Royalty and title management software for literary agencies

Sun, 6 Apr 2014

Software systems designed to track the licensing of literary copyrights and payment of royalties are a relatively recent phenomenon, although they first appeared before cloud computing was widely adopted. As with any software that has very specialized applications and a narrow potential market, the buyer or subscriber must be concerned about how quickly the product might become obsolete, as well as its cost and ease of use.

Rich Shivener explained the purpose and requirements of royalty and rights management software in a 2012 article for Publishers Weekly.

software solutionThe current market for royalty and title management software isn’t really large enough to make it worthwhile for a vendor to invest in the development of an inexpensive software product or service designed specifically for literary agents. However, if a software company wanted to design cloud-based rights and royalty management software to which self-published authors could afford to subscribe, then the customer base might be enlarged sufficiently to sustain its production. Just a thought.

Following is a list of royalty and title management software vendors. Not all of them offer software designed specifically for literary agencies, and some might not even be adaptable. Most are built for publishers. Some of these companies will have exhibits at the London Book Fair this week.

Literary rights & royalty management software


Backbeat Solutions


Bradbury Phillips International


Dependable Solutions
El Segundo, CA, USA

Barcelona | London

Haywards Heath, SXW, UK | Schiphol-Rijk, Netherlands | Woodcliff Lake, NJ, USA

New York

Beirut | Burlington, MA, USA | New York

FilmTrack’s Jaguar Consulting’s System 7
Pasadena and Studio City, CA, USA

IBS Bookmaster
Solna, Sweden | Breda, Netherlands

IPRO Business Systems

Kensai International’s Easy Royalties
Malverne, NY, USA

Amsterdam | Berlin | Munich | No. London | Paris | Parsippany, NJ, USA

Kiel, SH, Germany

Media Services Group
Houston | London | Los Angeles | Phoenix | Seattle | Stamford, CT, USA

MetaComet Systems
South Hadley, MA, USA

Boston | Cape Town | Fleet, HPH, UK | London | St. Peter Port, Channel Islands | Wrocław, Poland

Oracle Media and Entertainment

Publishers’ Assistant
Jericho, VT, USA

Publishing Technology
Oxford, OX, UK

REAL Software Systems
Boston | London | Los Angeles

Rights Management Systems
West Byfleet, SRY, UK

London | New York | San Diego

Austin, TX, USA

RSG Media
Gurgaon, HR, India | New York

SAP for Media


Simplified Systems
Riverside, CA, USA


That’s Rights! Agents

Trilogy North America
Raleigh, NC, USA

United ERP
Fort Lee, NJ, USA

Virtusales’ BiblioRoyalties
Brighton & Hove, BN, UK | New York

I’ll try to keep this list updated as new products and services appear. Let me know if you’re aware of a company I’ve overlooked or if I’ve included one that’s completely unsuitable for literary agencies.

Dusting off the popular list of book reviewers

Tue, 1 Apr 2014

The month of March was a slog, weather-wise, which motivated me to take care of boring chores like fixing the broken links on my list of Book reviewers on the Web. It and a few other posts on this old blog get lots of page views. I imagine readers nagging me to update periodically.

One visitor mentioned that my book reviewers list was confusing or disorganized, so to improve navigation I’ve added a table of contents linking directly to each section, or type, of reviewers. If you use the Book reviewers on the Web list often, please let me know how I might make it more user-friendly.

Book reviewers on the web
As penance for channeling so many pitches to the reviewers on my list, let me urge anyone who’s planning to ask for a book to be reviewed to study each review outlet’s guidelines before submitting. Ignorance is no excuse for spam.

For anyone who’s never written a pitch to a media outlet, Rick Frishman gives excellent, clear directions in Advanced Review Copies of A Book Being Published at the book marketing blog Beneath the Cover.

Lastly, for those who aren’t do-it-yourselfers, I offer a long and random list of publicists who can be hired to do the work.

Work and life; or, you can’t have it all

Sun, 23 Mar 2014

Lately I’ve sort of been kicking myself for not enjoying life more, or for working too hard, except that I actually like to work. Even during the years when I hated my toxic work environment enough to fax my résumé to the State Department in the vain hope I would be sent to help investigate the Rwandan genocide, I still enjoyed my work. I can lose myself and endless hours in the job.

treated and releasedI reached adulthood during a deep economic recession in the U.S., which might have been my good fortune, because I failed to notice that times were hard. I had no past affluence to compare to the present. My furniture made of crates, which were wooden back then, seemed cool, or at least perfectly acceptable. As the economy improved, so did my employment options and my home furnishings. Probably I assumed that upward mobility was a natural progression. I don’t recall worrying about it much, but maybe I was focused entirely on living day to day.

Today, many intelligent and talented young people seem frantic about their job prospects, particularly if their vocations can’t support them. On one hand, I empathize, because I remember how it feels to be stuck. On the other hand, I’m old-school enough to think work isn’t supposed to be easy or even fun. Everyone endeavors to find the ideal ratio of torture to wages. Sarah Kessler’s article “Pixel & Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in the Gig Economy” is a frank case in point of the current competitive job market for freelancers.

There’s no magical way to eliminate work/life tension. The best we can do is compromise—and carry on.

Distance yourself from the chronically unhappy

Sun, 9 Mar 2014

These words are printed on a yellow card in a rather large stack of prompts devoted to the topic of happiness:

“When it’s possible, distance yourself from people who are chronically unhappy.”

The little yellow memos are designed as painless conversation starters. The thing is, my friends and I are inveterate talkers. We never lack things to discuss, so the cards remain unused.

This particular prompt stays visible on top of the stack in one of my bookcases, though, because it reinforces something I’ve been taught to do, although doing it always makes me feel guilty. I need the reminder.

Chronically unhappy people need for others to share their misery, so they instinctively try to eradicate happiness wherever they encounter it. Happiness makes them uncomfortable. To them, joy seems illicit, or at least unearned. If you’re a person who experiences much empathy, then when you’re around a chronically unhappy person, you’ll feel compelled to conceal your happiness. Suppressing a more upbeat nature is not fun, but you might experience temporary satisfaction if you believe you’ve been supportive or helpful—until you realize you haven’t been.

Eventually, if you don’t protect yourself, despair can be contagious. Distancing yourself affords protection, but it can seem an awful lot like accepting defeat. Remember, it’s OK to take care of yourself, too.

Eternal sunshine isn’t the objective. Being able to feel a full range of emotions, including joy, is the idea. Isn’t it a pretty one?

Plutchik wheel

Image of Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions via Wikimedia Commons

Reaching up just to touch the bottom: Crumbs

Mon, 24 Feb 2014

Today, Glasgow publisher Freight Books brings out the new English-language edition of Miha Mazzini’s Crumbs.

Titled The Cartier Project when the novel was first published in English translation a decade ago, it’s the darkly comic story of an ambitious young writer stuck in a dismal factory town and his attempts to stay one step ahead of hopelessness and corruption by relying on charisma and status symbols. Among his crowd of hard-drinking friends, he manages the illusion with varying degrees of success. Mostly, he devotes his time to sexual conquests, in real life and on the pages of his pseudonymous erotic fiction.

Although Crumbs is set in a deteriorating Yugoslavia in the years before Slovenia obtained its independence, the story resonates with publisher Adrian Searle, who sees it as “an utterly unique commentary on the pathology of self-determination.” He believes the book will have immediate relevance for readers in Scotland, as the country anticipates a 2014 referendum on its independence from the UK.

CRUMBS by Miha MazziniBBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth interviewed the book’s author, Miha Mazzini, for her broadcast the Culture Studio, which also covers music. You can listen online to a free podcast of the program, in which Mazzini looks back on and attempts to explain the popularity his bestselling novel has enjoyed. The starting point for the 15-minute segment in which Forsyth and Mazzini discuss Crumbs is 1:03:00.

Freight also produced a 10-minute video of the author describing the organically punk style of his novel and the need for satire during a period when society is falling apart and materialism becomes everyone’s driving motivation.

A professional editor’s hourly rate

Wed, 19 Feb 2014

On his blog, An American Editor, Rich Adin, the owner of Freelance Editorial Services, first puts the matter of earnings into perspective with an array of statistics related to the cost of living in various parts of the United States. Then he argues that a freelance editor in the U.S. can’t stay in business in 2014 by charging only $10 an hour, and he goes on to calculate for his blog’s readers the costs of an editor’s minimal living and business expenses, concluding:

The $10/hour wage has multiple effects in addition to not being a “living” wage. The more often editors say they will work for that amount, the more difficult it is to rise from it. If a goodly number of editors are willing to work for that price, then the market price is being set.

critiqueAdin’s post teaches a crucial lesson. In fact, if you’re a freelance editor, you should hang it on your wall.

Adin realizes there are hordes of people willing to perform editorial work for only $10 an hour in a competitive market that puts a hellish amount of torque on talented and experienced freelance editors. I think we all realize the free market has come to be revered in an almost spiritual way that somehow prevents many consumers, customers, clients—whatever you want to term those who hire editors and other freelancers—from admitting to themselves that they’re doing business directly with other human beings.

Thank heavens not everyone is so willing to take every last, little economic advantage, ethical or otherwise, to get ahead. Today, someone said to me, “Because I don’t like to work for free, I don’t like to ask people to work for free.” Right. Wow. Someone who has internalized the Golden Rule. Such people still exist. Thank you.

Actually, I work on commission, not for free, but my labor does look like some sort of magical chaos that occasionally has no value to anyone. I get that. Part of what I do involves editing, and I’m good at it. All of what I do involves being meticulously organized, and I’m good at that, too. Like Adin, I know the dollar value of my work and can shift instantly into militant mode when people don’t recognize it.

But, seriously, none of us should ever allow ourselves to forget, when we’re doing business, that it involves other human beings, their livelihoods, and their dignity.

When freelancers find themselves miserable working for clients who don’t pay well, I always tell them to get rid of those clients, so they can free up hours to work for clients who do pay well. It takes a great deal of self-confidence to trust that the logic will work, but it does.

Which litmags are you reading for entertainment?

Fri, 24 Jan 2014

If you’re a creative writer, literary magazines might interest you for reasons that differ from the motives of a person who reads them simply for pleasure and entertainment. I look at litmags from several angles and pay attention to the new as often as the long established.

three magazines
Rarely do new literary publications launch with instant, magnetic reader appeal. A new clothing retailer, restaurant, or movie is expected to focus marketing and advertising efforts to attract business. Even churches advertise in order to bring in new congregation members. Literary magazines seem relegated to a category of enterprises, such as law offices, physicians’ practices, and nannies, that are expected to do thriving business on word of mouth alone.

three magazines
I’m curious. Do you subscribe to or regularly read, either in print or online, a literary publication that you enjoy a lot? How did you first encounter it? Please elaborate in the comments, if you will. I’d love to know some other readers’ perspectives.

The well-established litmags pictured above:
SmokeLong Quarterly
Poetry Northwest
Gulf Coast
Natural Bridge

Publishing the work of currently and formerly incarcerated writers

Sun, 12 Jan 2014

Writers who are prison inmates seem particularly isolated from potential mentors and writing peer groups. Very few publishers specialize in their stories. Writing workshops for inmates offer education and inspiration, but the participants are bound to have a difficult time finding additional outlets for their creative work.

These are a few of the organizations that provide publication resources to, or publish the work of, currently and formerly incarcerated writers. Maybe prison workshop instructors will share this list or consider founding a new publication.

I’ll add to this list when I notice more in this niche. Please feel free to leave a comment about any publication I’ve overlooked.

Successful writers learn to conduct their own research and manage their careers, while novice writers often miss the practical lessons and remain stymied. Joining a good writers’ group is one of the best ways to get answers and advice about how to be published.

%d bloggers like this: