California-based Dragonblade Publishing is a boutique publisher specializing in historical romance. Founded in 2012 as a small press publishing the novels of President and CEO Kathryn Le Veque, it has grown into a leader in its field, working closely with more than 80 independent authors on 500+ books. Here, Director of Operations Shawn Morrison explains the background and benefits of Dragonblade’s partnership with MetaComet Systems.
“I look after Dragonblade’s day-to-day business, including management of our authors’ publishing contracts and schedules. As we took on more and more authors, it became increasingly difficult to manage royalties and calculate everything based on complex reports that came in from Amazon and elsewhere. We pay out royalties once a month, and prior to working with MetaComet we would have to manually reconcile data and calculate every statement for every author. We’d download reports, open them up in Excel, separate out authors line by line and total everything book by book. It would take days, and our accountant reached the point where it just consumed too much of her time. The work was becoming overwhelming, and we knew we had to automate.
We considered six or seven royalty tracking solutions, then reviewed three in detail to see which would be the best fit for our company. We looked in particular at how easy they were to use, and how many steps it would take for us to get what we needed. We wanted a one-stop-shop where we could quickly look up the details of any author, book or series. We found different modules to do different things but wanted everything in one package—and MetaComet fit the bill.
We migrated our data from October 2021, and it was a pretty simple and smooth process. It took a month to get everything ready, and within two months we were ready to test and see how automated calculations matched up against our manual ones. We were a bit worried that they might be off, but it turned out they were completely in line. We paid our authors via RoyaltyTracker for the first time in January 2022.
Khalid did a great job on implementation and was excellent with communications. We had weekly meetings to make sure we got what we needed, when we needed it, and to fix any issues. He’s held our hands through the entire process. Anytime we have a question the team respond very quickly; they do a really good job with customer service.
I’d advise any publisher in a similar situation to get several demos and opinions. You don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles—just whatever works for you. Some people will try to oversell and give you things you don’t need, and you may regret taking them. You also need to be sure that the product will be updated. MetaComet constantly responds to feedback and updates software accordingly.
We’re still in the discovery phase, but already we’ve found it easy to use and navigate. You can search for any name or book and pull up anything related to it. It’s really simple—a great product. We’ve gone from spending five days on each royalty cycle to just one hour. When our accountant tested the system and found it took the click of a few buttons she was really excited. And she still is; she can’t believe it’s that simple.”