Many are starting to wonder if the end is near for Tate Publishing. Is Tate going to file for bankruptcy soon? Well, let’s consider the news reports that are causing such concerns. (Please note, this article discussing allegations against Tate Publishing. These allegations may be proven false. Nonetheless, we feel that authors should be well-informed about the current situation at Tate Publishing.)
1. Xerox Corporation is suing Tate. Xerox is claiming that Tate has failed to make lease and supply payments on its copying equipment and is now suing for $1.7 million dollars. We aren’t talking about little office copiers here, but the huge printing machines in its production facility. Local Oklahoma news commentary blog The Lost Ogle offers more details and even quotes from some disgruntled former Tate employees. Or see this article by the local NPR station, KGOU, covering the lawsuit, which includes a short audio news report.
According to Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware, it is worth noting that “according to this glowing 2011 ‘case study‘ on Tate’s partnership with Xerox, Tate has been working with Xerox since at least 2007, and its production facility is set up with ‘all Xerox digital equipment.’ Tate Publishing once boasted that they printed their books on all Xerox equipment” (You are encouraged to read Strauss’ full article at VictoriaStrauss.com. It is a lengthy one, but very detailed).
The Xerox vs. Tate case began last summer and is still ongoing. To read all the details on the court case, please see the Oklahoma State Courts Network.)
2. The Better Business Bureau rates Tate Publishing with a D rating (as of today 1/3/17). For a company that has been in business for as long as Tate has, that isn’t a good sign. See for yourself what Tate’s current rating is at the BBB.
3. The local NBC affiliate has run numerous negative stories about Tate. No company likes it when a local news station starts reporting negative things about your business. In June of 2016, KFOR.com reported on authors claiming they weren’t getting their royalty payments. One author claimed the two small royalty checks “bounced, leaving her with a $38 bank fee.” (See KFOR.com for full story). In September, the NBC site reported on claims that Tate employees were coached on what to say to federal investigators during an investigation into claims of unpaid employee overtime. (See this KFOR.com article for more details.) More on info on that labor investigation can also be found at the Yukon Review.
The well-known and highly-respected writing industry blog, The Passive Voice, also reported recently about the many troubles at Tate Publishing, quoting from Writer Beware. Included in the article’s comments is one author’s claim of spending over a thousand dollars and still not seeing a finished book.
Tate Publishing Disagrees: Company CEO, Ryan Tate, has downplayed the Xerox lawsuit according to news station KFOR, and stated that he planned to counter-sue. In an article in the Journal Record newspaper, Ryan Tate claimed most of Tate’s “book manufacturing occurs in facilities across the United States and is primarily out of Amazon’s facilities,” which would mean the printing presses of Amazon’s CreateSpace division. We find that an interesting development and wonder how many Tate authors realize that their books are now farmed out to a third-party printer. CreateSpace is a quality printer (we encourage our own clients to use them), but that doesn’t sound like Tate’s claim that “Tate Publishing is set apart by three things: the quality of our selected authors, our unique and author-focused book production process, and a lifetime of marketing for every book we publish!” (Emphasis is ours. See Tate Publishing for this claim of being “the best”.)
So, is Tate Publishing bankrupt or going out of business? As of this date (1/3/17), the answer is no. We have seen no filings for bankruptcy or any announcements that Tate is closing. However, all of the news reported above is very troubling and makes us wonder how Tate will be able to go on publishing their authors’ books. It is known that they have a division overseas in the Philippines, but will they have the capital to keep that operation going? We don’t know.
The more important question for authors is this: do you want to risk keeping your book in the hands of Tate Publishing? These reports should make all Tate authors to consider the possible dangers in letting Tate continue to control their manuscripts.
Are you one of the many authors worried about the troubles at Tate Publishing? If so, you should take some active steps to protect you and your book:
- Make sure you have a master file of your manuscript in its final version. Should you need to find a new publisher or publishing service, you’ll need that file. Get in Word format if you can, but even a pdf version is better than nothing.
- Review your Contract. Do you have control of your manuscript? Can you end your relationship with Tate easily? Please note, if Tate Publishing does go bankrupt, all of its assets will be frozen and then divided up to its debtors. That would include any rights to manuscripts. If Tate has a contract to publish your book for the next 5, 15, or 35 years, then your book becomes one of the assets that will be sold to some other publisher. If you are ignorant about contracts and terms, we suggest you spend a day reading the many blog posts by veteran author Kristine Kathryn Rusch, on her KrisWrites.com blog’s writer resources about contracts and dealbreakers. Or better yet, buy her book at Amazon.
- Check your Royalty Statements carefully. Do the best you can to make sure the Tate Publishing is paying you your full royalty amounts. When a publishing company is in financial trouble, it will often start shortchanging its authors, and instead use that money to pay salaries, utilities, and so on. There are many horror stories out there of authors losing hundreds of even thousands of dollars to a troubled publisher. Literary Agent Chip MacGregor reported on such sad events when WinePress Publishing went bankrupt. (See Chip MacGregor’s website.) In spite of the news articles mentioned, we have not heard of any widespread failure to pay royalties by Tate. However, you should remain vigilant.
- Be Careful about Buying any more Services from Tate. When Winepress Publishing went out of business, there were many author complaints about services paid for but never received. (See this Christian Retailing article for details.) Once again, we have no evidence of this happening at Tate Publishing; this is merely a warning about what to watch our for.
- Make sure you have control of your author website. We saw authors lose their websites recently, when WinePress Publishing went out of business. It wasn’t pretty. We had to help one author buy back her domain name from a Japanese company that gobbles up abandoned sites in the hopes of making a profit. You should always retain control of your website. Let others help you design and maintain it, but do not let others control your online presence. That could prove disastrous. If Tate Publishing is in control of your author website, get it back now! If you need help rebuilding your website, see one of the many companies that offer website designing for a flat fee, free of those pesky strings or power grabs.
- Consider using a publishing service next time. They will guide you through the whole publishing process or you can hire them just to do a few of the steps along the way. As we state here at PublicAuthor.com, “All of our services are offered for a one-time fee; we will never charge you a percentage of your future sales. We are also upfront about our fees, since we don’t believe in surprising our authors with unexpected expenses. (See our Pricing page or Package Deals page for our current pricing.)” A publishing service like Public Author, “You retain control and copyright over your manuscript. You make the final decisions about content and appearance. You receive 100% of the royalties paid. You maintain full control of your author website and domain name. In addition, you get all the final files from us at the completion of your project.”
We hope all works out well for Tate Authors. We really do. But we are concerned that Tate Publishing might be following in the footsteps of CrossBooks, WinePress Publishing, and many other similar operations that have closed in recent years. If you are an author who has been left hanging by the troubles at Tate Publishing, please consider us when you are ready to republish your book. At Public Author, we keep our pricing reasonable and we never take a percentage of your royalties.
Please see our article Help for Tate Publishing Authors for more information on how Public Author can possibly help you.