As a writer, if your heart truly calls you to pen your thoughts and feelings, how do you proceed into a career if the financial and logistical hurdles seem insurmountable? Making a career go-of-it, as they say, doesn’t always mean your first big effort will be the one that brings home the bacon. So, what do you do when your hopeful writing gig catapults you to a brick-wall, full-stop? As an author, what do you do with your gift, your talent, your passion, when you hit these kinds of hurdles? 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 AMAZING story of Lita Cruz.
At the young age of 10, Lita Cruz began writing short poems. She would then hum a tune and create child-like songs out of the words she had crafted. As she matured, she wrote short stories about fellow students for her school magazine. She continue thru adolescents writing thru her days until finally, as an adult, she had composed seven full songs and completed her first book, “Starless Starr: A Story of Heartbreak, Challenge, and Glory”. That award-winning work was published in 1997. To Lita, it seemed like the arc of her career was achieving her ultimate goals! All she needed was a solid partner to help her achieve the next level. She began searching for a producer or her music. Tate Music Group stepped up to the plate and within their umbrella of services she produced 7 songs. At some point during production, she was told they had publishing company, Tate Publishing. Given her experience with them to that point, making the jump to their publication services seemed like a logical and safe move.
As Lita tells it, the beginning with Tate Publishing was great. She published 3 full novels and
produced 2 CDs totaling 18 completed songs. With such a big start, it seemed she was on her way, but her time with Tate was not to be the final push towards notoriety she was hoping for. “All my work was released, but my copyrights on my music were not completed. I later learned my latest book, Enchanted Limbo, was released in late 2016 but never distributed or marketed.” In short, Tate’s abrupt closing impacted BOTH her music, AND her writing career. Lita suddenly found herself at a dead-stop. And as if all this wasn't challenge enough, Cruz’s income and life-phase left her wondering how she will get her career re-launched. The process to regain her footing has left her in a state of grief. Lita, like many authors, poured herself into each of her projects so to have them taken from her in such a way has truly felt like a devastating loss.
“When I told Tate I am a senior with a small pension; they only charged me $700 for my first book but it was on the second book that they charged me with $3,900. The fees just kept coming. Totaled up, $5,348.00 of my retirement savings is now gone!"
Money, Lita says, she can’t recover due to unpaid royalties and lost time on work. The lack of publicity has left Cruz's work severely under marketed. And she can't easily re-launch her career now. And while Cruz could easily use her age and income status as the reason to give up her dreams, her fighting spirit and creativity is proving SHE is going to be hard to keep down.
“I am a retiree and I have used all my savings on Tate. My small pension is not enough to re-finance productions that Tate has taken down with them in their closing. So, while attending to works trapped by Tate, I am planning to offer my services as a freelance writer to anyone who may need me. I love to write and I will be an asset as a freelance writer. Hopefully I can gain enough income in that to maybe salvage what Tate has left in ruins.”
Lita is an accomplished senior citizen who has dedicated her time to writing and composing while supporting not only her dreams, but encouraging other former Tate authors to FIGHT for the dreams they have as well. In fact, Lita has since independently published SEVERAL new books:
She does confess though, that even in these Golden Years, she has learned a crucial and valuable lesson in her dealings with Tate. “I allowed my excitement to deceive my better judgement. I will not let that happen again in choosing a publisher or producer to work with. Calm, level, judgement is always the wiser path.”
WISE WORDS indeed from a seasoned writer with GREAT wisdom to share. As a fellow author and Tate victim I APPLAUD Lita’s fighting spirit and willingness to push on despite losing a chunk of her modest retirement savings. Her decision to freelance and offer up short stories in the interim shows a tenacious spirit that any emerging writer would do well to adapt. WELL DONE LITA! Way to show other would-be authors how to JUST KEEP WRITING!
To learn more about Lita T. Cruz and her work, check her out on:
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