Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Keeping Records--veinglory

My thought for the day is this: keep records.

I have always been bad at this but recently I started to both archive and print out and file sales reports, royalty payment receipts, contracts, extensions and any other important emails and documents. You never know what you might want to write off against taxes, so also keep receipts.

My thinking is firstly that it is important to preserve information and not rely too much on a single computer or email provider. Computers and online service providers--unlike elephants--will suddenly and catastrophically forget things.

Archiving and printing these documents also reminds me of things. Which publisher has the best terms? Which has the best sales? Which pays the most reliably? When are books going to outside distributors and are they selling well there? Are promo efforts resulting in sales upticks?

And finally, even the best epress typically has a hundreds of authors and thousands of books. Eventually mistakes will be made and we should be able to catch at least some of them. For example are the royalty payments consistent with the sales figures? Have expired contracts been properly terminated or renewed?

And finally, nobody expects things to go wrong, but when they do it is important to have proof. When were you last paid, for how many copies, from what source? What was in the contract, what was said in email and by whom?

So my questions is, what records do you keep and how do you keep them safe?


JMS Books LLC said...

I'm very anal about keeping records :)

I have a filing cabinet that I use to keep all my receipts, tax documents, contracts, sales reports, etc.

I keep expenses in an Excel spreadsheet, then print them out every month and file them in the cabinet.

I have another spreadsheet that keeps running tallies of all my books, listing units sold, total price, and my royalties. The spreadsheet has different tabs for each year, and is updated whenever I get a new royalty statement.

I have an external hard drive where I save all my writing files, and I also back them up frequently on CDs. I've lost too much data in the past relying on only the drive in my computer :)

Jules Jones said...

Printouts of all correspondence with publishers, in a filing cabinet.

Regularly emailing WIPs to a Gmail account and my writing partner to make sure there are off-site backups.

Database of my stories and where they've been submitted.

I need to back up onto CD more often, especially as the external hard drive is currently in a shipping container along with the filing cabinet...

Amanda Young said...

I keep contracts and CD backups of all my manuscripts. All important emails are saved in an online filing cabinet. I also use excel to keep a chart on sales for each individual book and backup it up by printing out my royalty statements every month.