STATUS: Yesterday Angie and I were reviewing one client’s statement and to sum it up. What a hot mess.
What’s playing on the iPod or the XM radio right now? SWAY by Dean Martin
Love of royalty statements.
Yep, it’s that time of year again. April and October are NLA’s biggest royalty periods which means that the month of May and November are consumed by hours reviewing those statements.
So, in an effort to empower authors about their statements (because I promise you that a lot of agents don’t spend nearly the time they should on reviewing them), here’s another tidbit to file away in your knowledge bank.
If your publisher holds World rights and is selling your titles abroad, it’s important to track where the projects are sold to and when they will be released.
Why? Because if you don’t know that info, how do you know when the monies are supposed to appear on your royalty statements? Also, do you have a copy of the licensing agreement and the latest foreign royalty statement from the territory in question?
Most agents insert a clause in the contract allowing the author to receive such info—usually upon request. Without it, it’s impossible to review a statement for accuracy. What? You gonna just take the Publisher’s word for it?
Considering the number of errors we see in EVERY royalty period, that’s a lot to take on faith.
And there’s another facet to this. If Publisher has World, did they sell UK rights to separate publisher or was it done by a sister house in England? If a sister house, then UK royalties are specified in the US contract and should show on the US statement.
You don’t want to know how many times this information has just been plain missing from the statement or just wrong.
Knowledge is power and as an author, you have a right to a copy of those licensing agreements so ask for them. I would say that in the last several years, NLA has recovered well over $100,000 in missing royalties—money clients would never have received if we hadn’t pestered Publishers about info missing from the statements. In fact just last week, a client got $8000 because we argued that the wrong royalty rate was being used to calculate certain sales listed on the statement. And per the contract, we were right and they paid up. But if we hadn’t pointed it out…
Well, that’s a lot of money to leave on the table.