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Excerpt from 2nd Edition of Profitable Email Publishing

Ah, I've heard it all by now, mainly from my ex-husband and ex-inlaws. "You spend too much time on the computer." "You'll never make any money at that thing." "Give up now before you lose everything you own."

Thank God I never listened to any of them because now I'm just another dot com paper millionaire. Had I listened to my critics, I'd still be corporate slave. The lesson here? Never, EVER let anyone tell you you can't do it...because YOU CAN!


If your emag is very successful, you will probably be contacted by a large firm that wants to buy it. Sure, they'll offer a lump sum of cash, but consider the consequences.

1. You will lose your entire customer-base. You will no longer be able to run free ads in your own emag promoting your own products to your own highly targeted readership. You sales will ground to a halt.

2. You will, of course, be asked to sign a non-compete agreement. This means you won't be able to start over using your current subscriber list.

How much is your emag worth?
Expert opinions vary, but a likely expectation is to determine your revenues for three years. If your emag generates $40K per year in revenues, a reasonable selling price would be about $120K. Some e- mag owners ask a flat dollar amount per subscriber. What ultimately determines the price of your emag is how much someone is willing to pay for it. See the link below for emags that are currently for sale.

When to Sell

  • Your emag income is starting to decline because of market conditions or because your topic is no longer of interest.
  • Due to current events or changes in technology, your topic is no longer relevant.
  • You just can't keep up with your competitors.
  • The time you devote to your emag is just not worth the income it generates.
  • You've grown tired of your emag and want to start something new.
  • Someone offers to buy it for a ton of cash.

    Offers I've Had
    I've had three serious offers from people wanting to buy WritersWeekly and I've turned them all down…so far. The first infringed on my integrity. They wanted to turn all of our content into free content and wrap advertising dollars around it. What's wrong with this? Nothing at all…except they wanted to do it with other authors' ebooks as well. No way.

    Another firm wanted to pay a very tidy sum for the whole corporation, keep me on as an employee, and primarily use my mailing list of freelance writers as an advertising vehicle (say SPAM). In layman's terms, they offered a paycheck in exchange for my name endorsing their products (say Name Whoring). Nobody tells me what to write and say and I'd like to keep it that way.

    One company offered us stock in lieu of cash. I highly discourage accepting an offer like this from a start-up that hasn't even gone public yet. Chances are you'll lose everything.

    For a list of e-zines/emags for sale and articles on buying and selling online publications, see:


    It doesn't happen overnight. Even I don't have to tell you that. If I knew then what I know now (what I've shared in this book), the business would have grown much faster. It's tough to turn a profit when you're making up everything as you go...which is what I was doing. There were no books on emags when I started WritersWeekly.

    June, 1997 - Launched The Write Markets Report and the website while working full-time at another company. Sales remained steady for several months, spiking when I released new products but never exceeding a few hundred a month. Nice pocket change, but it sure took a lot of work to get that change jingling!

    January, 1998 - Started taking credit cards. Sales increased 80% but still not making enough to live on full-time.

    July, 1998 - Separated from husband. Amount of time I spend working on my emag becomes a major issue in the divorce. I make him sign over all rights to the company to me. He laughs at me, calls me a loser and signs on the dotted line. (I bet he's sorry he did that!) By now I'm working 8 hours/day at my real job and about 8 hours/day on my emag and website. Ex-husband isn't paying child support so the extra income is now a necessity, not a luxury.

    Sales are decent, but still not enough to live on. I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong at this point. I finally admit to myself that I am terrible at selling ad space. I can sell anyone a book on anything, but darn it all if I can't sell one single classified ad. Sales are impressive considering it's a one-woman company, but still not anywhere near the amount of my salary (the amount I think I need to earn to live a comfortable lifestyle). So I continue to plod onward. I start dating Richard who I had known for 3 years but who didn't ask me out until I was separated.

    February, 1999
    Got a huge raise at my job. Didn't matter, though. I still wanted to eventually work at home full-time. Little did I know it was coming sooner than I expected.

    May, 1999
    My refrigerator breaks. I am suddenly unemployed. No child support, no savings account and no salary. The only money coming in now is from the emag. I'm broke. Richard tries to give me money. I adamantly refuse to take money from anyone, including him. I, of course, am now working full-time on the emag and website.

    Changed National Writers Monthly from a monthly to a weekly and renamed it WritersWeekly. Sales quadrupled! Hmmm!!!

    Desperate for an infusion of cash (the kids are eating their cereal with powdered milk because of the broken refrigerator), I write, publish and start selling How to Write, Publish & $ell Ebooks. Desperate circumstances have suddenly made me one of the most talented e-marketers on earth, or so it seems. I am instantly bringing in several hundred dollars every day.

    Late May, 1999
    Richard and my family throw me a surprise wedding (no, I'm not kidding). Now that he's helping to support the kids, I feel even more desperate to succeed. I am horrified that his family might think I am one of those women who lands a man just so he can take care of her forever. I work harder than ever. We move to Massachusetts and I'm still working more than I've ever worked in my life. But, I'm growing as well.

    September, 1990
    Up to 20K subscribers. Whoo hoo!! The owner of calls and asks if we want to buy the site. We do and it is immediately profitable.

    October, 1999
    Epublishing icon MJ Rose calls me only days after her appearance on The Today Show. She's impressed with me, I'm ogling her press coverage, and we decide we're a perfect team. We write and publish a book in only seven weeks and sell it at auction to St. Martin's Press for a high-five-figure advance only 2 months later. We credit the success of the ebook with its success at auction.

    March, 2000
    Less than a year after our move to Massachusetts, Richard and I decide that it's time for him to make the big move, too. He quits his job to work with me full-time running and

    Less than one year after I was penniless, the media is calling me a paper millionaire. We have relocated to Bangor, Maine, and have set up our offices in a huge 100-year-old home overlooking the Penobscot River. Profits increase steadily every month. We occasionally entertain offers from companies that want to buy the corporation. We will eventually sell and retire, but only if/when the terms are according to our specifications and in a way that will only help (not hurt) the and authors. They are the ones who helped us grow into one of the top epublishers in the world (and perhaps one of the very few that are actually turning a profit!).


    Keep Selling Yourself
    Continue to spend 50% of your time marketing your emag. Don't ever stop. The more you market yourself, the higher your circulation will climb. The higher your circulation, the higher your profits. It's that simple. Subscribers equal profits, whether from secondary products sales, affiliate sales, or advertising income.

    Scheduling and Discipline
    Write a marketing schedule (I've provided one for you in the next chapter) and follow it. If you don't, you will fall behind in marketing your emag. You'll know when you fall behind…because your sales will drop fast.

    New Products
    Keep a list of potential secondary products and produce them as quickly as you can. Your products must be of the highest quality. Do not disappoint your readers or they will stop buying from you.

    Excerpt from Profitable Email Publishing, a free eSerial. To start receiving this book for free, send any email to: Angela Adair-Hoy is the publisher of, the FREE marketing emag for writers featuring freelance jobs and paying markets. New subscribers receive the FREE ebook, How to Be a Freelance Writer (with 103 paying markets). Surf to: currently serves more than 37,000 freelance writers. Join us!

    Submitted by: Angela Adair-Hoy *  

    8-Mar-2002         Hits: 299     Rating: 0     Votes: 0      Rate It

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