The news story shown above tells us that author Larry C. York "was offered a publishing contract with Tate publishing."
That fact may have impressed Larry's family and friends, and the newspaper reporter, but it's not really a notable achievement.
Getting a contract from Tate did not require Larry's impressing a literary agent and then the agent's impressing the publisher who paid Larry a magnificent "advance."
Getting a contract from Tate (like other pay-to-publish companies) requires that the author has three things:
- Blood pressure above zero
- A credit card with sufficient funds available
- A manuscript that is not considered to be obscene or libelous
Literary merit is not a major consideration because companies like Tate make most of their money by selling services and trinkets to naive authors -- not by selling books to readers. If Tate turns down even a horrible book rejected by other publishers, it loses income.
Tate says, "We do not take on every project that is submitted" but it warmly welcomes rejects. I could not find Tate's publishing prices on its website because it masquerades as a "mainline publishing organization."
It tells prospective customers: "Have you searched out and submitted your manuscript to dozens of publishing companies only to be turned away, time and time again? If you've answered yes . . ., Tate Publishing could be your answer."
It can cost THOUSANDS of dollars to get a contract from Tate, and the web is filled with complaints about the company.
Its books have very high prices that make them uncompetitive (e.g., $35.99 for a 234-page paperback that costs a few bucks to print, and many ebooks are ridiculously priced at $15.99).
Stay far away.
There's nothing inherently wrong with using a pay-to-publish company, but:
- Be very careful
- Don't sprain your wrist patting yourself on the back when you receive the contract.