Writers Beware

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Sep 13 2011

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve written a post on writers beware in publishing. I think that after a certain amount of time I’ve made the incorrect assumption that my readers know this already. I forget that daily I’m reaching new people and that some of those who were here in the early days have moved on to other things.

Not too long ago I received an email from an author with an offer. She had a contract in hand from Tate Publishing and was seeking representation. Of course she was really excited. Tate was offering to publish her book for free and, for an additional $4,000, would supply a publicist. Ouch.

It took me two seconds to google “Tate Publishing Preditors and Editors” and find that this publisher was not recommended. I immediately notified the author, told her she should never pay to get published, and sent the link. She replied that payment was for the publicist only and optional. I’m doubtful, but I don’t know for sure.

And then I read some of the manuscript. And my heart hurt. This manuscript was nowhere near ready for publication. It needed a lot of work, and I’m not saying the author won’t get there someday, because let’s face it, we’ve all written something that should never have been shown to a beta reader, let alone been published, but it’s not ready now. And I worried. Will this author sign this contract simply because it’s there, because all other avenues have been exhausted and because she figures it’s time?

I don’t know what the final outcome was. I never heard back from the author. What I do know is that there are those out there in all areas of our lives, preying on those who are desperate for a good word, positive feedback, and success.

If you’ve never been to Preditors and Editors or Writer Beware or the Writer Beware blog, please go now. Even if you think you know how to spot a someone trying to take advantage of you go. It’s up to all of us to protect the writing community and each other, and the more information we arm ourselves with the more we can help others.

I hope this author shredded that contract and went back to honing her writing skills. I really do hope that.


38 responses to “Writers Beware”

  1. Avatar salarsenッ says:

    Thank you, Jessica, for sharing this with us. I run a support group for writers on Facebook and had an author ask me about this particular publisher just last week. Same scenario. I'll definitely share this with her. 🙂

  2. Avatar Huntress says:

    Thank you for the great post, Jessica. My heart hurts for people who fall for these scams.

    Bottom line: research, Google, and investigate.

  3. Avatar S. Auger says:

    Yup yu yup it was me Sheri that mentioned it. After asking a few people about this "publisher" I did some research and found all the same information that everyone has been telling me. Matter of fact I received another email from them today asking if the proposed payment plan would fit my budget! I guess they don't give up. I appreciate all the information everyone has given me. This was the first time I didn't do my homework first and now I know that will never happen again.

  4. Avatar Kim hanks says:

    What a post with LOVE!

    Thanks alot,Jessica for sharing what you know with us. Who doesn't want to be published?
    Maybe some of us wouldn't have known about such Scams……unless they're exposed.

  5. Avatar wry wryter says:

    Okay boys and girls, Ms. Trite can’t let this one go.
    Caveat emptor:
    No it has nothing to do with you hoarders emptying your cave.

    Ms. Trite says,
    Let the buyer beware lest your dreams come at too high a price. Getting published should not bankrupt your soul.

  6. Avatar Kristan says:

    I just wanted to say that if you get any backlash about this — along the lines of being a horrible/stupid person for saying her work wasn't ready, or for crushing a writer's dreams, or whatever — I hope you won't let it discourage you from trying to be honest and prevent other writers from getting scammed. People lash out when they're disappointed or scared, but this is important for writers to know, and I appreciate your trying to help.

  7. Avatar Stacy says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I've heard of Tate Publishing but knew nothing about it. I feel so bad for the people who get caught up in these scams.

  8. I've heard enough to know to be wary, but wow. I know someone who went with Tate. Yikes.

    Thanks for this.

  9. Avatar Lucy says:

    @ S. Auger

    So glad you got the message! 🙂

    P.S. If you're not there already, feel free to come on over to AbsoluteWrite forums for encouragement, feedback, and a lot of support and information.


  10. Avatar Lucy says:

    And Jessica, thank you for such a compassionate post.

  11. Avatar Anonymous says:

    My cousin went with Tate. I warned her about vanity publishers but she chose to proceed. I don't have the heart to tell her she's probably been scammed – but even if I did, she wouldn't believe me. She's too consumed with the idea of having her books available to the masses. Sadly, I feel the only ones who will buy her book will be her friends and family. $4,000 is an expensive price to pay for for ego.

  12. Thanks for the reminder!

  13. Avatar ryan field says:

    I hate to hear these things. But I'm glad you posted about it.

  14. Avatar Gabbi says:

    I just got out of a $3090. contact. I found out I was paying for something I had never purchased. They said "sorry if it wasn't explained." Also their receipts were fould up. They kept sayig "you agreed and you will go with us." I was pesistent that I had not agreed. I am getting a full refund. What is a contract supposed to have in it. There was nothing saying I had accepted the package or a faster type of pay program. Stick with your guns. Gabbi

  15. These kind of posts are always welcomed because they shed light on such a touchy subject for writers. Too many times writers have not done the research necessary, whether for a lack of knowledge or whatever other reason, and are at risk to these sort of predatory "publishers".

    Any amount of getting the word out is a good thing.

    I'll also echo those who recommend Absolute Write as a good source of information on this sort of thing. A little research goes a long, long way.

  16. Yep, another promoting Absolute Write here. An entire section on publishers, agents, magazines, anything to do with the publishing industry. You can learn a lot about both writing and the publishing industry there.

  17. Avatar Gabbi says:

    Thanks for the literature on writer's beware-The company I had trouble with has been sued big time-It validates my beliefs in what I did…I'm keeping the guide you gave us-Thanks

  18. Avatar Bonnie says:

    Thanks. I knew about the Writers Watercooler and Editors and Preditors, but not Writer Beware.

    Bonnie Ferrante

  19. Avatar Laila Knight says:

    Thanks for the heads up. It's so easy to make a leap without thinking when we're all so eager to be published. I still have a unmentionable company seeking to publish my old garbage. I hate scams.

  20. Jessica, thank you for sharing this. As an aspiring author, I really appreciate you looking out for us.

  21. Avatar Rebecca Kiel says:

    It is a shame that there are stories like this out there. A good reminder to be sure to do your research when querying.

  22. You tried your best, and all we can hope is that the author heeded your advice. If not, let's hope countless more will.

  23. Thanks for the links to Writer Beware! (Tate Publishing is on our Thumbs Down Publisher List; it's one of the companies we get the most questions and reports about.)

  24. Thanks for this post, Jessica. A periodic reminder is always useful. It's a shame such is necessary, but people new to the craft of writing are vulnerable. One of the things I love about the writing community is how everyone looks out for each other.

  25. Thanks for the advice. And thanks for caring about us wanna-be authors.

  26. There are always new writers out there in need of this advice, which is why joining somewhere like RWA is such a great idea. The other thing I've been seeing first hand lately is people who call themselves "agents" soliciting unpublished writers through certain websites. A check of the websites mentioned in this post usually reveals the truth.
    This was a great post, a straightforward story to help others learn. I only hope the author mentioned finds her way and doesn't get involved with this so called publisher.

  27. Jessica, I've heard of this so many times. It's so sad how there are people who will pray on others. 🙁

    I think this is the reason why so many people are going independent, too.

    I've twittered this as well as facebooked. Thanks for sharing this!


    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?

    YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!

  28. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Anon – this post is about Tate and other vanity publishers, your post has nothing to do with that and you're using this thread to attack others. It's clear you don't understand how threads like this work.

    I appreciate this post because it's teaching writers to research, they should never have to pay to be published, ever.

    Stick to the subject please so you don't ruin it for the rest of us.

  29. It's kind of hard to help an author who denies the obvious, especially if this publishing company has been criticized all over the Internet.

  30. Avatar Elissa M says:

    Anon 7:05, your agenda is showing…

  31. Avatar Jeannie says:

    @ Anon. 7:05

    Hi, Barbara!

  32. Avatar HaleyKateB says:

    Thanks Jessica! I appreciate the heads up and the concern you give to aspiring writers!

  33. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Only Writers Beware gets to attack others! Right?

  34. Avatar Anonymous says:

    A review of the complaint will provide some background:


  35. I must admit that this time passed very much quickly

  36. Avatar Anonymous says:

    It would be interesting to see if Victoria Strauss, Ann "A.C." Crispin ever reply to this. I don't think that they will because they know that they are lying.

    There was an interesting article today in of all places – the TV page of the NY Daily News. In reviewing the new show on CW "H8R", David Hinckley, on page 84, made the exact point that The Write Agenda is trying to make in the against Ann "A.C."Crispin, Victoria Strauss, Writer Beware and others:

    "The Internet has provided the greatest cover in history for people who don't want to be accountable for what they write or say…in most case the 'Net simply enables people to say anything, however nasty or untrue, without ever having to take responsibility for it."

    However, under cover of Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act (which protects Internet Service Providers from being sued for defamatory content on their sites), vicious and obviously defamatory statements made against innocent people have been defended by self-righteous psuedo-civil libertarians.

    May your days be numbered. Come on Strauss & Crispin, show your ovaries!

  37. Avatar jfaust says:

    I have deleted the anonymous posts attacking writers beware and others on this blog. As you know, I remain open to anonymous posts to allow constructive conversation. To me none of this is constructive. If you have real issues with some of the sites I linked to please take them up directly with those sites.



  38. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I see you deleted the part about the googlebomb and personal attacks because Bookends Blog commenters have participated in personal attacks themselves on this blog, and don't try to hide it, we have printouts going back years with these types of attacks- very unprofessional if you ask me. That "free speech" ploy only applies to your side of the story. Others do not get to have their side. I am never going to read this blog again, it is a waste of precious time.