in Book Publishing

Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road — more answers regarding grants for publishing startups.

> Does anyone know anything about grants or any type of

> funding to start your own publishing company?

Starting your own publishing company these days isn’t a costly endeavor. It’s publishing and marketing the books that will hurt your bank account.

If you’re looking for investors, my advice is not to waste your time. Venture Capital companies have no interest in funding startup publishers, the typical Angel Investor (a private individual with money) usually expects rate of return on their investment (15-20% ownership equity in the company PLUS 15-20% interest on their investment), and trying to raise the funds from Friends/Family/Fools is often a bad way to go because it may take you YEARS and quite a few costly mistakes before you even begin to see any real profit from your publishing startup.

If you’re looking for grants to apply for, a couple of great places to start are http://www.grants.gov/ and http://www.federalgrantswire.com/. The thing to keep in mind is that none of these sources will just give you a grant. It’s more than just filling out a form, too. In most cases you’ll basically need to have a business plan (complete with financials) and a rudimentary marketing plan. On top of that you’ll need to write up documents specific to the submission requirements of each grant source. It’s a good idea to have your plans done anyway because if you want any kind of assistance from your local branch of the Small Business Administration they won’t even take you seriously until they’ve reviewed and approved your Business Plan and financials. On top of that, the other issue you’ll be faced with is that it is possible to spend weeks doing research and getting your plans tight only to find that some of those magical sources of state/federal funding have either long since dried up or put on hold indefinitely.

Case in point: During summer of 2008 I attempted to go down the yellow-brick road with the SBA to get some funding for a separate business venture I became involved with. All paths lead to a very nice woman whose Yoda-like knowledge of business funding programs enabled her to finish my sentences in regards to any programs I was interested in applying for. She would tell me that the source had become defunct or put on hold due to the war in Iraq. Judging by the gravel in her voice that alluded to a daily diet of Scotch and cigarettes, I knew better than to sit around waiting for those sources to change status anytime soon.

I’ll gladly share more about my experiences starting up my publishing company (including some really big success news I’ve been keeping under wraps) but it almost sounds like you need to put the concept of publishing aside for a minute. The question you really have to ask yourself is “Am I really ready to start and manage a business?”

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