The Epic Crash and Burn of Tate Publishing

by Dan Smith

There’s a favorite Willie Nelson song of mine, “Nobody Slides, My Friend” that I think of often. Part of the lyrics include:

Nobody slides, my friend
You can try it, 
But you’ll never win
You can scream
You can shout
But it all evens out,
And nobody slides, my friend

It reminds me that everything we do will, somehow, boomerang back at us, both in good and bad ways. Do good, and you’ll get good things in return; do the wrong things, and someday, somehow, kharma will kick you in the butt.

At Smith Publicity, I preach positive thinking and about how doing good things for others – our authors – always leads to good things for us. Like any business, of course we want to make money, but we do it by providing great service, and by really, truly working hard to make good things happen for authors.

I know we’re not that unique with our mindset. Most successful businesses operate the same way.

But not Tate Publishing.
Not Ryan Tate. Not Richard Tate. As a friend of mine likes to put it, “they chose the other.”

Once a thriving, popular self-publishing company – we provided book marketing services to many of their authors who individually hired us over the years – Tate Publishing crashed and burned in spectacular fashion; a fall from grace of epic proportions. It is alleged that they rippedoff thousands of authors, and I mean ripped off in big ways. They also owed millions of dollars to vendors. Tate was a house of cards just waiting to crumble. And did it ever.

The Tates now face charges of embezzlement, extortion by threat and racketeering, among others, filed by the Oklahoma state attorney general’s office. The number of consumer complaints lodged against Tate Publishing with the attorney general’s office numbers more than 2,000. Investigators say the Tates defrauded clients by depositing money from the sale of books or music into business checking accounts, which were then transferred to personal checking accounts.

Ryan and Richard Tate could, and likely will, face years in prison.

Ironically, perhaps, and most certainly sadly, Tate billed itself as a Christian company, even listing Psalm 68:11 on the copyright page of books,

One author told KFOR TN News: “They tore me and they call themselves Christians,” Cox said through tears. “When you don’t have a lot of faith in mankind anymore, you think that you can trust a Christian. What the hell is the devil then?”

I crossed paths with Ryan Tate a few times, but never interacted with him. He was a smooth, cool operator, and even a popular small business “expert” that major TV shows featured. For over 20 years, Tate Publishing had served thousands of authors and musicians. Then, something went wrong, and we can only speculate on what happened, and what changed. But kharma won. It usually does.

I’ve worked within the publishing industry for over two decades. I’ve seen some weird things, some bizarre things, some bad things, and many, many good things.

I never thought I’d see someone I knew in this industry go from big shot to mug shot. I wish I never had.

But nobody slides …