Tate Publishing & Enterprises Slapped with $1.7 Million Lawsuit, Department of Labor Investigation

NEWS FLASH: On May 4, 2017, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed eight felony charges and one misdemeanor charge (apiece) against Ryan and Richard Tate for alleged fraudulent business practices.

A summary of this extremely long post: so-called Christian vanity publisher stiffs authors, staff, and creditors; gets sued for millions of dollars and fails to show up in court; goes bust with no notice; rises from the dead to seek new victims, only for the founder and CEO to get charted with multiple felonies. The tale unfolds in my initial post and the dozens of updates that follow.

Most recent news is at the bottom.

Since putting this post online, I’ve received dozens of questions about whether there’s a class action lawsuit against Tate. To my knowledge, the answer currently is no. I don’t think that’s the best option, anyway, because given all the complaints by authors and staff of non-payment, not to mention the two multi-million default judgments, I’m guessing that Tate has few resources to tap for restitution.

Instead, I am still strongly encouraging authors to file complaints with the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office–even now that Ryan and Richard Tate have been arrested and charged with crimes. The Oklahoma AG is still looking to hear from Tate victims, and it’s not too late to join the over 700 complainants from whom the AG has heard since the beginning of the year. More complaints will provide more evidence the AG can use, and will also add your name to the list for restitution, if there is any.

Here’s the form to fill out to file your complaint with the AG’s Consumer Protection Division. You can also visit the Attorney General’s website at https://ok.gov/oag/.

Readers of this blog may be familiar with Tate Publishing & Enterprises–an Oklahoma-based publisher that describes itself as “a Christian-based, family-owned, mainline publishing organization with a mission to discover and market unknown authors.”

Tate takes pains to depict itself as a selective traditional publisher that accepts “only a single-digit percentage of authors who submitted manuscripts for publication” (a claim that’s a little hard to credit from a publisher that, if Amazon is to be believed, pumped out 3,000 titles in 2015). In fact, authors must pay nearly $4,000 to publish with Tate, with even more due if they choose to buy any of Tate’s array of extras, such as “personalized author websites” and video book trailers. Tate also incentivizes author book-buying, by promising to refund the original fee once 2,500 books are sold and allowing author purchases to count toward the total–though only if made in bulk quantities of 300 or more.

There is no mention of any of this on Tate’s website or in its videos. Tate doesn’t disclose its fees until authors either submit a manuscript or request more info. For that reason, as well as the very large volume of complaints we’ve received about the company (many of them from writers who approached Tate in the belief that it was a traditional publisher), Tate is included on Writer Beware’s Thumbs Down Publishers List. (For this and other comments we made, Tate claimed in a 2008 blog post to be suing us, but no lawsuit was ever filed.)

You don’t have to take my word about the complaints, by the way. In 2015, Tate was the second most complained-about company to the Oklahoma attorney general. Many more complaints–not just about Tate Publishing, but about its vanity recording subsidiary, Tate Music Group–can be found online, including at the Better Business Bureau–where, despite 102 complaints over the past 3 years and what the BBB acknowledges as “a significant pattern of complaints”, Tate has an “A” rating. (How do you get an “A” rating from the BBB despite more than 100 customers complaining about your service? Sign up to become a BBB accredited business and make sure you respond to everything.) (UPDATE: Sometime between me putting this post online and June 24, the BBB suspended Tate’s accreditation and removed its rating.)

Tate got some unflattering news coverage in 2012, when CEO Ryan Tate fired 25 production workers in retaliation for an anonymous email about rumored layoffs at the company (the rumors were sparked by Tate’s decision to outsource some of its work to the Philippines). Ryan Tate’s nearly 20-minute rant, recorded secretly by an employee, went viral after it was leaked online. (You can listen to it–if you dare–here. You can also marvel at Tate’s Employment Agreement, here.)

Now Tate may be in bigger trouble. Xerox Corporation, which leases some of the equipment Tate uses for its 24-hour-a-day printing facility, has filed a $1.7 million lawsuit against Tate Publishing and Ryan Tate, alleging defaults on re-structured lease and service agreements and on a promissory note executed to address previous debt, and seeking re-possession of $450,000 in leased equipment as well as a money judgment of $463,786.90 against Ryan Tate personally, as Guarantor on the promissory note. The full petition can be seen here.

The suit has spurred some local media attention, and Ryan Tate isn’t taking it lying down. To The Journal Record (sorry–paywall) he characterized the lawsuit as intimidation. “[Xerox is] just positioning and posturing, trying to force us to sign some different long-term contracts we’re not interested in.” To KFOR.com he downplayed the impact of the suit, describing Xerox as “really a small part of our manufacturing process.” To the Mustang News, he claimed that “We are in the process of filing our counter suits and Xerox is trying to force us to use their equipment for our shop on a long-term basis as well as they have failed to deliver on some major contractual elements in regards to service, maintenance, and equipment purchases.” (Worth noting: according to this glowing 2011 “case study” on Tate’s partnership with Xerox, Tate has been working with Xerox since at least 2007, and its production facility is set up with “all Xerox digital equipment.”)

That’s not the only lawsuit Tate is fielding at the moment. One of its authors, Bat-Zion Susskind-Sacks, has filed suit for breach of contract, deceptive trade and marketing practices, fraud, and several other causes of action, alleging that she paid over $12,000 for a book that was published full of errors (twice) and never marketed. She’s asking for her money back, as well as attorneys’ fees and damages. Her amended complaint, which includes pages from her book showing the mistakes, can be seen here.

Summonses in both suits were issued on the same day, May 27. Tate has 20 days to respond. Stay tuned.

UPDATE 7/1/16: More trouble for Tate. Local news station KFOR reports that staff have been laid off from Tate’s printing plant, and author complaints of non-payment are surfacing (Writer Beware has received similar complaints).

UPDATE 11/15/16: Per the most recent updates to the court docket, plaintiff Xerox has successfully re-possessed its equipment, but retained a cause of action for lease amounts still due. It has also discovered additional debts that weren’t included in the original complaint. Accordingly, it has filed an Amended Petition raising the total money amount it’s seeking from Tate to $1.89 million.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Labor has launched an investigation into Tate–an investigation that has spurred allegations of tampering from some Tate employees, who claim that Ryan Tate “coached” them on what to say.

UPDATE 11/30/16: Nobody knows the troubles Tate’s seen…oh, wait, everyone does. News Channel KFOR reports that three new lawsuits have popped up this month: one by a musician suing over copyright laws (a customer of Tate Music Group, which also runs on a vanity model); one by memorabilia manufacturer Jostens, which claims that Tate owes it more than $13,000; and one by the property company that leases Tate its print shop (vacant now that Xerox has re-possessed its equipment), which claims that Tate owes nearly $20,000 in rent.

UPDATE 12/22/16: I’m getting a flood of emails and comments not just from Tate authors, but from Tate staffers in the Philippines (you can see some of the comments below). Here’s what I’m hearing.

– Apparently Tate’s Philippine workforce once numbered close to 1,000, but massive dismissals have seriously reduced this. The consensus seems to be that around 80% of staff have lost their jobs since October.
– Unpaid or part-paid salaries and bonuses; apparently corporate headquarters in the USA hasn’t been wiring enough money to cover payroll.
– Staff complaints filed with the local Labor Department, citing salary disputes and dismissals without the required 30-day notice.
– Production halts and slowdowns have put books in limbo, since there’s no longer sufficient staff to work on them.
– Resignation of high-level corporate staff in the US.
– Silence on these issues from corporate headquarters.

The Philippine staffers I’ve heard from are convinced that Tate can’t survive much longer. Several have told me that they suspect that the Tates are shifting assets to a new company called Lux Creative Concepts LLC, which was registered in February 2016 by Ryan Tate’s wife, Christy Kelley-Tate.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE 1/10/17: From the comments on this post, today–I stress that this is unconfirmed. [UPDATE:: at least one Tate author has received an email from Tate’s marketing department confirming the closure]

“Tate Publishing has officially shut down their business in the Philippines today. Their main office in Cebu has been locked up by the Department of Labor and the owner of the building due to non-payment of the rent.”

UPDATE 1/11/17: And another:

“I’m an ex-employee of Tate, and we were just at the Cebu office yesterday. Today is the the last day that the office is open, mainly for HR to furnish ex-employees with certificates of employment and other documents. The Department of Labor has officially ceased all operations and is taking stock of the company’s physical assets.

We have been informed that, as of this writing, there is no official directive or announcement from the Tates that the company is closing or declaring bankruptcy.”

UPDATE 1/12/17: More on the Philippines debacle from an Oklahoma-based blog that has published a lot of articles about Tate’s shenanigans. A former Tate staffer in Tate’s now-closed Cebu offices describes partial payment of salaries, non-payment of government-mandated bonuses, and other problems dating back months.

I’ve received many similar emails from Cebu staffers, one of whom shared with me the Department of Labor notice resulting from a compliance visit to Tate’s Cebu offices on January 9. Findings:

UPDATE 1/14/17: Some Tate authors report receiving an email signed by Tate’s Director of Production, Tim Kelley, claiming that Ryan Tate hasn’t paid employees and “your book will never be finished.” This email was reportedly followed, within a couple of days, by another email claiming that the first email was the result of “identity theft” and its allegations aren’t true.


Meanwhile, Tate authors are receiving this, also–apparently–from Tim Kelley:

Things are fine, folks, just fine. Never mind the mass layoffs of employees. Never mind the lack of payment and non-communication. It’s all just a transition.

I’d love to hear from Tate authors who sign up for the portal. Have you received any results from your “new support ticket”?

UPDATE 1/16/17: There’s now a forum for Tate authors to share experiences and support: Tate Publishing Help.

UPDATE 1/18/17: The Xerox lawsuit goes to court on Friday.

“Meanwhile, it was unclear Tuesday who is representing Tate Publishing in the case. The firm’s attorney when the lawsuit initially was filed was Richard L. Hasley, of Oklahoma City. But in September, an order was granted allowing Hasley to withdraw from the case, as he was retiring.

Hasley was replaced by George H. Ramey and William D. Tharp, of Ramey & Tharp in Yukon.

On Dec. 1, Ramey & Tharp submitted an application to withdraw from the case as Tate Publishing’s representatives, as well, saying the Mustang publisher had failed to meet its financial obligations with the law firm.”

And…uh oh. This is what you get at 12:53pm on January 18 when you click on Tate’s website URL:

YET ANOTHER UPDATE, 1/18/17: I’ve now heard from several Tate authors and former US staffers that Tate closed down today. Two people have told me that it is considering a bankruptcy filing.


Remember how I mentioned suspicions that Tate was shifting assets to a new company called Lux Creative Concepts, LLC, registered last February in Oklahoma by Ryan Tate’s wife, Christy Kelley-Tate? Well, get a load of this.

As many Tate authors know, Tate’s Marketing Director is Terry Cordingley. Here’s a screenshot, taken today, of the Mr. Cordingley’s Blogger profile; it identifies him as Tate’s Associate Director of Marketing, a position he says he’s held since 2006:

And here’s a cut-and-paste, also taken today, of Mr. Cordingley’s LinkedIn profile, which identifies him as the Director of Marketing for Lux Creative, a position he also says he’s held since 2006:


Draw your own conclusions.

UPDATE 1/19/17: This was just posted to the Facebook page of The Lost Ogle, a blog that covers Oklahoma matters and has devoted a good number of posts to Tate:

Tate Publishing Closes

By Traci Chapman

What looked like a fork in the road turned out to be the end of it for Mustang’s Tate Publishing this week, as it closed its doors for the last time.

The news came Wednesday, just days after Tate co-founders Dr. Richard Tate and Rita Tate announced a consolidation of the company’s operations – the shutdown of its Philippines office and layoff of 50 employees there and a new focus on the company’s home base in Oklahoma.

Tate’s Mustang office employed about 30 people as of Monday, Rita Tate said then….

One of Tate family members’ primary concerns during the planned restructuring, and then as they faced the closure of their company, remained the company’s approximately 35,000 authors, they said. Work to help those authors make other arrangements was already underway and would continue as Tate worked with its attorneys to complete the closure process.

I suspect most Tate authors will find that last paragraph bitterly ironic.

ANOTHER UPDATE, 1/19/17: Tate’s website now claims that it’s “experiencing a transition period.” There are links to click; if you do, you’re taken to a release form requiring you to release Tate from legal liability and from providing “any refund or monetary compensation whatever.” For authors whose books have already been published, there’s the option of paying (!!!) a $50 “processing fee” to get final book-ready files.

UPDATES 1/21/17: Terry Cordingley has deleted his Blogger profile and changed his LinkedIn profile. “I previously worked for Lux Creative Concepts as the Director of Marketing, assisting authors with marketing, promotion and publicity for their books. Prior to joining Lux, previously operating as Tate Publishing LLC…” (my bolding)

The bolded wording is interesting, because I’ve learned, via a former Tate employee, that Tate was issuing Lux Creative Concepts contracts simultaneously with Tate contracts during the final year of its existence. According to the employee, the Lux contracts cost a few hundred dollars more than the standard Tate contracts, and were for authors who wanted more media “extras”.

I’ve also learned, via an article published yesterday in Oklahoma paper The Journal Record, that yet another lawsuit has been filed against Tate: this one by Lightning Source, to which Tate routed its printing business in June of last year (the complaint can be seen here).

Lightning Source, which alleges that Tate failed to pay for services rendered, is seeking $1.8 million: $722,000 (which it paid to Tate “for the exclusive rights to print and distribute at least five million, five hundred thousand (5,500,000) non-returned units of titles”) plus an equal amount in damages, plus late charges. The lawsuit also names Ryan Tate, who signed a Personal Guaranty agreement by which he “absolutely and unconditionally guaranteed the full payment of all amounts due from Tate Publishing to Lightning Source”.

The timeline here is…interesting. Tate signed the agreement with Lightning Source on June 28 of last year–after Xerox, from which it had been leasing printing equipment, filed suit against it for non-payment and threatened to re-possess its printing equipment. Tate was probably desperate for a cash infusion at that point; it’s hard not to suspect that it knew, when it signed the Lightning Source agreement, that it wouldn’t be able to pay. Also… $722,000 is a sizeable chunk of change. What happened to it?

As with the Xerox lawsuit (which is in court today), it’s not clear who will be representing Tate, since both its previous lawyers resigned due to lack of payment.

UPDATE 1/22/17: Quoth Richard Tate, according to this report from News Channel KFOR, “We love our authors. We are not going to abandon them.” He also claims that “while [Tate] represent around 39,000 authors, this closing mainly affects the few hundred that have books not yet published” (forgetting, apparently, about the many who do have books published and haven’t received royalties and/or book orders), and, in an apparent trip back in time to 2008, attributes the company’s closing to “the downturn in the economy”.

Here’s a peek at the nature of Tate’s love for its authors (one of a number of screenshots shared with me by a former Tate employee):

UPDATE 1/23/17: Those of you who are considering giving Tate the $50 for your digital files should read this comment I just received:

My book was ready to be printed so I made some serious attempts to convert the PDF to Word. Impossible. Tate uses a type of PDF called Acrobat reader DC and is proprietary to Tate. I have been doing a very slow page by page copy and paste finding out they have hidden tabs, margins, font and spacing. It takes about an hour to do one chapter that is presentable to my new publisher in Word 2010. Going through the copy and paste I find out I have 2 Chapter One’s and several with no chapter numbers. After doing 5 chapters I found over 300 errors so the book wasn’t worth printing any way. They use a Philippine font that is hard to change when you do a copy and paste.

UPDATE 1/24/17: Here’s the latest iteration of Tate’s website, which is now calling itself the Tate Publishing Transition Information Center:

The Current Clients page still offers the release forms, and notes,

We are currently in negotiations with a number of publishing houses to find the best possible new home for all clients and titles we represent. Our primary objective is to find an appropriate home for our authors to ensure their success. In order to ensure successful negotiations, we are unable to comment further at this time.

What does this mean? Is Tate seeking to sell its contracts? Will the new publisher or publishers honor existing contract terms? Will more money be due? Will authors (and musicians, since this affects Tate Music Group as well) have the opportunity to refuse? These are important questions with big implications.

Please, everyone, keep the emails and comments coming, so I can continue to post updates.

UPDATE, 2/2/17: Beware sharks in publishers’ clothing.

There are plenty of pay-to-play publishing services that are angling for Tate authors’ business, not all of them very reputable. I’ve heard from authors who’ve been solicited by Nydus Publishing Consultants, which sells hugely overpriced publishing packages, and by LitFire Publishing, which was set up by ex-Author Solutions employees in the Philippines and is also seriously overpriced (see my blog post). And that’s not all. This is a screen grab from today:

Lulu.com is okay, but Dog Ear Publishing is expensive and I’ve gotten a number of complaints about Outskirts Press’s quality and service.

If you’re solicited by a publisher or publishing service, could you please let me know? I’d like to keep track. I’ll also be glad to check my files to find out if I’ve gotten complaints about any publisher or service you’re considering using.

UPDATE 2/6/17: Worth repeating: this comment from today. If you’ve paid anything to Tate via credit card, dispute the charges (this goes for PayPal, too):

I’m not sure if you have covered this already, and I apologize if you have, though it may be worth mentioning again – If you are a former recent Tate Authors who paid fees upfront with a credit card, DISPUTE THE CHARGES. I just got off the phone with Discover, who I paid all of my payments adding up to $900 with, and we are disputing all charges from July through November of last year. They investigate, and if they can’t get contact with Tate (Lord knows they won’t since no one can), then I win. The money will be returned to me. I don’t know how other credit card companies handle disputes, but I will always use Discover if they get my money back…

UPDATE 2/11/17: To no one’s surprise (well, my surprise, anyway), Tate has failed to respond to the summons in the Lightning Source suit. From an article at NewsOK:

An attorney who represents a Tennessee-based printing services firm suing Tate Publishing in federal court for nonpayment filed an entry of default in the case on Friday.

Attorney Evan Vincent, of Crowe & Dunlevy, said the entry of default was filed after the Mustang publisher and its president and CEO never responded to a summons they were served on the case in January.

The entry of default clears the way for Vincent and his firm’s client, Lightning Source LLC, to ask a federal judge to grant a motion of default in the case and to award Lightning Source the $1.845 million, plus interest, it seeks from Ryan Tate and his firm.

Ryan, Ryan, Ryan. It’s not looking good, especially since you signed a personal guarantee as part of your deal with Lightning Source.

UPDATE 2/14/17: There’s a Facebook group for ex-Tate authors and musicians where people are sharing experiences.

If you’re thinking of paying the $50 Tate is demanding in order to get your files, this may change your mind. One author who sent the money reports that Tate sent her back an empty envelope.

Maybe this wasn’t intentional to rip the author off (in that case, why send anything?). But even if it’s just the result of incompetence or chaos, it reinforces the un-wisdom of giving Tate any more of your hard-earned money.

UPDATE 2/16/17: Angela Hoy at Booklocker, which has taken on some Tate authors, reports on problems with files received from Tate:

1. One of the interior pages had two headers, one appearing on top of the other (the actual title of the book appeared to be superimposed over the word “title”)…We were able to use some creative Photoshopping to fix that problem.

2. The second (and most disturbing) problem was that the Tate cover had no bleed on it. Without bleed, there is no wriggle room whatsoever for a printer during the cutting/binding process…Authors whose books don’t have a solid background would have challenges overcoming this problem using a flat pdf file (which is what Tate provides).

3. The text at the bottom of the barcode on the back cover was very pixelated and so was text at the top of the back cover….We were able to fix these errors in Photoshop as well but the quality of that text on the Tate version of the cover was truly awful.

UPDATE 2/17/17: Remember when there was speculation that Tate might be planning to shift resources to a new company, Lux Creative Concepts? Turns out that probably isn’t happening.

I’ve discovered that Lux Creative (a registered business entity whose agent is Ryan Tate’s wife, Christy Kelley-Tate) co-existed with Tate for maybe the last year of Tate’s existence, with some Tate authors being offered contracts under the Lux Creative name. These contracts, apparently, involved more media “extras,” and not surprisingly, were more expensive. However, I’ve been watching, and right now, other than its business registration, Lux Creative seems to be as dead as Tate.

The Tates were serious enough about it at one point to want to give it a logo, though. Ever the big spenders, they hosted a design contest at 99Designs (a “graphic design marketplace” where companies pay as little as possible to desperate designers who bid on job postings). Here are the results. Am I alone in finding it funny that the winning entry got Lux Creative’s name wrong?

Another great business decision, brought to you by Tate.

UPDATE 2/25/27: A federal judge just handed Lightning Source a default judgment in its lawsuit against Tate.

As for what happens next in Lightning Source’s case against Tate, the plaintiff will have to return to court to keep Judge Russell apprised on its efforts to collect what it’s owed.

Actions Tate Publishing and Ryan Tate could face might include liens against properties they own, garnishments of funds they have in banks, or other actions Lightning Source might take that the judge deems necessary and appropriate.

Ryan Tate could be summoned to appear before the judge, and any failure to do so could prompt the issuance of a contempt citation.

UPDATE 2/26/27: Well, we were all wondering when/if this would happen. And here it is: Lux Creative Publishing.

The name’s a little different–Lux Creative Publishing, rather than Lux Creative Concepts; and the domain name registration info has been anonymized to conceal the registrant. But the logo–the little torch rising from the book–is the same one commissioned by someone with the username “outate” from 99Designs (see my previous update). So I think it’s safe to conclude that this is Tate, re-booting under a new name.

UPDATE 2/27/17: Shortly after I posted the above update, the Lux Creative Publishing website ceased to be accessible. If you click the link now, you get a “This site has been suspended” notice. I don’t know what it means, but I’m keeping an eye on it.

UPDATE 3/31/17: A roundup of the latest Tate news:

Xerox has been granted summary judgment in its lawsuit against Tate, due in part to the fact that no one from Tate showed up to respond to the motion. Xerox can now proceed to collect nearly $1.5 million from Tate Publishing (good luck), over $450,000 from Ryan Tate (who provided a personal guarantee as part of Tate’s arrangement with Xerox), and costs and attorneys’ fees totaling more than $15,000. All with interest.

Tate also owes a boatload of money to employees in the Philippines (no surprise there): $4,841,567 Philippine pesos, or nearly $100,000.

The reported number of complaints received by the Oklahoma Attorney General currently stands at 621. That’s a lot. Will the AG take action? No word on that as of now.

On her blog, former Tate author Heather D. Nelson is featuring interviews with Tate authors.

UPDATE 4/4/17: As if it weren’t enough that pay-to-play publishing services are stalking Tate authors, it appears that some Tate staffers are as well. I’ve heard from authors who’ve been solicited by former Tate editor Liz Cormeros, who is offering “freelance project management”, and also by former Tate Marketing Manager Terry Cordingley, who is plugging his blog and his “freelance publicity service.”

Some nerve.

UPDATE 5/2/17: Incredibly, despite two seven-figure default judgments against it, nearly $100,000 owed to staff of its defunct Philippines operation, and who knows how many tens of thousands owed to authors in unpaid royalties and unfulfilled contractual obligations, Tate Publishing is back in business.

Rumors of its resurrection have been circulating since late April, when some authors received an email from Ryan Tate (who, by the way, provided personal guarantees to both of the companies involved in those seven-figure judgments, and is personally on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars) announcing that Tate, like Jesus, was rising from the dead. Many authors suspected a trick or a scam–but as of today, Tate’s website is live again (with no mention of its recent troubles) and soliciting submissions.

Throughout this mess, I’ve said that I’d be astonished if Tate declared bankruptcy, because bankruptcy costs money and makes you accountable to your creditors. I expected Tate to simply disappear, or possibly start up again under a new name. So color me surprised to see this current zombie act.

Where Tate will be able to find a new printer–having very publicly defaulted on its debt to Ingram, the biggest in the business–is an open question, as is how it will manage to stay atop its tide of debt with only the cash provided by new author victims.

Stay tuned. Writer Beware will be watching.

I’ve reproduced Ryan Tate’s headshaker of an email in full below, replete with bogus excuses (“the economy hit us hard”), smarmy expressions of contrition (“I ask each of you to prayerfully consider finding it in your heart to forgive us”), ridiculous levels of understatement (“We…understand that the issues mentioned have caused some of you anger, frustration and confusion”), and multiple invocations of God (“These heartbreaking months have given us an opportunity to see God work in amazing ways and demonstrate His eternal love.” Cue lightning bolt). How does he sleep at night?

April 25, 2017

To our Tate Publishing family,

Thank you for your emails, calls and prayers during the recent months. I am sure you are aware we were forced to temporarily cease publishing operations in what was the hardest and most painful decision we have ever had to make as a family. Our number one priority has been to make sure each author is taken care of. Many publishers wanted to “take over” your books; however, in every case they wanted to charge you additional fees, didn’t offer the level of service or promotion necessary to succeed, and most importantly, didn’t line up with the philosophy of our publishing family.

We spent countless hours researching the events which created our problems and issues related to marketing, distribution, and production. Securing the finest legal counsel made it possible for us to put a plan in place to resolve all the issues we were facing at that time in a proper and ethical manner. Finally, we established a plan for reorganization in order to reinstate full publishing, distribution, and marketing operations immediately. We are pleased to inform you we will be able to continue to take care of each of you and meet your expectations and needs as well as support you with your book project(s) – your life’s work.

Another priority became very clear; that we establish a plan to assure this would not happen again. It was even clearer other publishers were out to take advantage of our situation. As we mentioned, they wanted to charge fees for work we had already completed for you. In our opinion, they fail to provide you with the partnership services it takes to have any chance at success in this industry.

These heartbreaking months have given us an opportunity to see God work in amazing ways and demonstrate His eternal love. He has given us a renewed passion and desire to fight for each of you in humble dependence on Him. This experience and battle has given us the opportunity to evaluate what we must and will do differently to more effectively serve each of you as we go forward and make a grand comeback.

We want to take this opportunity to make you aware of some changes as well as ask for your assistance. We are thankful for those who have reached out and asked us to reorganize and continue operations. We agree that the best home for you is where we all started this journey together. We sincerely want to remain your publishing home and family; to make you proud of our efforts; and proud that we are not going to quit. It is our desire to continue this journey together. With God’s help we will serve you better than ever before.

Before discussing the changes we will make moving forward, I want to apologize. Hindsight is 20/20 and can often be a painful reality. As we look back on the last three years the economy hit us hard as it did everyone in America. None of us had the resources we had in the past and it forced us into what economists refer to as a “race to the bottom.” In an effort to keep volumes high and compete against other large publicly traded publishers we decided to set up overseas operations, and reduce pricing on all services. We now see that these decisions caused us to stray from the philosophies we established nearly 20 years ago when we first launched the company. Loss of control of our services, time frame delays in production and manufacturing, as well as our overall customer service experience was negatively impacted by these changes. I ask for your forgiveness. At that time we believed we were making decisions which would serve you best.

We love you and understand that the issues mentioned have caused some of you anger, frustration and confusion. In many ways we have hurt you and let you down. It is difficult to admit these things, primarily because we desired to do and be the best for each of you. To have failed in these respects is painful for us and difficult to accept. I ask each of you to prayerfully consider finding it in your heart to forgive us and continue to work with us. We believe we can once again lead the publishing industry with publishing options authors need. For almost 20 years we led the publishing industry in innovation and creative services no one else dared offer. That made the entire industry better and we need your help to continue that path of innovation and discovery. If Tate Publishing ceased to exist we believe it would create a significant vacuum in the publishing industry. Once again, please accept our apology. We pray you will forgive us and give us a renewed opportunity to move forward as we strive to be stronger than ever before for your benefit and success.

We want to continue this partnership journey and ask you to allow us to prove ourselves to you. We not only ask your forgiveness for any and all issues, but ask that you see this letter as our unwavering desire to fight for your success no matter what the obstacle. Our greatest desire is to see each of you succeed – the most important part of our comeback.

The following are the changes you can expect from us as we move forward.

Improved communication and fast response to your phone calls and emails.
No production, marketing, distribution, or other work will be done outside of the United States of America.
New national book manufacturing partners ensuring highest quality, additional manufacturing options, and timely order fulfillment.
New marketing representatives for each author who will be expected to assist each author with events and methods to sell the author’s book(s).

We will not be accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Our primary focus right now will just be YOU. We want to ensure that current Tate authors are receiving the care and assistance they need and we have one of the best and most dynamic family of authors in the industry. We want to serve you first and build everything around helping you find success.

As we have been praying about how to best serve each of you and reorganize our publishing operations I have been amazed at how much we not only want to improve on our services, marketing and distribution options for each of your titles, but I have been primarily overwhelmed with how much we love being your publisher. We feel called to do this and our focus, motivation and desire to serve you has never been higher. My father came in my office a couple weeks ago as we were working on the plans and process for everything and he handed me a quote he often recites.

“Every setback is an opportunity for a comeback. God wants to bring you out better than you were before with what you have learned. Hindsight leads to insight that produces foresight for a comeback.” – Richard Tate

Quitting just isn’t an option, we have faced many trials and difficulties together, but we simply can’t end or allow what was started nearly 20 years ago to cease. While many would quit – that isn’t who we are and we need your support more than ever. We have much that needs to be done, settled and accomplished. I pray that you will each join us as we begin a new journey together; the foundation is all in place and the table is set for great victory and to see the success we all desire for each of you. Please reply to this email or call our office at (405) 438-3300 so we can reconnect and begin. There is no transition time as we are able to pick up immediately and we are ready for normal publishing operations. We are here to assist you with your questions and excited to get the marketing process reengaged as well. Thank you for your love, support and prayerfully considering the future with us! We are eternally grateful, humbled and excited for the next great chapter…

In Him,

Ryan Tate
President & CEO
Tate Publishing

UPDATE 5/4/17: Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed eight felony charges and one misdemeanor charge against Ryan and Richard Tate for alleged fraudulent business practices. Charges include four felony counts of embezzlement, one felony count of attempted extortion by threat, two felony counts of extortion by threat, one felony count of racketeering and one misdemeanor count of embezzlement.



  1. TO—-Winkle Institute —– I am completing my D.Min. and my book went up on KDP Publishing which is on Amazon for free. It is a bit of an effort and took me about 18 tries for the book and the cover, but I finally got it up and began collecting royalties immediately. If you need help, I am happy to walk you through the process on the phone. 575-366-4558/office
    blessings, Casey Jones santafejones1@yahoo.com "And the Angel Rocked Me" I also, redid my cover and I can tell you how to do that too.

  2. Any idea how the criminal prosecution of the Tates is going in Oklahoma? I had them publish two books and had two others getting prepared to submit when this hit the news. One of Tate's employees is a distant relative of mine, so I trusted them.

    Terry Cordingley is a slippery snake of a guy. Wouldn't return calls unless you were placing an order. The only publicity my books got was in the local press. In fact, they published another book with the same title. Can you believe the nerve?

    My book is titled "I Will Fear No Evil." I have been a traveling outreach minister for 14 years and the book related many ministry opportunities where God had people in need cross my path so they could be ministered to through the Holy Spirit. God wrote the book through me. A year and a half to write it and get it published.

    Now that the book has been tainted by the Tate Publishing name, no one but sleazy publishers want to publish it. I'm still getting junk emails from self-publishing companies.

    May God forgive you Tate family and employees for hurting so many people and crushing their dreams and hopes.

  3. I shearched high and low looking for a Christian based company that I might connect with because I knew that not just any company could handle the writing that were spirit filled and God breathed. for some reason I couldn't send in my funds now I understand why I pray for all at tate. jesse owens

  4. John Rothra,

    I've heard from a few other Tate authors who were contacted by IngramSpark. Despite this sales pitch's unfortunate similarity to the sleazy solicitations of unscrupulous companies and services, IngramSpark is a reputable, well-regarded publishing service with an excellent reputation in the self-publishing community. Along with CreateSpace, it's one of the companies I suggest that would-be self-publishers begin by checking out.

    IngramSpark is not a spammer or solicitor. I'm betting this is related to Ingram/Lightning Source's lawsuit against Tate (which I discuss in my post). Lightning Source won a seven-figure judgment, but reportedly has stopped trying to collect it. These solicitations are likely a way of trying to recoup some of the money lost by offering services to Tate authors. I'm a bit uneasy with the ethics of this, but as I said, IngramSpark is a reliable, reputable service.

  5. The other day I received an email that seems suspicious. It appears they are trying to disguise their vanity-publishing services as some sort of turnkey self-empowerment opportunity.

    Here's the email screen shot: https://www.johnrothra.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/IngramSpark-SalesPitch.png

    Here's the full text:
    Dear John,

    Because Tate Publishing published and distributed your book(s) via Lightning Source, your book files are currently in our system, and we’re happy to offer you our services to help you regain control of your publication(s). If you’d like to begin selling your title(s) on your own, we are able to transfer your title(s) from Tate Publishing’s Lightning Source account into your own personal, self-controlled IngramSpark account.

    IngramSpark is an award-winning independent publishing platform, highly regarded within the publishing industry, and recently recognized for its distinguished service to the literary community. With IngramSpark, your titles receive the same quality and distribution opportunities as major traditional publishers, including access to 39,000+ retailers and libraries and 70+ major online retailers worldwide.

    We are happy to offer the following to all former Tate Publishing authors:

    – Free title setup of your Tate Publishing title(s), for which we have files, into your IngramSpark account ($49 value per title)
    – Free removal of Tate Publishing's name and trademarks from the cover, copyright page, and title page of your title(s) (a service not regularly offered)
    – $40 discount on ISBNs for U.S. authors from Bowker
    – 10% off any print order of your transferred Tate Publishing book(s) from your IngramSpark account within 60 days of your title transfer date
    – Free title setup for one non-Tate Publishing title ($49 value)

    To take advantage of this information, you will need the following:

    – The name(s) of your Tate Publishing title(s):
    1X Evangelism

    – The ISBN(s) associated with your Tate Publishing title(s):

    Get Started
    If you’re interested in this opportunity, you will have 60 days from receipt of this email to complete the necessary steps to ensure the successful transfer of your title from Tate Publishing’s Lightning Source account to your own personal IngramSpark account.

    There are some key phrases that stuck out to me:

    1. "your book files are currently in our system"

    They may be in their system, but that doesn't mean they're usable. From what I've read on here, Tate's files are unusable by others. Besides, I have the manuscript saved on my end that will be much more usable by other publishers.

    2. "regain control of your publication"

    I have full control of my publication in that I have full ownership of the content and copyright.

    3. "your own personal, self-controlled IngramSpark account."

    Sales-speak for "you have your own login" and not much else. This sounds greater than it really is.

    4. "independent publishing platform"

    Aka, "vanity publisher" or "Amazon CreateSpace" minus the Amazon name to back it up.

    5. "highly regarded within the publishing industry, and recently recognized for its distinguished service to the literary community"

    This means nothing because this is all vague non-speak jargon.

    6. "We are happy to offer the following . . ."

    Followed by no indication of price. Yeah, discounts and "values" are listed, but no actual costs.

    7. "If you’re interested . . . you will have 60 days from"

    An arbitrary deadline meant to get me to respond quick. Most of the time they'll honor this after the stated timeframe (BTW, infomercials use this same tactic because it works).

    All this to say, this screams "sales pitch, but we're trying to hide this through double speak, jargon, and other means."

  6. I have a question about my cover which I thought of the design and Tate put it together. Should I redo my cover slightly, as I really love it or should I make a drastic change?

    I would also, like to know if anyone has used http://www.publicauthor.com (Public Author)? I looked at their site and was impressed with pricing and what they say they can do.
    thanks, Casey Jones

  7. Can't find the comment, what is Tate trying to reopen as? Curious if it's the company that called every couple of weeks.

  8. I received a letter and forms to send in the the Oklahoma Atty. General last week. They are prosecuting the Tates for fraud. Get your forms at Oklahoma Attorney General
    Citizen's Complaint. They already have thousands of complaints filed against Tate Publishing.

    I never received ANY money from Tate in more than two years. No assistance in marketing as promised other than sending by email press releases to local area newspapers.

    I was told I would "have to sell the book myself" despite what my contract said.

  9. Victoria,

    Thank you for your email, advice, and comments on here. Just to share with others, here's what I did:

    – I sent a certified letter stating (1) that I am terminating the contract as of a specific date, (2) the reason(s) for the termination (since the contract requires a cause for termination), and (3) I maintain all rights and ownership related to my book.

    – I used the address listed on Tate's contract termination form so as to help ensure that they receive it (or that someone receives it).

    – I kept both a hard and digital copy of my signed letter and the certified mail receipt (the digital is in case the hard copy gets damaged, and it's stored on the cloud).

    I'm now seeking another publisher, preferably a truly traditional one. I know who the big boys are in Christian publishing since I work at a Christian bookstore (I've worked there for almost 10 years), so I'm emailing them. I'm not optimistic, though, since I'm a nobody.

    Also, I'm looking into an agent since most of the big boys (e.g., Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Baker, Crossway, Moody, Bethany, etc.) prefer going that route (which I interpret as "require"). I'm using the resources of and recommended by Writers Beware to help ensure I find a reputable one. I haven't yet made a final decision on hiring one, though.

    After my experience with Tate, my extremely limited funds, and only one small niche book, I'm jaded on vanity publishing. If I had to choose right now, Amazon's service would be my top choice, though. However, they don't distribute through Ingram/Spring Arbor or other major channels so stores like Lifeway and Mardel's (the #1 and #2 Christian book retailers) wouldn't be able to get them if I went through Amazon.

    All that to say that I consider myself no longer with Tate and now searching.

    I'm not sure about the accuracy or credibility of this site, but I did find this article interesting: https://marketingchristianbooks.wordpress.com/tag/christian-bookstores/

  10. John Rothra,

    I responded to some of your questions via email, but I wanted to comment on a couple of things here.

    – It's un-freaking-believable that Tate is trying to get authors to send it money for product orders. Just unbelievable. I mean, it's not like Richard and Ryan Tate have been arrested and charged with embezzlement or anything. It's not like Tate has been failing to fulfill book orders for months now, and routing author dollars to the owners' private accounts. I mean, this is definitely a company you can trust to fulfill a promise, right? Right?

    Not. Send. Them. Nothing.

    – I share your concern about the indemnification language in that termination document, which is why I've been suggesting that authors not sign it. Most Tate contracts I've seen allow authors to terminate the contract at will by sending notice in writing. That's what I'm advising authors to do. Terminating that way doesn't deprive you of any of your legal rights (beyond what you agreed to in the contract itself).

    – The 3rd party seller listing for $1,500 is crazy, but this kind of bizarre pricing sometimes happens when a seller uses Amazon's automatic discount algorithms. You can find discussions of this phenomenon online. In any case, it's not likely the seller actually has your book in stock–many 3rd party sellers are just listing ISBNs harvested from the internet.

  11. I was reading over the contract termination document that I was filling out and I have some real concerns over what it states. I quote:

    "I agree to indemnify and hold harmless Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC and its subsidiaries, officers, executives, employees, and any such heirs they may have. I understand that termination of these agreements does not entitle me to any refund or monetary compensation whatsoever. I understand that my obligations regarding confidentiality and dispute resolution under the contract shall continue in perpetuity"

    Sounds like by signing and submitting the contract termination, you waive all rights to sue them if such is necessary.

    This leads me to a question others may have: since I own the book's content per the original author's contract, do I need to terminate that contract to republish the book with another publisher?

  12. I just found a third-party retailer selling my book on Amazon for over $1,500! I did send the seller a message asking that, if the book sells for that much, what is my royalty (I should get one, right?). Here's the URL: http://amzn.to/2rxKtxY

  13. I have one barely-selling book published through Tate in 2015 called 1X Evangelism. After reading all this I now feel lost. I haven't yet submitted the form to cancel my contract with Tate, but considering it. I'm very hesitant about sending them more money (the $50 fee to get your files back which, it turns out, may be useless). Also, I'm not sure what's going to happen if I cancel — I can't afford to sign with anyone else (very tight budget and a special needs child).

    I've been approached multiple times by Yorkshire Publishing. I'm very nervous at this point, especially since they want me to spend upwards of $800 to be republished through them.

    Also, I checked Tate's site last night and it now only offers three options: (1) terminate the contract for "not yet released" works, (2) terminate contract with option of getting files for a fee, (3) order more books using a Google form.

    Who receives that form? Who prints the books? What's the cost? Nothing is explained and identities are not given.

    Right now I feel lost and not sure where to go, what to do.

  14. Jedi Lucas,
    I am happy to help. Blessings to you and the creators of this blog. We should all be thanking Ann Crispin, Michael Capobianco, Richard White and Victoria Strauss. They created and/or contributed to this blog.
    Casey Jones

  15. thank you casey jones!
    great idea… there are a few copies floating around.
    i will scan one and go from there!
    blessings and thank you!

  16. I went on line and found copies of my book on Ebay that was published by Tate in 05.I plan on doing a word scan. I have the graphics but the word file was corrupted by Katrina here in Biloxi, MS. Kind of interesting as one of the books was signed by me in 06.

    It is a good time to check for errors and change anything you want. When republished you will need a new ISBN anyway as all the one assigned by Tate are dead anyway. I just published my latest book with a new published after Tate took my money and graphics. Good luck to all.

  17. To Jedi Lucas, Can you buy a copy of your book from someone or check it out at a library? Place an ad on craigslist or borrow it from a relative, then you can have it scanned into a Word document. You may have to check it for errors as scanning may not get every word correctly spelled.
    blessings, Casey Jones, author

  18. i dont have any form of the novel i wrote either so i do hope we will be getting usable files back.
    wow… what a mess.

  19. Dear Anonymous,
    I scanned an older book for another author friend, page by page and then had to adjust some letters on the sides. But I know that there are services for scanning book, so that you don't have to retype it into a Word or other document. I then uploaded the new document onto Kindle.

    Maybe you can download the audio files from Amazon and then copy? Since you are the author of them. There must be companies on the Internet that do that for you, too.
    blessings, Casey Jones

  20. Thank you ladies for your response. Yes, you are correct, I do have my pdf from my last manuscript. I have it all including my images (low res not HIG). However, the book I wrote years ago through them I no longer have the PDF for. I am going crazy because I don't want to lose my digital work. I want the files for that. I have the recent novel, but the one from 2009 I no longer have. I lost everything when my house was damaged. The computer was utterly destroyed. I never thought I needed to ask them for the files. But they have the audiobook files and my novel and I want the files. Thats the only reason I wondered if I pay them would they send me my files.

  21. To Anonymous:

    You should have all of your files (except the illustrations). Use the pdf file that was originally sent to that you had to sign off on.

    It will take a little bit of doing, but you can convert it to a word doc – remove all of their strange formatting and then resave it as a pdf. you own the rights to your work, so you shouldn't have to pay them for it. I doubt seriously you will ever see anything for your $50 – has anyone on here received anything for their $50.

    I did not pay the $50
    I used the pdf and word docs that I already had
    Created my own publishing company – cost $50 will the state to file the name
    I hired an illustrator to redo my cover design and illustrations (so there would be no questions)
    I signed up for Bublish to help me load, publish and distribute ($99/year)

    I now own all of my work and there will never be another chance of someone else causing me to lose my hard earned work.

  22. I couldn't find anyone arrested except Richard and Ryan Tate and they are out on 100K bonds each.You will eventually get your work back but it will be sanitized with all Tate information removed. It is in an odd PDF format that has hard returns imbeded and really not usable until a smart publisher works it over. I completely lost all my money on the last book and just published it with Star publishing "Winds of the Bitterroots." My first book "The Last Tear Drop" is still being sold and carried at Amazon. I don't know how but Tate is still being paid for copies sold and of course, I get nothing. I asked for Tate to give me the production elements of that book but no answer. Because I have 4 books on Amazon, I am going to push Amazon for an answer. Good luck to all as that is all we can expect from crooks. L Lee Parmeter author

  23. Victoria with the Tate's being arrested, if I sent them the $50 for files I badly need, do you believe the company will send me files? I hate to send more money in the form of a check just to find out thats a hoax or not possible any longer.


  25. Hi Victoria. Thanks for the reply. If we do sign the release and get our files, does this mean we legally can use the layout and illustrations with a different publisher? At the very least are we able to use the design ideas with a different company? So same exact ideas and concepts for the cover, layout and illustrations, but created and produced by a non Tate artist and company? Thanks for the help.

  26. Thank you. We all totally lost EVERYTHING…even our credibility for products. Don't feel sorry for them anyone. They knew exactly what they were doing. Using God is disgusting. They are sorry they got caught. And why isn"t Trinity Tate included in all of this?

  27. There is no such thing as Tate press ready PDF files. Tate placed hard returns throughout the PDF making it impossible to use except at their facility. I just finished publishing my book with Star Publishing. I had to painfully convert to Word. The publisher then converted to a print ready PDF so LSI could print the book. It is a good thing that I didn't go with Tate as there were over 1000 errors in the Tate version. The out of country (Philippine) editing was horrible. I even had several chapter numbers duplicated. I still have one completed book published in 05 with Tate and it is still being sold on Amazon. I have not received anything from Tate so my book will probably end up going out of print. With their arrest, I don't expect we can get blood out of a turnip.

  28. I'd be careful about signing anything Tate has posted. I've secured a lawyer in OK, I'm in VA, and they tried arbitration with Tate which got no response, there's a surprise, so they've gone directly to the courts requesting that Tate be forced to set aside cash assets to pay damages to those of us they've shafted. I agree that class action is not the way to go with all the millions of dollars Tate owes contractors and authors. They're also in trouble with the State Dept. For failure to pay employees and contractors in the Philippines when they were outsourcing our work. If you want to contact the law firm I'm working with, e mail me at nightfireforchildren@Gmail.Com and I'll provide you with the info. I had to put a $5K retainer down, but they've been very frugal with my money and keeping me apprised of every development along the way. I'm happy to share whatever info I have on the legal development against these crooks. There's a nice mug shot of Ryan Tate and his father online. Good luck everyone. Joe Boltersdorf

  29. I'm hoping and praying for justice for the Authors and musicians who completely trusted this company based on them being a Christian company. I pray that the unsuspecting victims do not stray from Christians because this company faultless represented themselves. Heather d nelson has a blog with author stories that will make you week at the knees. People who wrote about tragic events in there life hoping to help others. People who gave there last dimensions to share there stories. As you read more and more you will see that several stories weren't even ready for print yet tate did not care, and probably didn't even read some of the manuscripts. If they did then they are so cruel to take advantage of people's pain.

  30. I never got that email. Perhaps it went to my spam. I did call and find out they are back in business, but now with this arrest, time may be running out to get our press ready PDFs. If they are being charged with charging $50 for the files then that means they must now stop I am supposing. So how do we get our files? I never did pay the $50 because I was hoping they might send them eventually. So what do we do now that they have been arrested? Will we be informed about our files?

  31. The rest of the story about Tates. Justice is served.

    OKLAHOMA CITY – Richard and Ryan Tate, top executives of the beleaguered Tate Publishing company in Mustang, were arrested Thursday on nine complaints of embezzlement, extortion and racketeering.
    Attorney General Mike Hunter’s office had received more than 800 complaints from disgruntled authors and musician clients, 718 of them since the beginning of the year, officials said. Hunter said the alleged misconduct by Richard Tate and his son was unconscionable and a blatant disregard for business relationships.
    The charges filed by Hunter’s office numbered four felony counts of embezzlement, one felony count of attempted extortion by threat, two felony counts of extortion by threat, one felony count of racketeering and one misdemeanor count of embezzlement. Canadian County sheriff’s deputies apprehended the men Thursday morning. A judge set their bond at $100,000 and ordered their passports be surrendered.

  32. I had two books published by Tate last Spring. I received quarterly emails of sales, but no royalties. I was told by Terry Cordingley that I would "have to market my own book" to get it sold. Tate's contract included marketing, but other than sending out a press release, no marketing other than submitting my book to Amazon was ever done.

    Their is a class action lawsuit being prepared by Morgan & Morgan of OKC against Tate. I spoke with Morgan & Morgan last month.

    It's a shame that these guys went down this path and are on the path to prison, but they made choices. I lost time and money (about $1,500) and don't have money to pay another publisher.

    Tate should release all of its authors and refund their money from the Ryan's personal bank accounts.

  33. I just received a text that states the following was on the news, "Richard and Ryan Tate of Tate Publishing have been arrested on charges of embezzlement, breach of contract and racketeering

  34. (continued…)

    Quitting just isn’t an option, we have faced many trials and difficulties together, but we simply can’t end or allow what was started nearly 20 years ago to cease. While many would quit – that isn’t who we are and we need your support more than ever. We have much that needs to be done, settled and accomplished. I pray that you will each join us as we begin a new journey together; the foundation is all in place and the table is set for great victory and to see the success we all desire for each of you. Please reply to this email or call our office at (405) 438-3300 so we can reconnect and begin. There is no transition time as we are able to pick up immediately and we are ready for normal publishing operations. We are here to assist you with your questions and excited to get the marketing process reengaged as well. Thank you for your love, support and prayerfully considering the future with us! We are eternally grateful, humbled and excited for the next great chapter…

    In Him,

    Ryan Tate
    President & CEO
    Tate Publishing

Leave a Reply

JUNE 9, 2016

BookLife Prize in Fiction

JULY 1, 2016

Month9Books Scales Back Its List Amid Allegations of Nonpayment