So many authors I have spoken with have stated they ALWAYS knew they wanted to write. They used writing for years as a catharsis or an outlet. They felt compelled to study writing in their formal education and had YEARS of experience in the written word. I love to hear the enthusiasm but I confess sometimes it leaves me feeling a bit wanting. I rather FELL into the art of writing. I was shoved into my first written project ever during an emotional time in my life and it took years before my confidence grew enough to attempt a book. This is why the story of my latest author strikes such a chord with me. She, much like I, had not grown up believing she would be a writer. Rather, it was a school project that gave her a first taste of it. From then until now her story unfolded in one wild ride. This is Ramona Trevino’s story.
Ramona Trevino is a teacher. She has spent the bulk of her adult years shaping young minds to think for themselves…. but it was her own college assignment in 1993 that stretched HER to begin writing. The assignment took off within Ramona, and soon she couldn’t seem to keep up with the thoughts as they poured out of her. “God was truly pushing me to write, I just did not know where to begin. One day loud and clear He said ‘you will write this book’. I sat down and in just over two weeks I had completed my first draft.” Two weeks was all it took to go from an idea, to a completed first draft of a full manuscript. That is remarkable! She completed that during her own school’s summer break and with the encouragement of family began the process of legitimizing her work. She paid for copyrights to be completed and even got a cover designed before uploading the book to Smashwords. To anyone else it would seem she had hit a home run, but for Trevino, that was simply not enough. “I knew deep in my heart that I needed to get this book in print and in the hands of women.”
She began investigating Print-On-Demand services but worried she didn’t have the experience she needed to make it a success. So, she prayed, and searched online, and found Tate Publishing. “I received a call from Trinity Tate, one of the Tate Family who worked in acquisitions. I was floored! I actually remember crying. She brought up things in my story so I felt that she had to have truly read through the manuscript. She stated they wanted to work with me.” Trevino was offered a contract on-the-spot for a nominal fee of nearly $4,000.00. Ramona was taken aback by the dollar amount and told Tate that she simply couldn’t pay that amount. Trevino then went on to investigate the company and noticed a trend of complaints. That was enough to give her pause. Tate was relentless though. “When I got to work the next day Trinity called me again and stated she felt a connection to me and truly wanted to help. I questioned her about the complaints I had found and she stated there were some past customers and employees that were probably getting paid to write those complaints. Trinity told me that the enemy tries hard to take them down.” Tate seemed to have an answer for everything and after a solid week of back and ford they finally offered Ramona HALF PRICE and a LIFETIME contract to sign on the dotted line. Despite the pressure tactics they used, they seemed confident and genuine and Trevino believed them.
Contract originally signed in June of 2015, the process went smooth from there. Quickly even. By December of the same year, her book entitled “Free At Last: The struggle to be good enough” was fully published under Ramona's pen name I. M. Dauntless. It was immediately made available
for sale. Ramona felt her trust was well earned and she eagerly moved from production into the marketing and sales phase. Things quickly took a turn for the worse. “It took me forever to get a press release, or even help in finding places to have book signing events. The first royalty statement I received was literally for pennies. The book orders I placed for myself began to not arrive as promised and my many phone calls to my project manager, or Trinity, or even Terry Cordingley the marketing rep, fell unanswered.”
The final blow for Trevino was in mid-2016. She placed an order for 1000 copies of her own book. The Marketing rep at that time, Terry Cordingley, promised her a BOGO deal for up to 2000 books for the bargain price of $1000.00. The books were to be shipped to Ramona in boxes of 100, with one box arriving each month. Sadly, that order was never completed. No replies to emails, no calls from her voice messages, just silence. Ramona decided to pull the trigger on her contract escape clause and back out but by then it was too late. Tate had closed their doors for good and she was left holding the bag. The very expensive and EMPTY bag that she paid money out, but never got her materials in return. Emotional heartbreak aside,the financial and mental stress of it all began to take a physical toll on Ramona and she had a health scare towards the end of 2016.
“I was sick to my stomach with the thought of what was happening. I had a blood pressure scare at work and had to go by ambulance to the hospital. With my few days off work from that, I had time to research what was going on and I stumbled on a support page on Facebook for former Tate Authors, finally I was able to get the support I needed. I was finally able to get some questions answered.”
To date Ramona hasn’t received her paid for materials, nor her money back. She has filed a fraud report with her credit card agency regarding the most recent purchases but there has not been any final resolution on it. In total, Ramona, on a teacher’s salary no less, is out of pocket over $7,000.00 dollars of her personal funds. For a book that Tate never marketed, for materials she ordered they never delivered, for a website that was never built, and for dreams she handed them that they then threw in the trash.
Ramona Trevino, a victim by Tate standards, stands fierce in her resolve nonetheless. “I never would think that God would gift me with writing in this magnitude. Hearing the changed lives of women after they read my story made the difference to me. My goal as a writer for Christ is to share HIS love through words of encouragement and healing. To share real life stories of redemption and restoration. I am confident with my work and am working to not only re-publish using Amazon Createspace, but also translate it into Spanish.” She is also working on her second book.
Ramona has a fighting spirit I am glad I crossed paths with. When it comes to your writing, whether you aimed to be published or FELL into writing from a college assignment, sometimes you must FIGHT for your voice to be heard. Be intentional, be prayerful, but proceed with eyes-open. If you are passionate about writing, then hone your craft and write-on. ROCK ON RAMONA! I encourage you always to JUST KEEP WRITING!
To learn more about Ramona and her work check out:
To read MORE stories like this one, check out the following:
Author Interview - Charron Walker
Author Interview - Shaudonna Bryant
Author Interview - Cheri Andrews
Author Interview - Bill Haile, Sr.