By Daniel Kalder
Ten years ago IT experts Carlos Martínez and Raül Cavaller were asked to develop a program to help a Barcelona literary agency automate its admin tasks and also to manage actions involved in selling rights to their clients’ books, and their dealings with co-agents. Out of this project grew E3 The Rights Manager, a specific but highly customizable piece of software expressly for the use of literary agencies. After honing the program in the Spanish market over the last ten years, they are now launching it internationally.
“During these past ten years we have been working on making E3 The Rights Manager better,” says Martínez. “We have developed the software together with all our clients, they were the ones suggesting what should be added or modified, and new needs have always lead to new features. So, thanks to them we have reached a point where we feel that the E3 can help out literary agencies around the world.”
What, then, are the main advantages? According to Martínez:
“First and foremost, it saves time and gives control over the business. This means that if you use the program, all the admin tasks, and the following up of submissions, contracts, invoices, payments are quite automatic. All the information related to the business is totally organized and tidy, available anytime and anywhere in just a double click. You don’t need to spend time browsing the contract archive paper to know what was stated in that contract, or when was signed or paid. It is a global manager that gives you control over every single aspect related to the business. Also, it is totally adaptable to any literary agency, thanks to its very customizable features. For instance, it is multi-currency, multi-user and multi-language.”
Martínez stresses three key features of the program. First, it simplifies tracking of submissions, and makes possible multiple submissions of a single title with “very few clicks”. Secondly, it helps with contracts — agents can draft your contracts simply by filling in the form, which they then print on their own template in Word format. “You can have as many templates as you wish,” says Martínez, “and all the data will be totally accessible and searchable. Also, you can attach the signed contract in PDF to have it in the very same contract file.” Finally the program also includes a searchable and exportable database containing information about authors, co-agents, titles, publishing houses and editors:
“We believe that having all the information centralized, organized and easy to find helps literary agencies to save time, to have more control on what they do as well as being in total control of all possible mistakes, which leads to improve the performance of the agency. Something quite easy but really helpful is that E3 The Rights Manager sends you notices when a contract is about to expire so a title can be published months in advance. It is a complete and global management of the business, adapted and customized to the needs of every agency.”
Martínez stresses that even after ten years in the marketplace the software is still evolving.
“We are in constant contact with our clients, so we get almost daily feedback and we know what E3 could do better or would need to be able to do as well. We also try to learn about how the industry works and where it is going to be able to add new features for the new needs agencies may have. However, one of our challenges will be to keep that great feedback from our clients now we are going global. Our current clients are all based in Barcelona or Madrid, which makes communication easier. We believe that in order to keep evolving, we need to stay in touch with our clients to know more about their needs and be able to put out software that really solves their problems.”
Currently E3 The Rights Manager can be used on the cloud or based on a local server. There is a fixed fee license depending on the size of the agency. The license covers installation, basic data migration and 4-hours of training. For agencies up to three people, this fee costs €2,000 ($2,700) and for agencies of four people or more, the fee is €4,500 ($6,000). After that, there is a monthly fee that covers support and server that varies according to whether the system is cloud or sever based and on the number of users. For instance, according to Martínez: “If you are a two-people literary agency and you need E3 The Rights Manager local server-based, the costs would be: €2,000 ($2,700) fixed fee, plus €124 ($165) per month.”
While a more efficient means of organizing agency business can undoubtedly save time and reduce agent stress, Martínez claims also that the software will help agents acquire better deals.
“If you have all the information centralized, organized and easy to find, you will make less mistakes and you will have more data — arguments — to negotiate with publishers,” he says, adding, “also, you will be able to send reports to the authors you represent and also to pull out statistics for every author, publisher, language…You will also have more time to spend on opening new business leads, to offer more services to your authors, etc. Having a global management software like E3 can only lead to improve the performance of the agency.”