Rights and Licensing – 5 essential ‘tidy up’ jobs for the season

For many rights teams, summer is a *slightly* quieter time, with colleagues and clients away and emails and meetings beginning to slow down a little. 

If that’s the case for you, then maybe this summer you can grab the opportunity to catch up on all those things you’ve been meaning to do, but haven’t quite managed to carve out enough time for (in between your own holiday plans of course!). 

Here are our 5 suggestions for productive summer tidy up jobs that you could get on with to help you feel organised and on top of things before the busy Autumn/Fall season ahead – which always seems to come around sooner than you think…

….and the best bit, with RightsZone these good to do jobs are even easier.

5 things to do this summer to make your Rights job easier

1 – Work out if you have received all the royalty statements that you should have

Come on…’eat that frog’ (as the saying goes!) and start with the most horrible job first. The one we know many rights professionals find hard-going.

The first thing to do is make sure you are up to date with recording all the royalty statements that have come in during the first part of the year and that you have billed for, or collected any revenue that might be due.

Don’t forget to record information that has been accounted for titles where the advance has not yet been earned. 

Once you are up to date with recording who has accounted, you should then be able to work out where the gaps are – or who hasn’t accounted royalties.  Once you have a hit list of licensees that haven’t accounted, you can chase them up and remind them of their contractual obligations. 

Hopefully, the missing statements will start to come in so that you can log them and collect any revenue in good time to ensure income is booked and allocated to author royalty statements, before the end of the calendar year.  

Remember you should be receiving statements for every live royalty agreement. Missing statements often equate to missing revenue, so it is well worth investing time in this job (even if it is quite tedious!).  

In RightsZone, not only do we make it easy to log statements from your licensees and work out when revenue is due, we also have reports you can run to identify licensees who have not accounted. Plus, using email templates, you can chase up what’s outstanding in a few clicks.

You’ll be done and hitting the sun lounger with a good book in no time! 🙂

2 – Check whether you have any contracts that are due to expire

Contracts do not last forever.

Review which contracts are due to expire before the end of the year (as well as those that might have expired already) so that you can work out who to contact about renewals.  You can reach out to all those with expiring agreements and ask if they are likely to want to renew their agreement.  If you’ve done job 1 above, you will have a good sense of how your licensees’ sales are going and can use that to inform your renewal negotiations.  

In RightsZone, you can create a list of upcoming agreement expiry dates that displays on your dashboard, to make it easy to see when you need to send out renewal notices (which you can do super efficiently using template emails).

When you’ve negotiated renewal terms, these can be captured on an addenda record (from which you can create an addendum to issue your customer) with any refresher advances or fees being tracked as due revenue. 

Ensuring you are on top of renewals is a quick and easy way to make sure you are maximising your rights revenue. 

Image text says: Ensuring you are on top of renewals is a quick and easy way to make sure you are maximising your rights revenue.

Did you know…? In the Positioned for Growth report from BISG, one of our customers reported an increase of 180% in licence renewals as a result of using RightsZone!

3 – Organise author copies

If you have enough author copies of licensed editions stacked up in the corner of the office to start building a replica of the Great Wall of China,  now is the time to deal with them! 

Getting them packaged up and sent on to authors will not only help create more physical space, but also more mental head space too.

Why not add a note to encourage your authors to share them on their socials and tag you? Not only is it really rewarding to see how much authors value the fact their book being made available to a new market (thanks to your hard work) but it can help send the message to other potential licensees that the book is available to be licensed. 

At the same time, it is worth checking whether all those licensees that should have sent you an author copy by now, have done so.  Start by identifying which books were due to publish in the last few months that you haven’t seen copies for, and chase up the relevant licensees.  For a ‘double win’, you can check if any fees or advances are due on publication at the same time.

We know that licensee’s pub dates are often delayed, so in RightsZone you can set an expected pub date, as well as the actual. This enables you to report on anything that is overdue and follow up accordingly. Again, you can set this up to appear on your homepage to make sure you really stay on top of when you need to take action. 

Any payments due on publication are automatically moved to ‘due’ when the licensee’s edition is published so that 2nd phase payments are never overlooked.

4 – ‘Summer’ (rather than Spring?!) clean your data

Data is only useful if it is up-to-date and accurate. 

Before we hit the Autumn bookfairs, summer is a great time to  have a bit of a tidy up. 

You could start with your contact data:

  • Have you sent a mass mailing recently and had any bounces?
  • Do you know of individuals who are changing jobs?
  • Have you got up-to-date information on your contacts interests? 

Having a clean set of contacts will make your rights marketing much more more effective. Critically, it will help you prepare well for upcoming bookfair meetings. 

Make sure you have up-to-date data on all your forthcoming publications too, and that you’ve updated responses to any submissions.

RightsZone’s list views make it super easy to identify and update missing data. You can even update records in bulk…saving HOURS of data entry! 

If you email via the system, the app identifies any emails that need to be updated and won’t re-send to a bounced address.  There are also really useful profiling fields that help you keep track of exactly what kinds of project your customers are interested in. You can then create mailing lists to send information on forthcoming titles only to contacts whose interests match what you are submitting.  These tools are super handy when you are prepping for book fairs.

Speaking of which…

5 – Get started on your Frankfurt Bookfair Rights Guide

If you haven’t already, now is the time to start organising your Fall/Autumn Rights Guide.  

Get hold of new title reports from colleagues so that you know what is going to publish in the forthcoming season and begin curating the list of titles that you have rights for and will have good appeal to your rights customers. 

Start chasing up jacket images, blurbs, author bios or key metadata like page count if they are missing, so there is time to get these in before you need to finalise your rights guide (and make a back-up plan for any items or information you don’t get in time).  

Create a schedule to make sure you know what you are going to need and when, factoring in time for any colleagues or external partners that you need help from.  

In RightsZone, keeping up with new title and bibliographic data is easy with our REST API which can receive near to real time updates from your title management system, enabling you to easily curate your rights guide title list.  You can create and store your own “rights blurbs” and export these and other relevant data as a .csv file for use with In Design too.

Getting organised this summer

Is your rights management system helping or hindering?

Every little helps and if you can make space for these 5 admin jobs, you’ll really see the benefit both in terms of revenue increases and feeling ready to tackle the busy season ahead.

As you can see, we specifically designed RightsZone to make jobs like this easier and more efficient to do. Take out a subscription and, in return, RightsZone will help you to stay on top of your day-to-day rights, permissions and licensing admin, and give you more time to spend on making the deals and working with the books and publishers that we know you love.

Want to find out more about what RightsZone could offer you and your team?

Using RightsZone but want to make more of its functionality?

Get in touch today by contacting emily@rightszone.co.uk

Header image credit: ©Marta Ortiz from Getty Images Pro via Canva.com