New York, NYThe Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP), a 38 year-old non-profit organization providing technical assistance to independent literary publishers, has announced its merger with the Literary Ventures Fund (LVF, Inc.), a newly formed venture philanthropy supporting literary publishing.
Founded in 1967 by the National Endowment for the Arts (as the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines), CLMP provides necessary technical assistance to a growing community of nearly 450 independent literary publishers. These small publishersliterary magazines, small presses, and online publishersreceive help with marketing, business plans, distribution, and fundraising to allow them to reach readers effectively in the competitive commercial marketplace.
The Literary Ventures Fund, Inc., founded by Jim Bildner, builds on the premise that given a level marketing playing field, exceptional literary works from small presses can thrive in the marketplace. Using a venture philanthropy model, the LVF will support small presses book by book, granting both funds and expertise. The goal of each philanthropic "investment" will be to ensure that each book reaches its market potential, whatever that might be given the specific book project. Over the course of a two to five-year horizon, a selected manuscript may be granted writer advances, specialized marketing expertise, funds for participation in targeted marketing programs, and money for author tours and related activities. Projects will be selected based on their literary merits; those books that do produce a profit over time will pay back a percentage of profits to the Fund to help support future projects. As the LVF catalogue of supported books grows, the mere granting of support itself may help advance a work through the literary world.
LVF President Jim Bildner says, "In the current environment, many of us believe that if great writers like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, or Flannery O'Connor were beginning their careers today, they would have difficulty finding a publisher who could afford to nurture their careers from the beginning. The largest commercial houses dominate the book-publishing world; while at the same time, support for literary works and not-for-profit presses continues to decline. It's vital that literary works have a new channel to help find their way into the marketplace. We see our role as being a force to do just that."
CLMP President Ira Silverberg says, "CLMP's membership has nearly doubled in just the past five yearsthis merger will ensure that CLMP continues to play a key role in supporting the work of this vital publishing community, while also providing a new stream of support to small presses." According to LVF/CLMP Executive Director Jeffrey Lependorf, "LVF has the potential to change the landscape of how literary books reach the hands of readers, and by joining forces with CLMP, the entire community of independent literary book publishers will benefit through shared learning across the field. It's a momentous occasion for literary book publishing."
LVF will serve as the parent company of the merged entities; however, both non-profit organizations will maintain their own incorporations and separate branding. Jeffrey Lependorf, Executive Director of CLMP will also serve as Executive Director of LVF. Ande Zellman, a media and publishing consultant and former Boston Globe editor, will serve as Editorial Director. Additional staff will be added as the Fund begins its programming.
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