How to create a publication

Before you begin to use QuickFill, you must tailor it to your own needs. That means you must go through each of the definitions and fill out the "screen forms" described in the definitions' help files.

To make it easier for you to begin, we've provided you with a "mini version" of "Definitions" in this section. If you work through the checklist we present here, you'll have "defined" enough features to get started.

Think of this "quick start" section as a guided tour through an unfamiliar city. The tour guide will point out the highlights, but to get a real feel for the city, you'll have to take guidebook in hand and explore the terrain on your own.

In this section, we describe the basic steps you must take to set up QuickFill for use with one of your own publications. You'll see how to create a publication. We'll also show you how to modify or create these other sample components:

When you've checked off all the items on the list below, you'll be able to enter orders and renewals into QuickFill, record payments, and so on. Completing the checklist, however, is not a substitute for reading the help files for each of the definitions.

To get the most out of QuickFill, you should set aside some time to go over the definitions help files carefully. We strongly recommend you do that before you've entered too many orders. Just reading the help files will give you a good idea of what you can do with QuickFill. Then you can set it up to work exactly as you like. (And, having completed the checklist below, you'll already have a good head start.)

Now, let's go through the steps you should take to get up and running. Because this is only a guided tour, we don't explain each option in detail the way we do in the definitions help files.

You use the 'Companies' definition screen to define the company—or companies—that owns your publications. One company wholly owns a single publication. But a single company can own many publications.

Change the company code "SAMPLE" to whatever code you want to use to identify your company. (The code can contain only letters and numbers, not other characters, such as dashes.)

Enter your company name, address, and telephone number.

QuickFill can produce standard bills and renewal notices with or without your company name and address. This means that you can have your company information preprinted on your computer forms. With that information in mind:

Decide whether or not you want to change the "Print company name on bills" and "Print company name on renewals" fields.

Enter the accounting method you use (cash or accrual).

If you want your company's federal tax ID number printed on your bills and renewal notices preceded by the phrase "Federal tax ID," enter that number in the 'Federal tax ID number' field. If you leave the field blank, QuickFill won't print the phrase.

Enter your accounting year, accounting period, and select an output format and enter a field separator for the journal extract file. You can also choose to have QuickFill automatically create general ledger accounts.

If you have established an account with Vantiv Integrated Payments (formerly Element Payment Services) for online processing of credit card payments, enter the account identifying information.

Finally, enter the list of credit cards that you accept. Your entry here will be printed on bills and renewal notices.

Click "OK" to save your changes and then leave this screen.

Click here for a detailed description of the 'Companies' screen.

 

You use the 'Preferences' screen to specify options that apply to all your publications. (Remember: you can use QuickFill for multiple publications and multiple companies.) For example, on this screen you choose how you want to display dates.

Click here for a detailed description of the 'Preferences' screen.

Set "Company name for batch reports" field on the 'Batch reports' tab to your company name.

Leave the other entries unchanged for now. Click "OK" to save your changes and then leave the 'Preferences' screen. Once you've gone through the definitions help files, you may want to make additional changes on the 'Preferences' screen.

 

If you have already defined a publication(s), you can create a new publication by replicating an existing one. If you have not already defined a publication or if your publication is completely different from an existing publication, you can click "New" to start from scratch. When you create a new publication from scratch, the billing and renewal tabs mentioned below do not appear. QuickFill automatically links the new publication to the "STD" billing series (or, if there is no "STD" billing series, the new publication will automatically be linked to the first billing series listed on the "Billing series" screen) and creates a new "STD" renewal series. After the new publication has been created, you can go back and create a new billing series and/or edit the renewal series created for the publication.

 

The publication definition has five tabs (six if you are using the audit system). Use Ctrl+Right (arrow key) and Ctrl+Left (arrow key) to move from one tab to the other.

 

General tab

Enter in this field the number of issues that you publish in a normal year. QuickFill uses this number when it assigns issue dates to issues you create with the "add to end" option. (Click here for details on defining issues.)

Now carefully review the remaining fields on this tab and change any entries you need to. QuickFill uses your entries in these fields to implement your publication policies. We explain below how to fill in these fields:

If you are ready to begin fulfilling subscriptions to this publication, check this field.

If you are ready to begin entering orders for this publication, check this field.

Check this box if you want the definitions for the publication to be exported to the QuickFill Internet Extensions web server.

Select the publication type that best describes your publication. QuickFill generates different bills for periodicals, books, services, conferences, membership organizations, and online services. A periodical is any publication for which you offer customers a fixed number of issues in a subscription; a book is a one-shot publication; and a service is a publication with a fixed term (one year, for example) but without a fixed number of issues. (Click here for details on the 'Publication type' field in the publication definition.)

QuickFill supports two styles of pricing: unit pricing and stepped pricing. These methods differ only in the way orders for multiple copies are priced. Unless you have many multicopy orders, you will probably find the unit pricing method most satisfactory, so leave this field set to unit pricing.

If this publication isn't subject to sales tax, leave this field blank. If the publication is subject to sales tax, you can create the necessary tax rate table now from within the publication definition general tab. (As a rule, you have to enter rates for only those states where you have business or sales offices.) Place your cursor in the 'Tax rate table' field, right click, and select "New tax table".

How you define the entries in your tax rate table depends on whether or not you will also be using a tax jurisdictions table. If you are only charging sales tax for customers living in states or provinces with a single tax rate and reporting requirements, then you do not need a tax jurisdictions table. In that case, you define the jurisdiction code and sales tax rate for each state or province in the tax rate table.

If you are using a tax jurisdictions table (because you have multiple jurisdictions within states or provinces that have different tax rates or reporting requirements), then you should define the entries in the tax rate table simply as rate codes. For example, the code "A01" might be used for 5% sales tax regardless of the location of jurisdictions charging the 5% rate. (Click here for more details on the tax jurisdictions table.)

You can include the shipping charge in the sales tax computation by clicking once in this field so that a check mark appears in it. If your sales tax is based on the price of the subscription only, then leave this field blank.

In order to conform with legislative changes, for orders shipped to CT, FL, GA, KS, MI, NC, NJ, NM, NY, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX and WI, the sales tax computation is based on the sum of the price and the shipping charge, regardless of whether or not you have selected this field.

 

Click "OK" to save the data you entered, and you'll automatically return to the publication definition general tab.

 

Click here for more details on the publication definition general tab.

 

Billing tab

If you are creating a new publication instead of replicating an existing one, this tab will not be present until after the publication has been created.

You use a billing series to let QuickFill know how you want to bill customers. QuickFill uses the billing series you enter here as the default for all orders—both new and renewal—for this publication. Leave the entry in this field "as is" for now. You'll modify this series to your specifications below.

Say you enter a payment that leaves an order with a balance due that is less than the amount you enter in this field. QuickFill automatically writes this amount off.

By setting this field to have a bigger dollar amount than the previous field, you can define a range of amounts that are big enough to be worth billing for but small enough that you are still willing to attempt to renew.

Do you send missed issues to customers who were canceled for nonpayment, then reinstated when they paid? If you do, enter the maximum number of issues you want to backfill. QuickFill will then produce the required back-issue labels automatically when you run the first 'Issue labels' update after you enter the late payment.

The next three fields determine your publication's default policy for sending first bills for unpaid new orders. These fields are mutually exclusive and are only used if these fields have not been filled out in the definition of the offer to which a subscriber responds. When you make an entry in one, data in the other is blanked out.

Selecting "Send first bill with issue" means that you want to send the first bill for an unpaid new order (not a renewal order) with the initial (that is, first ever) issue. Selecting "Send first bill immediately" means that you want to send the first bill immediately, without waiting for the first issue to be served.

If you choose to send the first bill with the first issue, QuickFill produces the first bill when you run the 'Issue labels' update, not when you run the billing update. QuickFill also automatically sorts the issue labels for those orders receiving these first bills into a separate group (click here for details on the 'Issue labels' update ). You can use the address on the bill with a window envelope.

When you enter a number other than 0 in this field, QuickFill gives you a built-in delay before you mail the first bill. Usually, you select this option if you want to ensure that the customer receives the first issue of a new order before he or she gets the bill. If you specify no delay by entering 0 in this field, QuickFill will produce bills for new orders at any time after you run the 'Issue labels' update that produces the first label.

If you leave this field blank, QuickFill begins billing renewal orders immediately. If you do not want renewal orders to be billed until their first issue has been served, check this field.

If you leave the default, check mark, in this field, QuickFill issues one "cancel bill" to canceled subscribers who have not paid for issues they've received. QuickFill generates this bill for both subscriptions it canceled automatically for nonpayment and subscriptions you canceled with the 'Cancel' transaction. The cancel bill is for an amount equal to the value of the issues you served—less, of course, any partial payments, credits, and so forth. QuickFill will generate a cancel bill only for amounts that are more than the minimum billing amount you entered in the previous field. The billing package and messages you want to use for the cancel bill are also specified on this tab.

If you leave this field blank, QuickFill writes off the unpaid balance automatically whenever a subscription is canceled without generating a cancel bill.

Your entries in these fields are used to control the mailing package and messages QuickFill uses for cancel bills. Fill these fields in even if you do not send cancel bills (that is, your 'Cancel bill' policy field is blank). That way, if you change your 'Cancel bill' policy, the messages will be in place.

Leave the 'Cancel bill package' as CANCEL, until you've had a chance to read the full documentation on billing packages and cancel bills. If you plan to send cancel bills, you'll probably want to modify the messages to suit your own needs. You can do so now by placing the cursor on the message you want to change, right clicking once and selecting "Change message. The 'Messages' definition screen will appear with four 40-character lines. QuickFill prints this four-line message on the cancel bill. You can edit this message, then click "OK" when you're done. QuickFill returns you to the publication definition billing tab. Repeat the process to modify the second message. If you want to use only one message, delete the second by placing your cursor on that message, right clicking once and selecting "Clear."

When a cancel bill is issued the amount due is reduced to a prorated amount based on the number of issues the subscriber received. This reduced amount due is normally written off the next time you run the billing update. If the customer then sends payment, QuickFill automatically reverses this write-off when you enter the payment. If you wish to delay this write-off, so that the reduced amount due continues to appear on the Accounts Receivable report, enter the number of days that must elapse before it is written off.

You can either carry overpayments as credit balances or "automatically" refund them. (If you choose to carry the overpayments as credit balances, QuickFill applies the payments to renewals, or you can refund them individually with the 'Refund' transaction.)

Click once in this field so that a check mark appears in it, and QuickFill automatically refunds any overpayments you receive.

If you are not comfortable issuing "automatic" refunds, leave this field blank. You can then run the 'Credit balance' report to review outstanding credit balances, then handle each one individually.

QuickFill records overpayments less than the amount entered in this field (even if you chose to automatically refund overpayments in the field above) as a credit balance. Running the 'Credit balance' report lets you identify these cases. You can then refund the balance, carry the balance forward, or write it off.

 

Click here for more details on the publication definition billing tab.

 

Renewal tab

If you are creating a new publication instead of replicating an existing one, this tab will not be present until after the publication has been created.

You use a renewal series to let QuickFill know how you want to renew customers. QuickFill uses the renewal series you enter here as the default for all orders—both new and renewal—for this publication. Leave the entry in this field "as is" for now. You'll modify this series to your specifications below.

The default is to not renew unpaid orders. Click once in this field so that a check mark appears in it, and QuickFill will generate renewal notices for orders with unpaid balances (greater than the minimum billing amount) when you run the 'Renewal notices' update. These customers will then be receiving both bills and renewal notices.

Grace issues are issues you send after an order has expired with the hope that the customer will renew. If you send grace issues, then receive a renewal, QuickFill automatically counts the grace issues as part of the renewal order. Enter the number of grace issues you want to send—if any—in this field.

Sometimes you may have some free trial subscriptions or reduced price short-term trials that should not receive any grace issues. If so, then enter the term of the shortest "regular" subscription that is eligible for gracing.

If you send grace issues, then receive a renewal, QuickFill automatically will count the grace issues as part of the renewal order if the number of issues missed since the prior order ended is less than the number you enter here.  If more than this number of issues has been missed the graced issues will be "forgiven" and will not be deducted from the renewal order.  If you always want to deduct the graced issues from the renewal, enter a value of 999. If you never want to deduct the graced issues from the renewal enter a value of 0.

Do you send missed issues to customers who renew late? If you do, enter the maximum number of issues you want to go back. QuickFill then produces the required back-issue labels automatically the first time you run the 'Issue labels' update after you enter the "late" renewal.

 

Click here for more details on the publication definition renewal tab.

 

Shipping tab

This tab contains information regarding shipping charges as well as default shipping codes for your publication.

Normally the foreign country table specifies the default shipping code to be used for subscribers located in each country. The publication definition screen provides a way of overriding those values and specifying a shipping code to be used for all countries in the region.

Any of the 26 letters of the alphabet can be used as a shipping code. Typically you will use 'F' for first class mail, 'A' for airmail, but you can edit the descriptions of each of the shipping codes on this screen.

Your entries in the 'Cost per issue' column controls the amounts that QuickFill charges subscribers for shipping. These values are the per-issue per-copy cost of postage and handling. You specify these amounts in dollars and cents to five decimal places.

The checkboxes in the 'Allowed' column control whether or not a particular shipping code is allowed for this particular publication.

The checkboxes in the 'Presort' column control whether or not the Issue Label update should create output files suitable for postal presort for these shipping classes. Postal presort files are dBase (DBF) or comma delimited text (CSV) files which contain additional data besides the actual mailing address.

The Issue Label update sorts the issue labels into groups based on their characteristics.   Some groups, especially those for back issues can be quite small and there isn't any benefit to performing a postal presort on them.  In this field you specify the smallest label group size that you consider to be worth doing a postal presort on.  Label groups that are smaller than this value will be output as standard printable labels so that you can print them and deal with separately from the main body of the issue labels.

 

Click here for more details on the publication definition shipping tab.

 

Issue labels

QuickFill reserves the first line of all issue labels for the expiration date, order number, or other useful information. You can select up to five items to appear on the first line. The items selected appear from left to right in the order you specify.

This field controls how QuickFill handles orders for multiple copies. Suppose a customer orders five copies to be delivered to the same address. Do you want five labels printed, one for each copy, or do you want a single label sorted into a group that is identified as requiring five copies? Leave this field at its default value of 9999 and QuickFill produces as many labels as there are copies of a subscription.  This simplifies mailing procedures but adds to your postage costs.

Check this box and the labels for premiums will have the same shipping class as was specified when the order was entered.

Normally premiums that are shipped separately from the issues are shipped by the most cost effective method, which is usually not the same as the shipping method used for the issues themselves.  For this reason, the premium labels generated by the issue label update do not specify a shipping class.  In some cases you may have high value orders where the customer specified and paid for expedited shipping and you want the premiums to be sent using the same shipping class as the issues.

QuickFill will sort and group issue labels when you run the 'Issue labels' update according to the definition of the table entered in this field. Say you enter "split table one" in the 'split table' field. QuickFill will separate out subscriptions based on what has been specified on the split table (click here for details on split tables). When you run the 'Issue labels' update, you'll get these labels separately.

If this publication is mailed at periodical class postage rates, enter the periodical class zone table you would like to use in this field. Leave this field blank, if you don't ship periodical class. When you fill in this field, you can produce the zone breakdown you need to file U.S. Postal Form 3541 by running the 'QuickFill label splitter' on your issue label files.

You can create the necessary periodical class zone table now from within the publication definition by placing your cursor in the 'Periodical class zone table' field, right clicking once and selecting "New zone table". Fill in the table, and click "OK" to save your changes. If you're at all familiar with periodical class regulations, you'll have no trouble filling in this table.

If your publication is mailed at periodical class postage rates and you want to take advantage of discounted in-county and intra-SCF postal rates, enter the county table you would like to use in this field. Leave this field blank, if you don't ship periodical class. When you fill in this field, you can produce the county and intra-SCF breakdown you need to file U.S. Postal Form 3541 by running the 'QuickFill label splitter' on your issue label files.

You can create the necessary county table now from within the publication definition by placing your cursor in the 'County and SCF table' field, right clicking once and selecting "New county table". Fill in the table, and click "OK" to save your changes. Once again, if you're at all familiar with periodical class regulations, you'll have no trouble filling in this table.

You may enter a USPS issued Mailer ID here.  The Label Analyzer will display this value (which you can then modify) whenever you are analyzing a label file created by the ‘Issue labels’ update for this publication. The value entered here will take precedence over your entry on the ‘Mail merge’ tab of the “Preferences” definition screen.

 

Click here for more details on the publication definition issue labels tab.

 

Click "OK" to save the changes you've made and to return automatically to the publication selection box. You'll see that the publication you just defined is now listed in the box.

Now it's time to make sure that the publication's billing and renewal series meet your specifications. You can use the existing series (STD) and modify them to better suit your needs, or create new billing and/or renewal series.

If you want to use the existing series, you don't have to do anything. (To see the components of a series, go to the billing or renewal tab of your publication definition, place your cursor in the 'Series code' field, right click once and select "Change…")

If you want to create a new series by replicating an existing one, select 'Billing' under 'Definitions' on the main menu. Then select 'Series' under 'Billing' and click "Replicate" to replicate an existing series. When you're done, click "OK" to save your changes. Now, do the same with the renewal series. (Click here for more information on filling out individual fields on the billing series and renewal series tabs.)

When you're done, select 'Publications' under 'Definitions' on the main menu and return to the publication definition screen. Double click on your publication to change it. Move your cursor to the 'Renewal series' field and right click once. A box pops up listing the available renewal series. Select the series you want. (If there's only one choice in the box, you don't have to move the cursor. Just press Enter.) The pop-up box disappears and the 'Renewal series' field has the correct entry in it. Now repeat these steps to fill in the 'Billing series' field.

Additional steps to take when creating a new publication