had already spent three hours with us. When she returned to remind him again, I ended the meeting and left at peace about signing the contract.
Several months later, I filmed one of Tate’s authors at a writer’s meeting. The author was a marketer by trade. Tate had waived his marketing fee, which told me Tate was not after his money but genuinely interested in the success of new authors. I also met a Tate author who told me he honored the contract to refund the marketing fee and her books were now being produced at no cost to her. Also, the promised TV commercial if I signed was never put in writing. I assumed they might forget. They didn’t. A friend in Alabama called to tell me she saw the commercial.
I concluded the slander about Tate Publishing was not justified. Redefining how publishing conducts business to give new authors a hand up does not make one a scam artist and thief. There is no point in producing a book if it is not marketed, nor could his business survive if the author did not have an investment in marketing their book.
The advent of digital books cut a deep swath from the profits of traditional publishers. They limited their marketing efforts on behalf of authors to reduce the losses. I know that because I asked an international best-selling author what her publisher did to market her book. After a long pause, she mumbled, “They don’t do book tours anymore, too expensive.” Another uncomfortable long pause followed. Finally, she said, “You need to develop a good mailing list.” I was stunned by her answer. Tate did everything the traditional publisher did minus the advance check, and required a financial investment that gave the author incentive to take part in making the book a success. I can’t find fault with that.
TO BE CONTINUED…