Hedge fund sets up idea-driven publisher to back novelists with £24,000 salary


A hedge fund boss who writes novels has set up a new publishing scheme that aims to pay authors a salary.

De Montfort Literature has been set up by De Montfort Capital, which is aiming to apply its expertise in hedge fund management to literature and back a new wave of best-selling novelists.

The venture is the idea of Jonathan De Montfort, the founder of De Montfort Capital, who has written a supernatural thriller entitled Turner. He discovered how difficult it is to get a novel published and Turner has become the first book to be published by De Montfort Literature.

The company has spent a lot of time and energy using advanced techniques to discover what makes a good novelist so it claims it knows what it is looking for.

De Montfort Capital devised a mathematical system, based partly on the Fibonacci sequence, to predict the financial markets. It believes that by using the same methodology and applying it to literature, it can help to publish more quality novelists.

Algorithms and formulae that aim to point to best-sellers are nothing particularly new. For example, The Best Seller Code by Jodie Archer and Matthew L Jockers claimed to have ‘cracked the code’ of just what makes a blockbuster.

Inkitt is a book publishing venture set up in 2016 which relies on data science looking at readers’ behaviour and it appears to have had a fair amount of success, mainly in the romance and paranormal genres.

However, De Montfort Literature seems to be focusing very much on the ideas presented by authors and will also be using psychometric testing, so it looks like it’s coming from a different angle in trying to identify prospective successful authors.

De Montfort Capital opened in 2013 and now focuses on investments in disruptive businesses, from start-ups to established firms, ranging from blockchain to new social media platforms, including Minds.com, which is an open source platform that pays content creators in crypto currency.

DML says it is open to applications from anyone with good ideas and a passion for literature. You could be a young aspiring writer considering a future career as a novelist or an experienced author looking for a new challenge. It is not looking for any specific genres but will consider all good ideas.

Initially, the company is looking for up to 10 authors who will be selected after an application process including psychometric testing and non-disclosure agreements, which sounds a lot like applying for a job, which, of course, it is. The writers who are picked will be paid around £24,000 a year and that will act as an advance of sorts as they will be paid 50% royalties from sales of their books after all costs are taken into account, including salary, production costs and marketing.

There’s no obligation to pay back any cash if an author’s book fails but if a writer leaves De Montfort Literature they will not be able contractually to write novels for any other publisher for two years. DML advises authors to seek legal advice if they are offered a contract and offers to pay the cost of independent legal advice.

The copyright situation is an interesting area as copyright would be shared between DML and the author but DML retains the management rights. This means (apparently) that writers have a right to be paid at the contracted rate if their book is published and have the option to buy DML out from their ideas if they decide to leave the company.

You can find out more about the scheme and the application process on the De Montfort Literature website.

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