It looks like a guy with more means than most set up a publishing company to publish his own book, and then set about legitimising it. Am I too cynical? And even if I am, could this be something to consider anyway?
I can see a lot of authors jumping at the idea of a full salary to write books even if they don’t even publish them, but the system also just seems plain weird (psychometric testing? hedge funds?).
My favorite line in the article is this:
Also a writer, he decided to set up the company after “experiencing the difficulties of writing and publishing a novel”This is like the query writer who wants to "improve" the incoming query process cause his/her book didn't get any requests for a full manuscript.
Cause yanno, failure is systemic; it has nothing to do with their book.
Even when you know what you're doing, and have funding, starting a publishing company is hard. I've watched a couple people do it and they were smart, savvy, experienced, and didn't try to do too much at first (like offer salaries to writers.) It takes years to make something like this work, and any entrepreneur will tell you that controlling costs is one of the keys. Salaries are a huge, fixed cost.
Victoria Strauss has a long blog post about this company, and some of the red flags.
Any company that wants to own your work better have a solid track record and deep pockets.
You're not cynical; you're smart.
This isn't a terrible idea; it's just aimed badly.
I'd have been a whole lot more intrigued if they'd been trying to solve an actual problem in publishing: lack of diverse voices.
I'd love to see people with great writing chops and not a lot of financial wherewithal get a leg up in this business, particularly those people we need to hear more from.