So okay, publishing is risky no matter the paradigm. But what if, rather than a traditional publishing house glomming most of the risk into one big beach ball, each participant in the publishing process took ownership of his/her own little ping pong ball of risk?
Which brings me to: What if editors got royalties ... instead of salaries?
As a freelance editor, I can choose to help mitigate an author's risk by eliminating any up-front cost to hire me. What do you think, does that sound like an intriguing idea?
"I always feel awkward if somebody brings up the topic of women's underrepresentation in physics. Though I'm one of these underrepresented women, I don't actually have a lot to say about the possible causes that hasn't been said a million times already. I'm not a social scientist and I'm not a neurologist and I don't follow the relevant literature. That leaves me with my own experience to talk about, but I generally dislike talking about myself. Also, exactly by virtue of being one of the aberrations I'm not the right person to ask why there aren't more girls studying physics."
Profound ignorance is often well rewarded.