The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) recently announced that it will join the newly formed Literary Ventures Fund, Inc. (LVF) to support small presses with both funding and marketing expertise. The organizations hope the merger will raise the profile of literary works published by independent presses. The merger will not change CLMP's relationship with its members, and will not affect membership dues.
CLMP, a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1967, provides assistance to nearly 450 independent literary magazines, small presses, and online publishers with distribution, marketing, and fundraising. The new organization, to be called LVF, will continue CLMP’s efforts with direct funding, including writer’s advances and money for publishers who participate in special marketing programs (such as efforts to get titles adopted by academic courses) and reading tours. In some cases, LVF will provide additional personnel to assist small presses. “LVF has the potential to change the landscape of how literary books reach the hands of readers,” JeffreyLeppendorf, the executive director of CLMP, says. “The entire community of independent literary book publishers will benefit through shared learning across the field.”
“Many of us believe that if great writers like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, or Flannery O’Connor were beginning their careers toda, they would have difficulty finding a publisher who could afford to nurture their careers from the beginning," says Jeff Bildner, venture capitalist, LVF president, and Graywolf Press board member. "It's vital that literary works have a new channel to help find their way into the marketplace.” While manuscripts and projects will given funds based on their literary merits, those that create a profit will give back a small percentage of profits to the Fund, but not out of the writer's royalties. The first request for proposals will go out this fall (LVF has not yet determined if the request will only be only open to current CLMP members), and LVF expects quick turnaround in making grants.
The organization will have offices in both New York and Boston, with CLMP keeping the same New York offices and staff. LVF will bring on publishing consultant and former Boston Globe editor Ande Zellman as editorial director, and will retain Leppendorf as its executive director.