This is the story of Julie Rahm and her hard-fought journey to publish. She, like myself and hundreds of others, fell into the trap of a shady publisher with a slanted business model and an ethical grey area. It’s what brought Julie and I together in fact, but her spirit and ability to learn and forgive is what has inspired this particular article of mine. Today I write in the hopes that other would-be authors can learn from Julie, and us all, and avoid some of the pitfalls we fell prey to. Here is Julie’s tale.
As so many of us writer’s do, Author Julie Rahm began her earliest creative pieces as a child. From early childhood days in a diary, to her school years where creative writing took a deeper slant in her life. As her life moved forward, the ideal of being published was the unspoken dream in the back of her mind. But life, as life often will, back-burnered her dreams to the beating of the wife, motherhood, career drums. It wasn’t until mid-2009, that a story hit her so hard she had no choice but to sit and type it out as fast as she could. Her inspiration was so deep within her that it even sidelined her family vacation for a bit so she could type as fast and uninterrupted as possible. Once complete, she KNEW she had a hit on her hands but wasn’t sure where to go with it.
“Until a new door opens and another chapter begins, I thank God for giving what he has given me as of today.”
“Not knowing who to trust or much information about any publishing companies whatsoever, a relative of mine published her book through Tate Publishing. She got results…her book published, on the market to be purchased. I thought…hmm…I will give this a try. I submitted my manuscript for Bessie the Amazing Cow.”
Rahm’s submission to Tate was in August of 2009 and by October of that same year she had officially signed a contract for publication to the tune of a $4,000.00 fee. Though the investment was steep, her childhood dream had been rekindled and with the support of family and friends she pushed forward with BIG eyes on a BIG prize. Her initial enthusiasm was almost instantly dampened by the reality of publishing with Tate.
“The process took a year from start to finish with many frustrations. Seems like I had to be the one making contact with various people depending on where I was in the publication process. For example, there were about 3 or so people who ended up working on editing my book. Each of them wanted something different with the wording, spelling or whatever to change the story a bit. There was no consistency between them. I did my best to put my faith and trust in them as they were to be the experts, the publishers who supposedly knew what they were supposed to be doing. Once my book was published, I did my best to try and secure book signings and get the word out. There were minimal attempts on their part to reach out to “niche” markets and set up book signings. I was pretty much on my own, having to do my own research and find venues in which to sell. I did my best to do what I could.” A tune that is all too familiar to the ears of fellow Tate Authors. Employee turn-overs, inconsistent communication, lack of proper marketing, et al.
Sadly Julie Rahm’s challenges reached even further into her Royalties. Despite consistent sales, her royalty checks dwindled to mere pennies before dropping off completely. She was dumbfounded that her books’ sales were so poor given the feedback she was getting from readers. It just didn’t seem to make sense. She wasn’t sure how to market herself more but again, she trusted Tate to be professionals and thus when they offered her a “buy one get one for free deal, she jumped to begin the next book in her series. “A 90-Day rush order and have a website of my own created for me by Tate for just $1,200. Everything seemed perfect.” Being the busy wife, mom, teacher she was, Tate’s offer to not only publish but create a website was timed well since she couldn’t find the hours in her day to do it on her own. In 2016, Julie signed a SECOND contract with Tate. The process was slow, communication was even worse, and her 90-day window came and went with no completed book. “I had given Tate Publishing the benefit of the doubt and waited them out …they were going through this transition phase. My hopes and dreams of continuing my book series was going down the drain. I felt like a failure.”
A heart crushing loss for sure to accept the final reality that Tate Publishing had closed their doors for good. As someone who fell for similar tactics I can attest to the weighty moment of realism when you understand fully how you have been scammed. From that point forward July Rahm had a choice to make on how to proceed. And she made it very clear that bitterness and anger was NOT in her plans. “I needed to be able to enjoy life and be proud of who I was. My whole world felt as if everything just came crashing down on me. How could I express what I have done and been through to those who have supported me and feel good about it? Hard earned money given to and wasted by greed of someone else. Would I hear, ‘I told you so’ by certain people who didn’t trust Tate when I did? Many fears and worries consumed me. So, as you can see, praying for Tate Publishing was the best thing I could do. ”
Julie says her eyes have been opened by the experience and through God’s grace she is learning the power of gratitude and wisdom. Getting her AH-HA moment might have taken her longer than most (fear not Dear Julie, took me about that long as well) she has learned so much. She has begun reading up and researching self-publishing, and her trials has taught her so much about marketing and the business side of writing books. She is exploring CreateSpace and a few other options as well. Thought unsure on where her path will lead her just yet, she refuses to simply give in. “Not sure if this will take days, weeks, months or years, but I do know it will all happen in its own timing, the right time. Until a new door opens and another chapter begins, I thank God for giving what he has given me as of today.”
WISE WORDS and a wonderful outlook that has lifted my spirits this day. I applaud Julie and her forgiving heart. I encourage anyone reading this to take not only of the lesson learned, but the ATTITUDE gleaned from this experience as well. The road to a published book is NEVER easy and NEVER goes how you think it should. But if you are wise, eyes open, you can learn not only from your OWN journey, but the journey of those around you. Hone your craft dear writers, but JUST KEEP WRITING!
To follow Julie's writing journey, follow her on Facebook at Bessie The Amazing Cow
To See MORE articles from Ex-Tate Author's like Julie, check out this collection.