Q) What is OakTara about?
A) OakTara was founded by two veterans of the publishing world, Jeff Nesbit and Ramona Tucker, to create opportunities for new, talented writers and already-established authors. We’re all about respecting an author’s hard work and creating a new market for inspirational books, especially with readers who may not traditionally enter an inspirational bookstore but avidly shop the Web. We are passionate about providing a broad spectrum of quality fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages. We are also listed in Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide, an approved publisher with ACFW, ECLA, and CSPA.
Q) What do you publish?
A) We focus primarily on fiction for adults, teens, and children in a wide variety of genres: Biblical, Children’s & Family Classics, Classic & Allegory, Fantasy, Futuristic, General, Historical, Humor, Issues, Legal/Political Thrillers, Mystery & Detective, Romance, Romance-Suspense, Sci-Fi, Suspense, and Young Adult. As more and more large publishers focus on marketing a few top fiction authors in a rapidly changing publishing and distribution environment, new writers of quality fiction are finding it even more difficult to get their foot in the traditional publishing door. And published fiction authors are discovering that their books (even if part of a series) now go out of print more quickly, due to overhead costs and the increased sales numbers publishers are requiring to keep books in print. OakTara has stepped into the marketplace gap to provide dozens of writers with new opportunities: from first-time publication, to widening the readership for already-published authors who have yet another gem to publish or an out-of-print book or series they’d love to have available to readers again. We also publish very selective nonfiction.
Q) When so many publishers are tightening their belts and only marketing a few top authors, why is OakTara choosing to launch new authors?
A) In the 1980s, Jeff Nesbit (one of OakTara’s cofounders) was a new-to-the-publishing-scene author. Although he had more credits than the average “hopeful writer”—as a national journalist for years with Knight-Ridder, ABC News, and others; as communications director to a Vice President of the United States; and as a senior public affairs official in the federal government—he was unable to get his foot in the publishing door.
Then he met Ramona Tucker (the other OakTara cofounder), who was then Director of Editorial Services at Harold Shaw Publishers (now owned by WaterBrook, a division of Random House). After reading Jeff’s Y/A novels that had been collecting dust, Ramona took a big risk. She launched a Y/A fiction line and an adult fiction line at a time when only a few fiction authors (Janette Oke, Frank Peretti, and Bodie & Brock Thoene) were being published in the Christian market and folks tended to be a little suspicious of fiction as “made-up stories.” The first four Y/A novels she published were by Jeff Nesbit.
“Out of all the publishers I’d approached over the years, Ramona was the only editor who believed in me and in my work enough to give me a chance,” Jeff says. Since then he has written more than 20 inspirational and commercially successful novels for publishing houses such as David C. Cook, Revell, Tyndale, Zondervan and Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins, WaterBrook/Random House, Hodder & Stoughton, Guideposts, and others. Jeff and Ramona founded OakTara because they are passionate about giving other authors the same opportunity to get their novels into the hands of eagerly waiting readers.
Q) Why the name OakTara — and the “door” logo?
A) Jeff has always been drawn to the concept that the oak and the acorn may be a more appropriate tree and "fruit" of the Garden of Eden than the apple tree and the apple. And Ramona and Jeff have always loved the promise that Jesus stands, knocking, at the door of our hearts and lives. So they searched for (and found) an Aramaic word for “doorkeeper” (tara, pronounced “tah-ra”) to go along with the oak door at the entrance to an old stone church. The combination of the two created OakTara.
Q) Are you an e-publisher?
A) No, we are not an e-publisher. OakTara produces both paperback editions and ebook editions of our titles.
Q) Are you a self-publisher or a custom publisher? Do you charge fees to print an author’s book?
A) No, to both questions. OakTara is focused on the digital, national online retail market and authors who have or are growing platforms through various venues. While we do not offer advance royalties, we do not charge fees. We offer a net royalty that is roughly double the industry standard. OakTara covers all book publication costs, just as any traditional publisher does. Authors receive royalties from retail book sales, and may buy copies of their books, if desired, at a discount.
Q) Does OakTara consider publishing books that have already been self-published or custom-published?
A) If you have self-published or custom-published, it means you have paid fees to a company to print your book. We’d be happy to take a look at your self-published book to see if it would be a good fit for OakTara. As stated above, we are not a self-publisher/custom-publisher, and we do not charge fees. However, in most cases, a title change and cover change is required. The book would go through our regular editorial and design process (we wouldn’t simply pick up the “old version”). See Writers’ Guidelines for more info.
Q) If I self-published a book, do I still own the rights?
A) Check your contract with your self-publisher to make sure—but, most likely, if you self-published, you retained all rights to your book and can assign them as you wish. But before you send that book to another publisher, you should check your previous self-published contract to see if there is a “waiting period” before you can seek out another publisher.
Q) Do you accept simultaneous submissions?
A) That’s not a problem for OakTara, but it may be for the other publisher, so please check their guidelines. The way we look at it, if more than one publisher offers you a contract, then you get the wonderful opportunity to choose your book’s publishing home. If you choose OakTara, we look forward to working with you. If you choose the other publisher, that’s fine, too, because we’ll be glad for you that your worthy book is getting published, even if it’s not us! OakTara is about broadening the marketplace for inspirational fiction. Click Writers’ Guidelines for further instructions.
Q) Do you consider out-of-print titles with another traditional publisher for reprint?
A) We want to see quality books stay in the market. There’s nothing more frustrating to an author (or to readers, trying to find the book!) than to have one of their books “shelved”—especially if it’s one in a series, and the others are still in print. OakTara is open to re-publishing your out-of-print book or series if the rights have returned to you but also very selective. Check your previous contract to see if rights are immediately returned to you or if you need to secure a reversion of rights agreement. Also check your previous contract to see if there is a “waiting period” before you can seek out another publisher. Click Writers’ Guidelines for further instructions. Out-of-print books that are brought back into print with OakTara receive new covers, new ISBNs, and go through our regular editorial and design process. They may also receive a title change.
Q) If I am accepted as an OakTara author, can you guarantee sales of my book?
A) Nothing in life is guaranteed, including book sales. We can guarantee the process and our commitment, not the results. For more about our marketing, click on About Us.
Q) Where can I buy OakTara books?
A) OakTara paperbacks are available from www.oaktara.com, www.amazon.com, www.christianbook.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.booksamillion.com, www.cokesbury.com, www.target.com, www.bowker.com, www.bwibooks.com, www.follett.com, www.indiebound.org, www.thebookdepository.com, as well as regional, national, and international retail outlets. OakTara ebooks are available through www.oaktara.com, www.amazonkindle.com, www.christianbook.com, ibooks.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.familyaudiolibrary.com. Though OakTara titles are available through multiple distributors, placement of individual tiles with distributors other than www.oaktara.com and www.amazon.com varies, and so does the timing by which a book may become available for sale with these other distributors.
OakTara is all about creating a new market for a wide variety of genres of inspirational fiction and select nonfiction, especially with the growing numbers of readers who may not enter an inspirational bookstore but avidly shop the Web.
Authors, if so desired, may also sell their books through their own personal websites and booksignings, etc.