New York, NY/Berkeley, CA: The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) and Small Press Distribution (SPD), the country's only two national non-profit organizations devoted to serving independent literary publishers, have entered into a formal strategic partnership to broaden their reach and better serve their constituents. Through a first step of sharing an Executive Director, these organizations will explore combining their resources and joint programming. The literary community can expect a healthier environment for independent literary publishing, and for readers and writers of literature from coast to coast.
According to Jeffrey Lependorf, now serving as Executive Director of CLMP and the newly-formed venture philanthropy Literary Ventures Fund, "for non-profit organizations with shared missions, it makes good sense to maximize limited resources to serve our constituents better. This effort has the potential to profoundly strengthen our community of independent literary publishers." Mary Shapiro, President of the SPD Board adds, "We look forward to working together to create more sustainable organizations that will thereby better our missions of serving independent publishing and supporting the literary arts. A successful strategic partnership will enable our organizations to make even larger contributions than they have each been able to make individually. We are all excited about the possibilities." Dave Martinson, who has served excellently as Interim Director of SPD, will continue to serve on the SPD Board of Directors.
CLMP and SPD both work to help independent literary publishers achieve their missions of connecting writers of serious literature to their potential readers. CLMP provides mission-driven, independent literary publishers with the tools to work as effective businesses, while SPD makes it possible for their books to enter the marketplace and reach their readers. Ira Silverberg, Board President of CLMP, says "both organizations advocate on behalf of this community and produce public events to raise the profile of independent literary publishing. For independent literary publishers, the combined strengths of these essential organizations will result in deeper and more effective services. For readers and writers, this new partnership will help ensure a vital and more vibrant literary landscape."
About CLMP and LVF
CLMP merged with the newly formed Literary Ventures Fund, Inc. in 2005. LVF builds on the premise that given a level marketing playing field, exceptional literary works can thrive in the marketplace. Using a venture philanthropy model, LVF invests in literature "one book at a time," providing both funds and expertise to ensure that each book reaches its market potential. Projects are selected based on their literary merits, their marketplace viability, and their likelihood to remain in print, and those books that do produce a profit over time will pay back a percentage of profits to the Fund to help support future projects. Initial projects in the LVf investment portfolio include Gate of the Sun by Elias Khoury (Archipelago Press, February 2006), already hailed as a "masterwork" by The New York Times and in its second printing; Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife by Sam Savage (Coffee House Press, April 2006), already a Barnes and Noble Discovery selection; and First Hurt: Stories by Rachel Sherman (Open City Books, May 2006), already receiving phenomenal advance praise.
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