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UK banker offers novelists £24k salary as part of publishing start-up

A new publishing start-up has launched in the UK, claiming to offer aspiring novelists a salary from £2000 (A$3540) per month to write, as an alternative to traditional publishing, reports the Bookseller.

De Montfort Literature (DML), run by hedge fund manager Jonathan De Montfort, said it will pay writers a salary to write their novels, which DML will then design, publish and promote. After salary, production and marketing costs, authors will receive a 50% share of profits from book sales, according to the company.

DML said it is interested in commercial fiction of all genres (it mentions science-fiction, crime and thriller, romance and YA on its website), and the start-up will publish in hardback, paperback, ebook and audio formats. The Bookseller reported that ‘discussions with retailers have yet to take place’, but that DML intends to work with Amazon and Waterstones.

De Montfort told the Bookseller he thought publishing’s business model was ‘a mad way to do business’ compared with industries such as the banking and technology sectors, which invest in raw talent at the outset. He added that the traditional publishing model represented a ‘literary lottery’ for authors.

DML will initially offer up to 10 places to successful applicants, but expects to increase this to up to 100 over the next few years.

Nicola Solomon, chief executive of the UK’s Society of Authors, expressed some concern over certain terms and conditions set by DML, including the company’s request for joint copyright, copyright in authors’ ‘ideas’ (not just their work), and a clause stipulating authors can’t write for another publisher for two years if they choose to leave DML.

‘We are always happy to see new publishing models that give choice to authors and a salary of £24,000 a year for writing novels would probably be attractive to any new writer and is more than the advances that many would receive in traditional publishing,’ said Solomon. ‘However, we always advise all writers to look a gift horse in the mouth and, on closer inspection, this one has some rotten teeth … There are some good features and the intention seems to be good so we would be very happy to work with DML and its founders to come up with fairer terms.’



Category: International news