I’ve published two books with mainstream publishers, one with an academic press, and two with a Christian publisher. I like to think I know my way around this business by now. The basic differences between the publishers had little to do with anything other than money. Some committed more money to marketing. Some paid bigger advances. Some were simply overwhelmed by tremendous internal upheavals — job firings and the such.
But every single publisher I’ve ever worked with has treated me with respect. That’s been true of every editor I’ve worked with as well. In fact, I’m quiet pleased that I’ve retained friendships with the editors and publishers of my books. I pray for my editors, and for my publishers to be successful.
Y’all know how uncomfortable I am praying for financial gain, but when it comes to my publishers and my editors, I do ask God to help them prosper. I know that the work we are doing together is important. If they aren’t prospering, we can’t do that work anymore. Praying for the prosperity of my publishers and my editors is my way of taking a stand against Amish Vampire Zombie literature, and mainstream pornography disguised as fan fiction.
I’m trying my best to prevent the degradation of our culture by writing books that make people think. Although I can write in an entertaining fashion, entertaining people isn’t my focus, educating and advocating is. My books aren’t the sort you take to the beach. They are the kind you discuss over a glass of wine with a good friend.
I have a quote on my Facebook page that is one of my favorites and is something I strive for in this business. The quote came from Lewis Grizzard’s mama. The Atlanta Journal Columnist and beloved son of the South, said that before he left for school each day his mama would tell him, “Remember Lewis, be sweet.”
That is really good advice. I tell it to my students at Central Washington University and I tell it to the senior citizens in my writer workshops.
Being genuinely kind toward others matters. It matters more in the long-run than a bestselling book. That old adage — you are only as good as your last bestseller — is a horrible way to live. I refuse to define myself or measure my work by that standard. I do, however, regard my failures by the times I’ve not lived up to the goal of being kind and respectful to others.
All that to say I was stunned to hear this audio clip of Ryan Tate, the CEO of Tate Publishing, a vanity press, go off on his employees.
Tate was reportedly upset by an anonymous email he received criticizing the company for outsourcing jobs overseas. He vehemently denied the outsourcing charge and maintained, instead, that the company was simply expanding.
Tate took the email as a breech of trust in the company and went on a wildly abusive tirade, threatening and intimidating his employees, promising all the while that he was going to fire 25 of them. No employee should ever have to sit through such a verbal lashing.
There’s a lot of bitterness and upset people, said one of Tate’s employees. “We’ve all enjoyed working together very much. We work in a wonderful department, with wonderful people for an awful, awful company.”
Clearly Ryan Tate needs a crash course in leadership and management.
At the very least he needs to subscribe to Michael Hyatt’s RSS Feed on intentional leadership.
I pray the people at Tate Publishing who were fired find a good publishing house to work for, a place where they are treated kindly and with respect.
I can recommend several.