The Literary Ventures Fund is a first-of-its-kind not-for-profit private foundation that supports fiction, literary non-fiction, and poetry, as well as the broader literary landscape, through philanthropic investment. The Literary Ventures Fund serves as a partner-in-risk providing supplementary support to authors and their works. Through its philanthropic venture- capital- investment model, LVF accomplishes three goals:
- accelerating the process of getting new works of literature into the hands of readers;
- opening up new channels for these works to get published and marketed;
- and developing a self-supporting philanthropic entity that does not draw from an already too small circle of philanthropic resources supporting literary organizations today.
We focus on a single precept: sustainability. While LVF first and foremost invests in works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry that are exceptionally well written, make an impact, and resonate with the reader, we balance that with the conviction that the projects we fund need to be economically viable and likely to remain in print. We seek to leverage existing resources while acting as a catalyst in creating new ones. Rather than function simply as a funder, we work to become an active partner in our invested projects. Our financial and technical support is need-blind and entirely merit-based.
For more information please contact LVF Director of Strategic Marketing, Kate Travers at
Selection and investment
LVF is need-blind and merit based. We talk to publishers, authors and our broad network of advisers on a regular basis and we consider book projects on a continuous basis. We consider investment in books from large, medium and small publishers. Because of our emphasis on sustainability, all LVF projects considered for investment must have the potential for quantifiable, trackable results.
While most of our agreements thus far have been with publishers, we remain open to working with authors directly, though note that we cannot support self-published works, and, rarely, works without representation through an agent. Publishers seeking an investment from the Literary Ventures Fund should know that LVF typically makes investments in presses who publish a minimum of 5 books per year books and in titles with a minimum print runs of 5,000 copies or above. There are exceptions, yes, but they are very rare.
Our formal agreements are intended to accomplish a number of things. First and foremost, each of these agreements attempts to align, economically, our interest with that of our partners (authors and publishers). What this means is that our return can only begin to occur if the book we invest in:
- achieves target sales levels agreed to in the beginning
- on both a short and long-term basis we help that book reach the full potential of readers with whom it resonates.
What we are most proud of is that by definition, this also means that all parties, the publisher, the author, and the Fund, all benefit along the way.
LVF welcomes informal inquiries from publishers, authors, agents and creative writing programs and will advise potential publishing partners whether an initial inquiry should move to the next, more formal stage. We prefer not to receive formal proposals until we have had the opportunity to respond to an informal inquiry. Contact LVF's editorial director Ande Zellman () or LVF's executive director Jeffrey Lependorf () with any questions you may have or to discuss a potential project.
Once we determine that we love the bookand we first and foremost have to love a book we invest inwe will ask you to complete a simple LVF financial worksheet and a questionnaire. This is a critical step and will give us the information we need to decide if this is a viable and wise investment for both parties. There are times when we have to convince publishers that an LVF investment isn't what they need. If we decide to proceed we will have a focused meeting (by teleconference or in person) with the critical decision-makers in your company to create an agreement tailored to the specific needs of the project.
We have found that every project and every publisher is different; there is no one-size-fits all investment, marketing plan, or expected return in publishing. One consistent goal for LVF is the hope that that the return from projects yielding success in the marketplace will provide a sustainable return to be reinvested in future LVF projects. We custom-tailor, project-by-project, the expected return on each investment to account for the relative risk of each invested project.
Literary Ventures Fund is diversifying their services to include publicity and marketing services. We offer this to publishers of all sizes who publish fiction and narrative non-fiction. This expansion allows publishers selective access to the collective strengths and contacts of the Literary Ventures Fund team for a defined periods of time.
The LVF staff now includes Mary Bisbee-Beek, who brings more than 25 years of publicity and marketing experience working with books in many genres. She was previously the Founder and Director of Beeksbee Books of St. Paul, MN where she worked with publishers of all sizes and discriminating tastes. After leaving Minnesota in 1992, she served as the Director of Marketing, Publicity and Foreign Rights for the University of Michigan Press.