Publishing: the hedge fund approach
Posted by Paul Samael on Sunday, June 3, 2018 Under: Random thoughts
A hedge fund (De Montfort Capital) is offering new writers a salary of £24K a year and support to develop their careers. Part of me thinks this approach to publishing is quite laudable - but part of me thinks it's slightly mad. The bits I liked were the upfront commitment, the 50% royalty on sales and the support - which is a striking contrast to most publishers, whose usual model involves a paltry royalty rate, limited help with editing, promotion etc and only committing themselves once the book is written (although to be fair, there have been cases of authors having been given an advance on the basis of sample chapters and a synopsis). I also largely agreed with the hedge fund manager's critique of traditional publishers.
The bit I felt was possibly slightly mad was that by applying some mathematical wizardry, they reckon they can spot successful writers before they've even written a book. I'm sceptical about that because I think it's very difficult to predict what will succeed, as demonstrated by the fact that publishers put out loads of books every year and most of them do not make their money back - even though many of them probably ticked all or most of the boxes in terms of the supposed criteria for success. Personally, I think they need to be prepared for some of the writers that they back to fail - although they will obviously hope to back enough successful ones to make money.
In that respect, I didn't think this new initiative represented much of a break with the established publishing model - because both are based on what you might call a "stock picking" approach i.e. the publisher, like a fund manager, reckons he/she knows what the market is going to do and can select the books most likely to succeed. As I say, the track record of that approach in identifying winners is very poor. A few years ago, I suggested an alternative approach that would largely abandon the stock picking approach and work more like a low cost tracker fund which just passively tracks the market, based around ebooks. Sadly, hedge fund managers have not been queuing up to back my exciting new venture. But I remain open to offers.....
You might also be interested in:
- My self-publishing masterplan (hmmm...we'll see)
- Self-publishing: a guide
- E-books: shaking up publishing, but not content?
- Falling down the cracks in the genre map
- Publishers: no better than fund managers?
- The curse of OCR
In : Random thoughts
Tags: "de montfort literature"
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