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A “Shark Tank” Publishing House for Authors: But Could It Work?

If you’re an author as well as a fan of “Shark Tank,” the TV show in which millionaires compete to invest in unique start-ups, you’ve probably wondered what it would be like to have someone invest in your book without taking control over your career–including the royalties–the way traditional publishing houses do. Could a publishing house exist that would invest money in polishing and marketing your novel without actually owning it?

Part of this idea came to me after readingĀ a conversation among three bestselling authors who have been in the publishing game–both traditional and indie–for decades. These guys–Dean Wesley Smith, JA Konrath and Barry Eisler–know that a lot of authors out there are getting ripped off, and they especially advise against giving up rights to your work forever just to score a book deal with a big publisher when there’s so much you could do yourself while keeping your rights.

Using their advice and warnings, I thought I’d draw up a crude business model for a publishing house that could satisfy their demands and mine. It’s the publishing house of my dreams since it would take a huge financial burden off my shoulders by allowing me, the author, to choose how much the company would invest and how much they would get to keep afterward, without giving up ownership of my book.

But could such a business ever be profitable? (more…)

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