I'm not talking people who set out knowingly to self-publish, and who use their money to hire an editor, copy editor, and cover designer. (And that's still a lot of money.) No, I'm talking about people who think they have found a real publishing deal, who are excited and proud that they are published by a real publisher.
I was recently at an event with a 16-year-old "author." Everyone was so proud of her.She had already published a children's book! (Oddly, she has the same name as a big-name author). When I held the book in my hand, it felt and looked cheap. Who was her publisher, I asked.
Tate Publishing. Type those words into Google and the next word that autofills in is "scam." Other choices are "reputation," "reviews" and "BBB." From looking around on the Web, a lot of people get excited that a "real publisher" wants to publish them, and decide that when Tate asks for an "author investment" of $4,000, that's a reasonable sum. [They don't seem to realize that when you sign a contract with a publishing company, you're the one who should get the money, not the publishing company.]
It may explain why Tate publishes books with titles like "Why Did the Osprey Poop on my Head?"
I looked around online and found some heartbreaking posts from people, like one lady who had prayed about it a lot [Tate bills itself as a Christian company] and felt like God was sending her an answer because they wouldn't stop emailing her.
The New York Times had an article about proud parents willing to shell out big bucks so they can say their kid is a "published author."
Before you spend that much money on anything you should research it so you are going in with your eyes wide open.