THE MAKING OF A BOOK
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PART 21 A PHONE CALL
As I edited video of authors promoting their books at a writers’ conference, I googled their publishers hoping to find a good fit for Dr. Baker’s story. One author had a positive experience with Tate Publishing. They did everything they promised and were all she could have hoped for in a publisher. Tate’s website said they were “a Christian-based, family-owned, mainline publishing organization with a mission to discover and market unknown authors.” That sounded promising, so I requested a brochure to learn more about their company. Instead of a brochure, I received a phone call from the Director of Acquisitions.
The Director wanted to see the manuscript. The manuscript did not exist yet, so the conversation took a different direction. We talked about Christian publishing, agents, and Tate Publishing’s mission. During our conversation, I told the director about the manuscript I had prepared for an agent. She wanted to see it. I was skeptical. Especially when she said authors had to pay a fee to use their marketing department or hire a professional publicist. But if 5,000 copies of the book sold, they would reimburse the fee.
I was accustomed to being ignored because I wasn’t an important influential person who guaranteed book sells. Our conversation confirmed the mission statement on their website: find and market new authors. She was the first person I had talked to in Christian publishing that was interested in the merits of a manuscript and what it offered to readers.
There was nothing to lose if I let her review the manuscript, so I sent it. Then I contacted twenty of their authors published within the last five years. The feedback about the production of their book was unanimously positive. Some were disgruntled about the fee to use the marketing department.
I didn’t expect to hear from Tate Publishing again. When the director sent me an email offering a contract, I was cautious. I told her about my research and that I would have to do more before investing in their marketing department.
The next day, I received a phone call from the founder of Tate Publishing. Dr. Tate told me the Director brought my manuscript to his attention. She said, “Some manuscripts shine brighter than others and my manuscript shined.” Then we discussed family, grandchildren, and the state of America with its entitlement mentality. Dr. Tate was old school. He believed hard work bestows a better life. We are entitled to nothing.
I signed the book production part of Tate’s contract but not the marketing agreement, which included the fee. I didn’t believe his marketing department could do much to help me and requested to use a local Christian owned company that successfully produced Christian concerts. I knew I was on shaky ground since the local company had no experience marketing a book. However, the man who ran the company had built relationships with local pastors, and Christians were my niche market.
I debated with Dr. Tate for two months over who could do a better job. He had confidence in his marketing department. I had confidence in the company I wanted to hire. He offered to produce and run a TV commercial on Christian television at no cost to me. A generous offer, but I did not have name recognition and the book would not be available nationwide in bookstores. I doubted a commercial would sell my book. My husband broke the impasse. Tate’s cost to produce the book was twice the fee for the marketing company. “He has the greater investment,” said my husband, “use his company.”
TO BE CONTINUED…