If you want to be a full-time, professional songwriter, a great first step is to find a music publisher. Although some songwriters create expensive demos and approach artists and record companies directly, a less expensive and more traditional route is to get your songs published first--then let the publisher do much of your marketing for you.
But what are music publishing basics? How does a songwriter uncover music publishing information? How do you approach song publishing companies and make one or more sales? Here, you'll learn the three basic steps:
1. Create a manuscript a song publishing company is impressed by.
2. Research music publishing companies that will be interested in your work.
3. Submit your work to a music publishing group in a professional manner.
Prepare your song for the sheet music publishing worldYou've got a song in your heart...and in order to get it published, you must get it down on paper. But gone are the days when a handwritten manuscript is acceptable to music publishers. To look like a professional, your music must be notated with a computer program. And if your music notation skills are weak, don't ruin your chances of getting published by submitting a manuscript full of mistakes; it pays to hire a pro to put your song on paper.
Research song publishing informationAfter you have a neat manuscript in hand, you'll need to research appropriate publishing companies. There is no substitute for spending time reading about publishers, studying their websites and following their submission guidelines. Although this may seem time consuming, it will actually save you more time than if you submit to publishers blindly.
Submit your work to music publishersThe number one rule of submission is to always follow the publisher's guidelines exactly. Typically, publishers still want writers to mail them printed copies of their manuscript. A few also accept submissions via email, a few others like to have a simple, straightforward demo tape to listen to, and some are watching for online submission services. Don't try to make your submission stand out with fancy paperwork or gimmicks; the best way to grab a publisher's attention is to write a great song and submit a neat, accurate manuscript.
- A good music publishing company saves you a lot of work by getting your music listed at ASCAP or BMI, making it easy for record companies and artists to find your work. A publisher will also copyright your music, so don't waste your time and money doing these things yourself.