This article marks my 25th interview of Tate Publishing authors. I have had the great privilege to share the stories of so many creative talents thru this time and today's is a favorite of mine for sure. You see, Tate Publishing may have well made some poor business choices and practiced with some shady ethical maneuvers, but this author has NOT let them stop her. 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 and find new success. I hope to INSPIRE those who are struggling to find their success. This brings me to Taomi Ray.
Taomi Ray began writing in her early school years. Though her childhood dreams were to become a scientist, a school writing project inspired her creativity. The bug got her, and she couldn't stop writing. She crafted poetry and prose and even self-published her first work, a Poet's Journey, in 2009 using Lulu.com as her platform. While she was happy with her creative body of work, she wanted more. "I had been seeking out ways to get a real publisher and in doing so I sent out my manuscript to multiple publishing companies. I was thrilled to receive a letter from Tate that stated they were interested in publishing my book. I thought I had really done a good thing until I read further." As Taomi discovered, the contract offer included huge fees for a variety of services including marketing and publicity. Taomi opted to continue her work with Self-Publishing and released three more books. Her writing career seemed stable but she still yearned for the legitimacy of a traditional publisher. That great mantel we all often strive for. Her prayers seemed to be answered when Tate came BACK a second time.
Despite walking away from Tate's offer, they came back at her again. "In 2014, I received another letter from Tate. This time they were willing to eliminate all of those special services and just publish the book." It seemed like a much better balance, and so with eyes WIDE open, Taomi Ray signed on with Tate Publishing. As with so many other tales I have shared (25 in all so far) her story took a quick turn during production. "My biggest concerns were they took a very long time to get my ordered shipments to me. They charged me more per book than I paid to self publish. I was constantly shifted to a new editor and they mixed up orders a few times and never corrected the problem. I also had sales over the past 2 years and never received royalty checks for those sales." Her time with Tate was short lived, but she continued doing the work she knew to do and was constantly working the marketing of her entire body of work, including the items published outside of Tate. "I was extremely excited about having a real publisher. I thought if continued to self-publish people would not take me serious as a writer. I was so troubled about the continual decline in quality of the services provided." Taomi's troubles with Tate came to a head when she tried to purchase some books for a booked speaking gig, only to discover the books were no longer available. THAT was how she found out about Tate's closing.
But don't think that the downfall of that one book with that ONE publisher slowed her down. Quite
Taomi did NOT let the shady ethics of a predator editor hold her back. Nor did she truly fall prey to a scam. She had a wise head on her shoulders, made an educated choice, and proceeded with her eyes firmly on the prize. When things went south, as sometimes they will do, she just dusted herself off and kept going. THIS is exactly what I hope to showcase about Taomi and her creativity the most. Despite the set-backs, despite the disappointment, she never slowed her hustle. She has continued to hone her craft, grow her skills, and this has proven to just be another drop of knowledge added to her collective. Don't just let me tell you though, listen to Taomi in her OWN words.
"One day I want to make great movies that share great stories about great people and I want the whole world to see them. I am open to all opportunities that will be beneficial for what I am doing. There has been no negative effect on my talent, I see this as the way things go in the business world…you win some you lose some. I am keeping it moving."
Folks....Just. Keep. WRITING!!!!!!!!!
To view more of Taomi Ray's work, check out the following:
Amazon Author Page: Taomi Ray
SoundCloud: Taomi 3000
SheTalk Radio on Spreaker.com
To read MORE stories about the Tate Publishing authors affected by their closing, check out THIS PAGE of compiled stories.