Kerry Mand - CFO for Musa Publishing - Behind the Scenes
Kerry Mand is the CFO for Musa Publishing and works behind the scenes handling the accounting needs of the company. Thank you, Kerry, for taking time from you busy schedule to answer the questions directed you way to help us better understand how the road to royalty payments works.
Kerry, what is your background in the business world? Were you in publishing before Musa Publishing?
My husband and I owned small businesses that I did the book keeping work for. Before Musa, I was brought in to help with another publisher, when that owner was having some medical issues and had stopped paying her authors and staff. Witnessing that treatment drives me to make sure our authors and staff always are paid on time (or early), in full and know where every sale is from.
How did Musa come up with the decision to set pricing based around word count on books?
When the four owners of Musa started talking about eBook pricing, each of us said "there is no reason at all an eBook has to cost so much!". And our discussion of price based on length was born.
Musa pays monthly royalties while most publishers pay quarterly. Why did Musa decide to pay out author royalties monthly?
This was mostly my push. I see no reason that authors or staff needs to wait so long to be paid for their book sales. Waiting on the third party vendors to pay Musa, so we can pay the authors and staff, is out of my control...but once that payment is in our account, it's out to the authors and staff within 2 weeks. That's not Musa's money...and I'd just assume it goes to the people it belongs to rather than sitting around for months.
Can you explain how the royalty payments from 3rd party retail sites works? Are there monthly payments involved too?
While this seems like the "hard" to understand part, once you are in the mix, it becomes easier to understand. Amazon and Barnes & Noble pay monthly, commencing 60 days after a book releases. The other third party vendors we work with (ARe, Bookstand, Overdrive and Smashwords) pay Musa on a quarterly basis...but it takes about 2 months for those payments to be made to Musa. For instance, the 4th quarter 2013 sales will be paid out in February 2014 and March 2014 (two of the vendors pay in less than 60 days, the other two pay right at 60 days, and Musa pays out the next pay cycle). At that same time, we have other vendors, as well as our own site sales, that pay out monthly. I include a memo on checks and PayPal to reference which Vendors and months the authors and staff are being paid for. And I'm always happy to explain, or confuse, further, if needed!
What is the most important thing an author can do to assure their royalty statements are correct, or is that possible?
I think it is imperative that every author and staff of Musa knows exactly what they are being paid for every month. Thankfully we have the most amazing Database system that has made the entire royalties system extremely easy to understand. The most important thing an author needs to do if they are unsure, is to ask questions until they understand. Don't take "I'm not sure" for an answer. It's their book sales and their money - not the publishers!
Musa Publishing recently changed their office headquarters from Ohio to Colorado and filled papers of incorporation. What is the advantage of incorporating?
Musa is changing from a General Partnership with four owners to an LLC with 5 partners. That means we have brought on another member of our immediate "family" - Jeanne DeVita, to continue to run Musa as it has been.
We will switch our business address on our contracts to Colorado, and our taxes will be prepared based on Colorado law. It does mean we will be collecting sales tax on all Colorado sales made on our website rather than Ohio sales tax. We were looking out for Musa as a whole when incorporating, but there won't be a day to day difference to Musa.
Is there anything else you can share with us that authors should know?
Musa was born to stand apart from other ePublishers. I hope that each author and staff member we have encountered has felt that we really do care and try to do our very best, as a company, and as individuals.
For more information on books, or to check submission needs and requirements for Musa Publishing check out their website. http://musapublishing.com
Columnist Lizzie T. Leaf: Award winning author, Lizzie T. Leaf enjoys writing Paranormal/Fantasy with a twist of humor and heat. Her Magical Love series is available in print and eBook at Passion in Print and other sellers. Beyond Magic, the first book in the series won the 2012 AOE Best Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-Fi. The DEAD series is available through Musa Publishing where she also has two Christmas novellas, the Contemporary Fantasy, Forget the Mistletoe and Making Christmas, the LRC Best Historical winner and the 2012 Aspen Gold Best Novella winner. Re-releasing June 2013, two expanded Erotic Contemporaries, Barely Legal and Educating Amber.