Friday, March 10, 2017

Dream Cycle

Remember this post?

When I wrote about dreams coming true?

When I wrote about writing and publishing my book?

Unfortunately, there are various stages of dreams. Sometimes those good dreams turn into bad dreams. Not nightmares, because it wasn't, but it certainly wasn't a good dream anymore.

Mere weeks after I finally had hard copy books in hand my publisher closed her doors. She had been diagnosed with cancer. (As of this writing, she has been diagnosed cancer-free).

So I researched other publishers slightly, and came across Tate Publishing. Long story short, I ended up signing with them. Despite all the red flags.
*They wanted to sign me without seeing the book first.
*They wanted money up front.
*People told me if publishers ever want money up front, run. 
*There were a ton of negative comments about them on the web.
*Even my former publisher had said "beware."

Sometimes it's so easy to ignore or justify things.
*They know my book has already been published, they know someone already invested in it. That's why they don't need to see it.
*They are charging me way less for their services than they charge most authors. In fact, they aren't really "charging" me at all. (Tate had a policy to charge new authors about $5k to sign with them. This is NOT what traditional publishers do. However, they were only asking for about $1,500 from me, which was actually purchase price at 40% retail for me to buy 250 books. In reality, this WAS a good deal. I was paying for books I would later resell, not paying for their services).
*I spoke with a man claiming to be the president. Was he? Probably not. But he assured me that there are always negative comments about organizations, and they would do right by me.

So I signed, knowing full well that if this went south, it was *only* $1,500.

I was unhappy with Tate right from the beginning. Communication was awful. They were slow. As the book went through different processes, it was moved to different departments, which meant different managers, which meant I never knew who my contact person was. They didn't communicate with each other as the book moved from one department to another, so I was often getting questions I'd already answered or that did not pertain to someone whose book was already written. I once got an email asking for me to sign a release form. Literally five minutes later I got a email thanking me for getting my release form to them and we were moving on to the next step. I hadn't (and never did) sign that release form.

My book was supposed to be released eight months after I signed with them (signed in April, release date was set December 27). A few weeks prior, I contacted who I thought was my current contact person to find out if we were still on track, when I would receive the copies I had paid for eight months earlier, and who the media outlets were they promised to "blitz" for my release. No response. I tried again maybe a week later. The email bounced back to me. I tried again after the weekend. Same thing. I tried a secretary who had at one point told me I could contact her about anything and she would see that tickets were opened for me, she would contact people for me, etc. That email bounced back. My gut told me something had happened, so when I got home that evening, I googled them.

I found articles about how they were closing their doors and being sued by Xerox, and more articles about how horrible this company was (I've put a few at the bottom of this post).

The next day I tried calling. All outgoing messages had been changed to a message that directed people to visit their website.

This is what was on their website:

If you notice the date on the first one, it says, "as of January 17." Three weeks after my book was supposed to be released.

I could feel a little jinxed. I certainly should have felt disappointment. That's two publishers in two years, mere weeks after my book did/was to come out. But the only thing I felt was relief. I really wish I had my books, or that money back, but honestly, I am SO. GLAD. I don't have to deal with this company anymore. It had gotten so bad that I, a couple months before the release date, was telling my family I didn't really care anymore about the book. I didn't care about selling it or having it or working on it. I certainly didn't care about this company. I was just going to let them do what they were going to do. I was so frustrated with them that I was just going to let them have my baby and raise it.

I'm also relieved I don't have the books to worry about getting rid of. I still have many copies from my original publisher, and I don't have to try to sell copies from Tate that I wasn't proud of (they had made some very disappointing changes to it including moving from hard to soft cover,  type of paper, and logo placement).

They have yet to contact me, but I am not expecting them to. I believe it is another empty promise that they are going to contact people to place them with other publishing companies. It was only after signing with Tate I discovered they are not a traditional publisher, but more of a glorified self-publishing company, so I doubt they have the pull with publishing companies to do that. I believe that those promises are more thinly veiled lies. It's very sad to me that a company was that difficult/disappointing to work with that I'm glad they went under, but I am.

It's interesting, they cycles dreams go in. They come true, they change, they turn sour, they morph and maybe hit an upswing again someday. In the future I may try to get the book with a different company (being much more cautious). I may want to write another book. But for now I'm burned out from this very poor experience, and content to slowly sell my pretty, good quality copies and live the rest of my life without Tate in it.