As an entrepreneur and small publisher you need many skills. In fact you have to play the all-rounder. From deal brokering techniques, via editing skills to spreadsheet expertise – you should be perfect and move with ease. Ideally.
It’s the art of spreadsheeting that causes lady-like perspiration. Now, don’t get me wrong. I pride myself in my own competence. After all, I operate an impressive monthly spreadsheet where I record in detail Peirene’s outgoings and earnings.
However, once a year around this time, I reach my limits. The royalty statements are due to foreign publishers, agents and the Peirene authors. Three spreadsheets have to be amalgamated – from our book distributor, ebook distributor and my own spreadsheet with the subscription, stall and website sales. And that’s not all. They then have to be divided by individual titles. Frankly, when I set up Peirene, I didn’t reckon with this. And once a year I shed bitter tears of frustration.
Luckily I have a spreadsheet superman living with me. My husband. He loves them. And I love him when he helps me with the Peirene royalty statements.
But this year there will soon be even more love in the air. Authors will be delighted this week when they receive our statements. Payments are coming their way. We’ve done well last year. In fact the spreadsheet shows that each year we are doing a little better. Our brand is working its magic. The Nymph is a rising star.
‘Thank you.’ Peirene smiles at me. ‘I guess that means a pay rise for me. A rising star can’t dress in last year’s fashion.’
I pause before answering. I don’t like to disappoint. But I have to. ‘Paying out royalties makes the authors happy. However, we will experience a temporary cash flow issue.’
The Nymph pulls a face.
‘Anyway,’ I continue, trying to cheer her up. ‘Judging by the snow and ice outside, spring will be late this year. So no need to rush to buy a summery wardrobe.’ The Nymph leaves the office muttering that small publishers who can’t manage spreadsheets shouldn’t even try to deliver weather forecasts.