Updated: Jun 7
Fully digitizing and automating your rights and royalties workflows can better your publishing business (for all those involved).
If there’s one thing in the publishing industry that deserves more attention, it’s rights. Whilst I appreciate that there are entire book fairs (globally) which are dedicated to the negotiation and sale of intellectual property, rights and licensing, very little attention is given to the operational aspects and workflows which encompass the rights acquisition and reporting processes. Yet, getting your operations in order is fundamental to the survival of any publishing house, and is arguably even more critical to those who are dependent on the royalties that ensue.
Think of it like this: you’re on a stage, needing to convey an important message to the crowds of people in front of you who are both in and out of sight. The crowds span as far as the eye can see and as you move to the microphone-stand to make your announcement, it becomes apparent that there is in fact no microphone available to you and not a chance of being heard by the crowd by shouting alone.
You could provide the announcement to those at the front of the crowd and rely on them to pass your important message down the ranks; but inevitably, the message received at the back of the room (after a number of renditions and verbal variations) could be very different to that which you imparted, and without following the process in-depth, how would you even know? And so you’re left with only one real option: getting off the stage and walking amongst the crowd to personally speak with each and every individual group of people to get your message across – which is at best time-consuming, and at worst a considerable drain on your resources.
This is when Automation enters the room – the celebrity in our ranks whose power and influence cannot be overstated in such circumstances. And what’s that in their hand? A microphone!
And with a click of my fingers, you’re back in the room...
In a publishing context, the ‘important message’ in this analogy is your rights and licensing information which needs to be disseminated widely and without error; and the extensive ‘crowd’ consists of your authors and literary agents, your internal rights team as well as other in-house teams, your divisions, and your business partners throughout the supply chain – all of whom rely on your organization’s rights information and all associated metadata (such as your publishing dates, pricing models and royalties information) in order to edit, market, promote, distribute and sell your books.
And Automation in this context is, well... automation – reaching the masses via a streamlined rhetoric from a single location, enhanced by the microphone of metadata that broadcasts your products (whether physical or digital) across the tannoy to the entire book supply chain!
But still, why is automation such a superstar in the publishing world? And how does its voice help to carry all the necessary detail to the back of the metaphorical publishing room and beyond?
The answer is simple: automation exponentially increases efficiencies and productivity within your organization. By automating your rights and royalties processes (through the introduction of definitive digital workflows) not only are you catering for your current clientele and all its end-consumers, you’re also saving time and planning for the future of your organization which will subsequently help to increase your sales volumes, gain real insights that will help to inform your future business decisions, and ensure that you retain control over your IP in order to get the most revenue possible out of it.
Getting your rights right… we have Biblio for that
The Biblio suite of publishing software provides comprehensive, end-to-end support for the publishing lifecycle and is developed by publishing specialists specifically for publishers. As such, it provides sophisticated functionality for book industry rights and royalties workflows, enabling your rights team to:
Increase the revenue generated from your IP and grow your sales figures;
Strengthen your negotiations;
Generate enhanced reports to manage renewals and expiring rights
Formulate business insights, using real data from your past products to inform future business decisions;
Better serve your authors and agents; and
Manage the entire rights workflow (including tracking submissions of interest, advances, contracts, rights, subsidiary rights income, permissions and payments – for both physical and digital products) all in a single system.
The Biblio suite is extremely flexible, highly configurable and fully-integrated, and it is even more powerful when used in conjunction with Virtusales' definitive digital asset management solution, BiblioDAM, and our royalties management solutions which include BiblioRoyalties and the Virtusales Royalty Portal, our secure, online platform for sharing royalty statements with authors and agents.
The uses of Biblio to better your rights and royalties workflows are as diverse as the world-leading publishers that already use them:
Gain an overview of your rights via Biblio’s user dashboard and monitor all your internal rights workflows in a single system.
Strengthen your negotiating position using centralized and easily-reportable rights information to inform decision-making and increase confidence in the process.
Saves time generating contracts, creating rights catalogs, chasing payments and managing expired rights.
Ensures relevant permissions are cleared and permission requests are responded to appropriately.
Take advantage of Biblio’s integrated contact management for contributors, publishers, agents and payees.
Use digital asset management to store contracts and digital files, plus royalties.
Create, maintain and share your rights and pricing metadata for all types of product (whether print, digital, packs or merchandise) within a single system.
Be certain that your metadata will remain accurate, up-to-date and unduplicated across your entire organization and those it is disseminated to across the supply chain – enabling your workforce to choose and control what they want to share.
Provide access to your rights metadata to business partners’, authors and agents; and directly feed your pricing metadata to retailers’ websites via automated ONIX feeds.
Stop the goose-chase: if there’s an issue with any of your data, you’ll know precisely where it is stored for all divisions and regions and how to rectify it – in Biblio!
Store source files and conversion files for all products (including e-books and audiobooks) in a single system and save on storage space across your organization by up to 75%
De-duplicate the storage of both metadata and assets by enabling teams to access this information from a single, central repository – where it need only be saved once.
Reduce the time spent looking for contractual and financial information for a product by 80-90%.
Access & Data-Sharing
Provide company-wide access to your rights information and metadata to all your staff (regardless of whether they are working from home or at the office), as well as permitted third parties including business partners, authors and agents.
Maintain complete control over your rights and royalties data through Biblio’s tracking, versioning, permissions, and time-limited access for third parties.
Share your rights and royalties information in a number of ways, from downloading it and sending it via email, sharing through FTP servers, providing a direct URL, or via BiblioDAM itself.
Use Biblio as the mechanism via which rights are shared between your publishing house and third parties; thereby increasing the security of your information and metadata.
Improve your organization’s overall service to its authors by keeping them informed as standard.
Back-up your organization’s rights data on your choice of clouds (according to your individual requirements), enhancing the security of your IP.
Set up divisional securities, triggers and data/asset management.
Share your rights (or assets) with external representatives through permissions and control access using password-protection and/or watermarking.
Estimate, forecast, model and maintain complex rights and pricing information for all product types, over multiple years, to make better, more informed decisions on future business decisions – based on real data from your former products.
Easily track submissions of interest, allowing your Rights and Sales teams to record and report on licensee interests and submissions.
Generate reports that provide an accurate overview of the rights available for Book Fairs – including basic information about each product, the cover image and all relevant URLs for associated assets (from watermarked PDFs to videoclips, and activity sheets for educational titles) so that your teams have this information to hand and can send it out to prospective clients, as and when required.
Speedily compile reports on groups of titles, as required – gaining insights for future business decisions and facilitate your Sales team’s selection process, freeing up their time to concentrate on selling.
Streamline the tracking and chasing of rights and royalties payments with automated notifications and emails.
Set alerts and reminders to renew or revert and resell expiring rights.
Hold and report on detailed permissions data along with associated titles, files and assets.
Easily see what rights you hold, what has sold and what is still available; drilling into contracts, markets, interest and usage to identify new sales opportunities.
Effortlessly upload submissions in batches with Biblio’s spreadsheet uploader, following a Book Fair or Sales Conference.
Generate rights catalogs automatically.
Store products and levels of interest against contact details to facilitate future sales opportunities.
Organize potential customers by area of interest and create bespoke bundles of relevant products and content.
Share preview titles and files with customers and allow them to browse, request and download securely.
Integrated Digital Asset Management (DAM)
Digitally store contracts and content against contracts, subright deal records and permissions in Biblio.
Group content into bespoke bundles and allow customers to browse, request and download them safely and securely.
Streamline the delivery of your royalty statements with Virtusales' secure, online Royalty Portal.
View assets alongside rich metadata held in Biblio without the need to re-key or feed metadata into your DAM system, (as is required by traditional DAM systems).
Control and/or lock access to your files with asset statuses; with the option to revert back to any previous version at the click of a mouse.
Allow external parties to browse selected assets in a read-only format. Access can be time-limited, aiding Sales, Publicity and Rights teams who can provide greater visibility of assets to strengthen sales opportunities, without compromising the security of the IP.
Handle complex royalty calculations and payments for all formats of products and types of content.
Fully support head contracts, subright contracts and sublicensed subright deals.
Process the most complex royalty calculations and deliver a full period-end royalty run in record time.
Handle joint accounting for multiple titles to multi-currency advances and deduction tracking.
Manage complex rules such as combining products and rules for sales escalation.
Calculate retentions and refunds, offset earnings against advances or to other titles and payees, and automate handling of returns.
Complete ad hoc royalty runs and create statement packs on-demand.
View accrued earnings based on the very latest information, showing the effect of contractual changes immediately.
Show earnings grouped by customer, manage newly published titles in the current period and titles being suppressed from the printable files due to sales inactivity.
Generate draft statements to begin reconciliation of a period-end early in order to minimize workload bottlenecks.
Aggregate and view sales data, importing daily sales feeds from multiple, disparate sources to view aggregated, real-time sales data; automatically converting multiple currencies; and drilling into royalty calculations to view and edit sales data.
Share information with stakeholders and benefit from a range of pre-configured reports as well as allowing users to build their own.
Schedule reports to run automatically and be delivered to both email addresses and external systems.
Produce a duplicate pack for a third party and pay a percentage of the earnings, if required.
Use Virtusales’ Royalty Portal to securely share royalty statements with authors and agents online and:
Automate email notification of newly-available royalty statements
Reduce costs in delivering printed statements
Gain an onscreen preview of statements
Enable third parties to download statement packs or individual statements in PDF format
Provide a search facility for statements
Demand better rights, now!
Give your rights and royalties the attention they deserve and, in doing so, free up your Rights team to focus on the most important aspect of their role: obtaining and selling rights! By enabling digital workflows within your organization, you’ll be increasing the efficiency and productivity of your Rights team exponentially, enabling a focus on sales which will help to boost your business for future ventures, and bettering your customer service for business partners, authors and agents alike. We assure you, the results will be worth shouting about!