Updated February 8, 2016 – see end of post
There’s a good chance that I’ll be taking a full-time position as a visiting professor later in 2016. To that end, after more than five years, I have decided that the time is right to put Motion Publishing up for sale.
This lengthy post covers:
- The current publishing environment
- Motion Publishing’s current assets and liabilities
- Potential suitors for the company
- The process by which I’ll sell the company and ensure a successful transition
- Information about the asking price
- Next steps for those interested
The Current Publishing Environment
If you think that there’s no money to be made in publishing, think again.
Vanity presses in some cases have charged more than $100,000 for book developmental, publishing, and marketing services. This can appeal to entrepreneurs looking to build their profiles and to get their companies’ names on the map. For their part, some legacy publishers have been charging authors for their services. That is, rather than pay authors traditional advances, they are acting as de facto service providers for their clients. Others are insisting that prospective authors buy 2,000 or more copies of their own works as a condition of a book deal.
Long story short: Lines among traditional publishers and vanity and subsidy presses are getting very blurry. Expect this to intensify in the coming years. It’s clear that old publishing models are dying and new ones are emerging. Amazon has even started its own imprint and inked rock star Tim Ferris.
Current Assets and Liabilities
The company sports zero debt and liabilities. As for assets, see the following table:
The rights to all Motion web-related content and intellectual property. This includes the domain, website, e-mail addresses, the Udemy course on professional self-publishing, and all site content (including more than 100 posts). This also includes the rights to certain titles as explained below.
Based on my research, the value of just the website www.motionpub.com lies somewhere between $3,600 and $18,000. It is built with Divi, a premium, fast, modern, and contemporary WordPress theme. The site runs on WPEngine, a premium hosting company. Prominent backlinks include ABC News, Huffington Post, and Forbes. Its Google Page Rank is a very respectable 4/10. For Alexa information on site traffic and rankings, click here. For additional information on the site’s backend, click here.
Limited royalties from future Motion book sales.
These include full American rights to Motion’s four titles, including its two most popular: The New Small and The Age of the Platform. Note that the Indian, Korean, and Indonesian rights to the latter have already been sold. Also, because Motion Publishing allows authors to retain their intellectual property as part of its model, royalties from certain books by default remain with their authors.
Copies of e-mail inquiries on potential Motion clients (re: current leads).
Note that I will not violate any privacy here. You’ll simply receive the information that people have voluntarily provided to me. Beyond this, I’ll forward any future inquiries direct to me to the Motion’s new owner.
Ownership of Motion Publishing’s social media accounts.
All logos and other creative assets.
All logos and other creative assets. A list of people subscribed to the Motion Publishing mailing list.
Ownership of Motion’s new book-alert review service.
You’ll inherit existing clients. You can also market the service to others and enhance it.
In no particular order, the following types of people and organizations come to mind as viable candidates:
- A new or legacy U.S. publisher looking to acquire an established imprint with six released publications. I suspect that such a company could realize significant PR value from such a move. In other words, the acquisition would validate its model to authors.
- An international publisher looking to establish a U.S. presence. This may be for tax reasons.
- Entrepreneurs and startups looking to continue and extend the path that Motion has taken. As other independent publishers have shown, there is indeed opportunity in the current chaos. That is, reports of the demise of the publishing industry are greatly exaggerated.
- An individual or individuals from the world of legacy publishing—perhaps several acquisitions editors with go-getter spirits looking to jump start a new venture.
- Training companies looking for an established method and vehicle to sell their content.
- A small or even large publisher looking to add a services wing to its business. Motion has helped plenty of individuals in a consultative capacity.
- An international company looking to establish a U.S.-based subsidiary.
- Businesses that churn out a great deal of content and want to avoid the stigma of self-publishing and/or “Company X Press” that, while diminished, remains to some extent.
Ensuring a Smooth Transition
To be successful, any acquisition requires a coordinated handoff between an organization’s old owners and its new ones.
To be successful, any acquisition requires a coordinated handoff between an organization’s old owners and its new ones. That is, it’s not simply a matter of signing some papers.
In order to ensure a smooth transition, I will work closely consulting with Motion’s Publishing’s new owner. I will explain how Motion runs and how it brings books to market. What’s more, I will help new management establish relationships with key Motion partners as well as previous clients. I will also arrange for personal introductions with Motion team members.
Price and Rationale
I have no illusions. I don’t expect to crack six figures on the sale of Motion Publishing. Still, considering the following factors, a price in the mid-five figures is entirely reasonable:
- The assets listed above
- As mentioned above, the relative health of the publishing industry and the current opportunity for nimble publishers
- The assets listed above
- The company’s healthy brand
- The fact that two of Motion Publishing’s six titles have won awards
There’s no burning plank here. I’d like for something to happen by early 2017 when my focus will presumably be on my new teaching position.
For more serious conversations (including detailed financials and data on book sales, mailing list subscribers, and the like), I will send you a mutual non-disclosure agreement. After you sign it, we can have a much more detailed conversation.
President and founder, Motion Publishing
I have put the word out to my network. I’m currently having conversations with several interested parties.
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