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Startup small presses

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JournoWriter

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I've been reading quite a few Beware threads about small publishers. Many reveal significant problems and copious red flags with the owners' practices and business models.

What I'm curious about is: What does it take to start a good small press? One that will last, survive, thrive and do a good job for readers while treating authors well. Experience, connections, capital, for sure, but how much/many of each? How much money per book should a small press be investing, for what sort of return? How does a press find a distributor and get books into stores? etc. etc. etc. ...

I know each press is different, so what I'm really hoping for are averages / anecdotal observations / lessons drawn from experience on what factors make a startup small press likelier to succeed than the average fly-by-night or vanity operation.
 

veinglory

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I joined one press within the first year because:
* The owner had recent successful experience with another press
* The owner left that press for a good reason
* They had start up capital
* They had great authors signed up
* They had experienced, kick ass editors signed up
* Their business plan made sense
* They had distribution
 

benluby

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One knack I would consider crucial, in addition to all veinglory's comments? You need to have the people with a nose for stories that will be popular/potential hits.
 

frimble3

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And, should the owner get sick, drop dead, skip town or find another interest, who's going to be running the place? It's not enough to hire workers, there should be a competent back-up for management.
This seems to be a problem for a lot of one-man shows. Or, one-man and a couple of editors.
 

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