By David Marlin
Manual royalty management is no publisher’s idea of fun. Once your title list reaches about 100 titles, the hours spent calculating and processing author payments become a major drain on your resources. But by automating your royalties you can ease the burden by up to 90%. Here are three key ways it can improve any business.
1 Save money
Time is money, and manual royalty management soaks it up. Whether it is done monthly, annually or anytime in between, the task consumes effort from valuable staff who could be far better deployed on publishing, sales, marketing, rights and other profitable activities. Automation sets your people free to do what they do best. For example, a digital publishing customer of ours had a VP Level person spending 40 hours each month preparing royalty statements. That same VP reduced the process to 4 hours, and soon delegated the entire task. This strategic employee now has 40 additional hours per month to spend growing the business.
2 Reduce risk
Mistakes in royalty calculations can easily result in overpayment or underpayment—and each has a significant impact on your business. Overpay and you reduce your profitability; underpay and you badly damage your reputation and leave yourself open to legal action. Either way you face the stressful job of trawling through past statements to correct errors along with the embarrassing task of communicating to your authors and licensors. It can leave you feeling like you have lost control of your accounting. Automating the processes dramatically reduces the risk of error.
Our very first customer, years after working with us, described their original royalty process as a “major headache”, and that automation had been their aspirin. The headache had been this risk and uncertainty.
3 Motivate authors
Authors expect to receive their royalties on time, accurately calculated and presented in a manner that suits them. Automation enables you to supply statements online for easy access, and to meet the dates you have promised. As we all know, happier authors mean better books and more sales.
At MetaComet we see first hand the anxiety that manual royalty management can cause. But we have also enjoyed watching many times as our tools have reduced stress, freed up time and improved the bottom line. Publishers using services like our Royalty Tracker and AuthorPortal tell us they have improved their royalty efficiency by up to 90%, and it is a thrill to play a part in making them better businesses.
David Marlin, President, MetaComet Systems