I wrote a blog a few weeks back titled What You Need to Know Before Signing with Westbow Press. They are a fairly respected publisher (and I suggested unrightfully so.) One of their chief predecessors was a company named Tate Publishing who operated on the exact same model.
Tate just closed, (shortly before Family Christian Stores shuttered every location of their brick and mortar super-chain last month). Tate formally closed its doors on January 24, 2017. Good.
The unfortunate side, however, is that Tate had long-broadcasted itself as a “Christian Company.” It was probably part of their lure to bring in authors whom they could take advantage of. Claiming to operate with a set of higher, lofty morals gets people to unwittingly drop their defenses somewhat (maybe like predator-priests and altar boys?) The Christian publishing sphere is going to take a bunch of flack this year because of these sorts of gaffes (and Tate might be dead in large part because of the major publishing houses looked at Tate and realized they could do the same thing while adding their name to it to garner credibility. It’s what Westbow has done–mark my words, this will eventually come back up in publishing news).
While Tate is finally dead, there are still tons of clones out there ready to rip off indie authors, so use extreme prejudice when looking at “self-publishing services.” Read the back articles in this blog to learn how to get your indie book produced at zero cost if you decide to self publish. Heck, you can even just email me and I’ll point you in the right direction.
I found an extremely good article titled Beware of Sharks in Publisher’s Clothing. You really ought to read it–I’ve used the principles it suggests over and over (in fact, Tate tried VERY hard to sign me when I wrote my first novel a decade ago. I was trying to survive on almost zero income working as a poor broke youth pastor with two kids, a mortgage, a second job, and a church income of $50 per week while I wrote in the evenings… Tate was more than happy to pressure me into signing–but prayerful wisdom prevailed and I turned them down.) I recognizde that places like Tate stroke the ego and dangle dreams and promises in front of writers like me. Luckily, I recognized that it couldn’t be that easy. I also found horror stories on the Preditors and Editors website which helped steer me away from Tate and a few other companies who contacted me about my manuscript (as if publishers are email unknown writers and soliciting submissions on a regular basis).
I’ve spoken quite a bit about this with people in the past and will tentatively be teaching a panel that touches heavily on this at Lion-Con this fall. Nobody has a greater interest in seeing your book succeed than YOU, so get out there and make it happen.