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IPG Podcast – Part One

Eliminating Stress from Royalty Management: Hear MetaComet on the IPG Podcast Part 1

MetaComet President David Marlin was a recent guest on the UK Independent Publishers Guild’s Podcast, discussing how to eliminate stress from royalty management. Here’s an edited transcript of his chat with the IPG’s Tom Holman. We have broken it down into two articles.  Please find the first of two below:

Tom Holman / Royalties aren’t always easy to manage—especially for newer and smaller publishers who might not be automating them. What are the main stresses you see?

David Marlin / Stress is a good word to describe royalties. They typically create that very strong emotion, along with things like anxiety, uncertainty and dread… the list continues. It’s caused by several factors including inefficiency because it’s such a time-consuming process: publishers can easily spend days, weeks or even months on royalties every period, often with multiple resources working on them. Because it’s only an occasional need and because they’re so complex, every time you sit down and do it, you have to get your head back in the process. That anticipation is very stressful.

Because royalties are so complex, they can also be overwhelming. It’s hard to keep track of all the details and manage them in a methodical way—and that leads to uncertainty too. We’ve had situations where publishers had grown rapidly and their founders hadn’t really anticipated the operational needs of that growth. Royalties basically became full-time jobs with an extremely high level of stress.

Tom Holman / What are the significant risks in all of this? What are the big dangers?

David Marlin / Accuracy is probably one of the biggest business risks. If you’re not using a state-of-the-art system, you’re very likely making mistakes—and if you’re doing it manually in Excel, you’re almost certainly making mistakes. When we set up new customers and do parallel runs on their royalties, they invariably find errors in their old statements.

These mistakes have a real reputational risk. If authors start to doubt that you’re paying royalties accurately, they question whether they can really trust you. There’s also the financial risk. You can overpay, in which case you as the publisher are out financially; and you can underpay, in which case you might have to make it up to authors later.

Tom Holman / So those are the stresses and the risks—but let’s talk about the solutions. How does automation eliminate them?

David Marlin / This is the fun part! We’ve been focused on all the negatives, but the great news is that royalties can absolutely be a worry-free, stress-free part of your business operations. In fact, they should be. Royalties aren’t why publishers got into this business: they want to publish books and get content out there and spread the words of their creators. Royalties should be a simple back-office operation like accounts payable and accounts receivable.

To go back to the example I mentioned, one publisher went from working full-time on royalties to a couple days a month, and she now has total confidence that her statements are accurate. She loads her sales in, runs our sales reconciliation report which shows up issues and fixes them, and then hits the send button. All her authors get their royalty statements, and then you can send payments through a payment automation system—we work a lot with Tipalti —or to your accounts payable if you are using an accounting system. The stresses are gone and she doesn’t even have to do it herself—she can delegate it to someone else.

In the next entry, we’ll finish the conversation, digging deeper into costs, security and more.

Click here or contact the MetaComet team to learn more about the benefits of royalty automation, and discover the Independent Publishers Guild here.

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