"Literary venture capitalist" picks author
Imagine a venture capital firm that invests in books instead of startups.
Or how about a Simon Cowell whose idea of an American Idol is a poet who pens peerless pentameter?
Such descriptions might fit the Literary Ventures Fund, a private nonprofit foundation with offices in Boston and New York that applies venture-capital principles to writers and books.
Literary Ventures, whose motto is "Investing in literature one book at a time," has selected Thomas O'Malley as the first recipient of an investment from its new Writers Fund, one of several foundation initiatives for promoting worthy fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
O'Malley lives in New York state, and his first novel was "In the Province of Saints."
Literary Ventures declined to disclose how much O'Malley is receiving but said the amount should let him write for a year without distractions.
In talent-scouting for authors, the Literary Ventures Fund consults a network of literary agents and publishers who recommend books; after reading the books, funds staffers decide which ones they like and which make sense as an investment.
As the publishing industry has evolved, new ways must emerge to support books and financially struggling writers, according to Literary Ventures Fund founder Jim Bildner, and one such effort is the Writers Fund.
A portion of revenues from books financed by the Writers Fund program are to be returned to the fund so that other writers can benefit.
A venture capital firm measures rewards in profits, but as a foundation, Literary Ventures seeks a different kind of dividend.
The fund, said editorial director Ande Zellman (and a former editor at The Boston Globe) seeks to be "a self-sustaining venture philanthropy."
(By Chris Reidy, Globe staff)