Facts and Figures
Update 1/8/19: The business reported a strong Q4, with 2018 adjusted EBITDA of $350 thousand.
The business, which includes this website and four additional stand-alone sites, helps writers, poets and photographers generate awareness. Averaging just under $20,000 monthly profit the sites are all contest based - with aspiring creatives pitching to win praise and plaudits from a trusted network of judges. The business aims to nurture and celebrate top talent through recognition and a professional pathway.
This is a full trade sale encompassing the parent LLC and includes all five sites and the associated assets. I, as the seller, have had entrepreneurial success bootstrapping and building a business with a trade sale to Thomson Reuters.
There's huge growth potential and this business would suit savvy business owners or corporates with a passion for publishing, journalism, or the creative arts.
90% of revenue is generated via contest pay per entry for each competition, 8% is from online workshops, and 2% form book sales. No revenue is derived from advertising.
4 websites each running 4-6 awards / contests per year
One online literary workshop / year (may be expanded)
One printed anthology per year, sold via website.
Newsletter: ~200K Fiction list, ~200K Poetry (400K total) goes out 1-2X / month
Open Rate and Click Rate 50% - 100% above industry average (according to MailChimp)
Primary sources of marketing spend: Facebook, Submittable, Industry Magazines (Poets & Writers, Winning Writers, The Writer, Paris Review, New Pages)
65-75% traffic visitation new visitor month over month
USA – 70% of Visitation, Top Cities: New York, London, LA, Chicago, Washington
Advertising revenue void is obvious lowest-lying fruit for expansion
Key Management and Employees
- Single owner and Head of Operations
- Two (2) Full-Time employees via a leased-employee company (thus, they do not appear on the Single-Member LLC as employees.
- Three (3) independent contractors who are the editors of the websites listed in Summary.
- Readers enrolled in MFA programs throughout the country.
Main operations are located in USA where owner and two full-time employees work and reside. Office location is at a co-working facility. Owner and employees currently meet 2-3 times / week in the mornings.
Three independent managing editors are located in other cities.
Emerging and established writers who are aspiring to go from amateur, unsigned (agent represented) authors to the hopes of making writing their primary career.
- Uniquely positioned in the market as a non-university operated platform for writers. In other words, it is operated full-time, not as a part of a curriculum, and designed to operate as a profitable business.
- Owner has first-hand knowledge of building relevant software firms. Was 50% owner of a bootstrapped business sold to Fortune 1000 member, Thomson Reuters.
- Owner worked for the company that runs the submission platform for all websites, a company called Submittable, from 2016 – 2017 (18 months).
- Business was properly capitalized at origin to be able to attract submissions due to credible judging and high capital cash awards.
- Newsletter of over four hundred thousand (400,000) members, approximately evenly split between fiction and poetry individuals
- Consistent, three digit percentage growth over the last four years.
- Website growth via visitation numbers, over 75% unique visitor suggestive of growing and diverse readership
- Zero known legal claims, or evidence of liability. All published work requires signed contracts
- Owner does not have a deep knowledge of the literary landscape in order to spot upcoming trends (relies on editors)
- Company is green in the mode of monetizing an audience and community via advertising
- Over 9/10ths of revenue is derived through the same theme of contests and awards
- Recently launched a photography website with the same ideology for photo. With the ease and popularity of photo and video, company is making headway into this space. First contest ended September 30,
- Expected 2019 revenue: 1MM – 1.5MM through a combination of existing revenue model in literature, application of this model to photography
- A rational application of advertising, or paid content, to 400K newsletter followers could yield higher.
There are approximately 200-300 literary journals in existence.
Each of the 4 literary websites operated by company currently fall in the top 10 in revenue
- Customer Database
- Web assets. Books, fixtures, and equipment have a fair market value of $10,000. Inventory to be included in sale.
- Company, a Nevada LLC with all shares held by the owner.
Post sale support
This is support provided by the seller when transitioning the business to a buyer.
About the Seller
A single member who has a history of M&A and entrepreneurial success. His last exit was a bootstrapped company to a Fortune 1000 firm.