Our Story

Why does OakTara create opportunities

for smart, forward-thinking authors?

It’s because of our story....


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 inspirational 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 25 inspirational and commercially successful novels for publishing houses such as David C. Cook, Revell, Zondervan and Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins, WaterBrook/Random House, Tyndale, Hodder & Stoughton, Guideposts, and others.

As large publishers focus on marketing a very few top authors in a rapidly changing publishing and distribution environment, quality writers with growing platforms find it more difficult to get their foot in the traditional publishing door. OakTara was founded to give such writers that opportunity.

Why OakTara and the Door Logo?

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. Oaks are also substantial, long-lived trees, not easily moved, even in strong winds. When Jesus—the most influential figure in all of history—stands at the door (Rev. 3:20) and knocks, what we decide about who he is has everything to do with life’s meaning and purpose. The combination of these two important symbols created OakTara: the Aramaic word for “doorkeeper” (tara, pronounced “tah-ra”) and the image of a weathered yet still strong oak door at the entrance to an old stone church.