As a self-professed ‘accidental writer’ I have a soft spot for those who fell into the art in a rather sideways manner. It’s not often you find someone, like myself, who has a legitimately published book, and no aspirations to actually BE a writer. The simple act of having a published book requires a lot of work and it’s not work many people under take without some underlying drive spurring them on. But what if the drive that produced your book, had nothing to do with the book itself but the message behind it? Where do you go with your message if your original medium, a book, gets shafted by shady publication?
Such is the focus of this series of articles I’m doing in the hopes of bringing about a sense of commonality and brotherhood. Stories of other writers, like me, that fell on the sword of a bad publisher who, to coin a phrase, done them wrong. My hope is that by sharing our stories, we can ENCOURAGE other authors who have found themselves in this same spot, and hopefully help a few new writers avoid some of our pitfalls. This brings me to the MIRACULOUS story of Pontus J. Back.
Pontus J. Back never wanted to be a writer. In fact, he had a solid and successful career as a rock musician. He spent nearly a decade and a half touring with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, Whitesnake, Status Quo, and more. During that time, his childhood demons haunted him and his drinking (already a problem from earlier years) only increased. Drugs came into play and after a while his body began to show the wear and tear of the years of drug and alcohol abuse. In February of 2007, Pontus was taken to a hospital in Finland where Doctors felt his body was finally giving in. Truly he was on his deathbed and he felt sure the end was near. It was then, at the bedrock of rock bottom, that Pontus received what he felt was a miracle. A calling from Jesus, to begin sharing The Good News of Christ to the world. Wrapped in that miracle was a physical turnaround that had doctor’s stumped. His body restarted, his strength returned. The medical staff was amazed.
As he turned his life around, his music changed as well. He was ordained as a minister and became a travelling missionary for the Gospel. His creative nature helped him craft a book out of his Life Story. Pontus hoped it would open even more doors for him to share his life experiences and help show others how Jesus saved him. It was only when that work was near completion that he came across Tate Publishing. “I am not an author. I am a musician who lived a rough life with drugs and alcohol. I had help from a sister in Christ who did the translation [from Finnish to English] and we all put lots of time and effort in this book. We were all really happy when we heard that Tate Publishing wanted to sign a contract and that they thought our book would have a great market. My goal with publishing this book in English was to let people know that Jesus is alive and spread the word that for God nothing is impossible.” He signed on with Tate in 2015 and soon his book, “It’s a Miracle” was headed for publication. “I was told that they really liked my story and that I was welcome to the Tate family. They stayed in contact with me until they received my money for the contract and then it all went downhill”
Back’s story takes a slightly different turn than the many other’s I have heard due to his international status. Communication challenges began earlier, almost immediately after production began. Tate Publishing required Pontus to wire transfer all his author fees and funds over. Then held the money with no communication for days stating they never received the funds. Once that was behind them, struggles in production just got worse. Tate’s lack of honoring Pontus’ requests was blatant and immediate. He tried to work with them but phone calls and emails to his numerous represented would go unanswered for days on end, if ever answered at all. As Pontus J. Back states, he pushed until the very top of the Tate food chain got involved. “Ryan Tate promised to do a video for my release party at a church in Florida. That never happened. There were so many issues and finally I got hold of Richard Tate. He said that the way my case had been handled was not acceptable so he was going to take care of it personally and he was going to make sure we got an end to this and he was the only contact I should have in the future with Tate Publishing. He said he wanted to meet with his leaders….I got some new hope after talking to Richard Tate but it went as it went as he decided to not answer my e-mails or phone calls anymore and gave the case over to Terry Cordingley who they said was the best in business. Terry was rude and cancelled my contract….I never received anything in written or any files in the mail.” Pontus even states he has recorded phone calls and emails where he was insulted, referred to as a liar and a moron, by Ryan Tate. Sadly, those words ring familiar with an infamous recording by a Tate Employee of a staff meeting where claims were made that Ryan used similar terminology to his own staff. Still, despite the mistreatment with the Tate organization, Pontus J. Back is dedicated as ever. For book writing was NEVER his intent.
“I was on my deathbed when Jesus came to me 10 years ago, and told me what to do; tell all people about Him and about my life. I have been in full time ministry for 8 years now and me and my son are traveling around 250 days per year sharing my life story with testimony and music. I have mailed Tate for the files but not heard back. I want to self-publish the book and have it on line for sale. But I am not giving up my calling.”
Pontus is so focused in fact that on the 10-year anniversary of that fateful night in
a Finnish hospital bed, He is rocking around the work as the Rockin’ Reverend. Having already released three Christian rock album, he is working on a new album and wants to continue taking the Gospel out to where the people are. “Right now, the book project is put on ice…To me it is not about the money, it is all about letting people know that Jesus is alive and that NOTHING is impossible for Him. If He can use someone like me He can use anyone. If He could change my life, He can change anyone’s life. I am a free man today. Sober and clean for 10 years and it is all because of Jesus.”
And for all other would-be writers out there I recommend adding Pontus’ indomitable spirit to the list of traits you should have. However you found yourself crafting a new book, be cautious, be prayerful, proceed with eyes-open but never ever give up on your ultimate goal. If you are passionate about writing, then hone your craft, learn what you can, and carry-on. ROCK ON PONTUS J. BACK, you are inspiring to me and all the other authors out there who are struggling to find our footing after betrayal at the hands of a predator editor. You definitely give me and other writers the courage to JUST KEEP WRITING!
To follow Pontus J. Back and his ministry efforts, check out the following:
Here his music on Reverb Nation
Check his YouTube Channel
Fountain Of Life church website
To read more stories like this one, click HERE.