When seeking support with royalty management, publishers have a lot of choice – but some solutions are better than others. Here are just some of the key reasons to choose MetaComet over the competition.
Everyone in publishing has first or second hand horror stories to tell—of bad decisions and simple mistakes that caused serious disruption or even ended a business. At MetaComet we know from experience that they are all too common in the field of royalties, but the good news is they can be prevented. Here are four of the biggest traps we can help you avoid.
Paying out too much
Inefficient royalty management can quickly lead to the overpayment of monies to authors. We’ve met publishers whose payments have been too high for years—great news for authors, but not so good for the bottom line. Duplicated imports of sales data and incorrect balance carryovers are particularly common problems, and contract clauses like royalty escalators can quickly create errors in calculation.
Really bad scenarios, where publishers have needlessly paid out tens of thousands of dollars, aren’t rare as you might think. What’s more, it’s very hard—and usually impossible—to claim that money back at a later date. By automating royalty management, MetaComet’s solutions can simplify calculations and end overpayment at a stroke.
Paying out too little
Perhaps the only thing worse than overpayment is underpayment. Thankfully this is a relatively rare occurrence, but when authors discover that payments have been too low, it can cause significant financial and reputational damage.
When we started working with one publisher who had been outsourcing royalties, we discovered that the numbers had been way off for years. This publisher hadn’t intended to under-pay its authors. Like virtually all royalty errors we encounter, it was an honest mistake—the result of poor practice rather than duplicity.
But regardless of motive, putting errors right can be very costly. Repaying sums instantly impacts the bottom line. It also leads to distrust among authors, who may question whether their publisher is a reliable business partner. They might be less inclined to sign further contracts, or to recommend the business to other authors. We can help smooth out royalty calculations and ensure that all authors are properly rewarded.
We’ve seen countless examples of publishers attempting to manage their royalties single-handed. That can be a reasonable approach in the early days of building a business, when sales data can be handled on a simple spreadsheet. But once a list of books reaches double figures, calculating, recording and paying royalties becomes a complex and time-consuming task.
In the worst cases we’ve seen, manual royalty management has absorbed hundreds of hours of staff time over the course of a year—hours that would have been far better spent on developing growth strategies for the business. We’ve met publishers who were forced to spend many days each month buried in spreadsheets, contracts and sales records, desperately trying to reconcile royalty accounts.
Manual calculations aren’t just labor intensive but stressful. It’s very satisfying for MetaComet to be able to release publishers from these burdens and make their working days their own again. Our solutions can free new businesses to do what they entered publishing for: publish great content.
The skills gap
At new or small publishers in particular, the task of royalty management is often handed to one member of staff. That’s fine so long as that person has the skills and interest to handle the task—and so long as he or she remains with the business. But what happens if that team member leaves the business or falls sick? When they do so, they take royalty know-how with them, and if transitions aren’t managed well, it leaves the business with a damaging knowledge gap. Filling the hole, by working out the processes that colleagues have left behind, or hiring someone else to replace them with their own ways of working, is laborious and costly. At MetaComet, we don’t just keep royalty management in one person’s head. We provide full, friendly support for our solutions so that help is always at hand for your queries or difficulties.
Don’t let these horror stories happen to you! Now more than ever it is vital to create solid foundations on which to build a successful publishing business. Investing in a professional royalty management system that protects profits and motivates authors is an essential element of that.