Publish or Perish

August 20, 2007 at 10:14 PM · Any one got any advice on how to get music published?

Replies (3)

August 21, 2007 at 03:46 PM · I've been thinking of doing the same with some arrangements I'm working on...

What I've been told to consider is ...

a) Since I'm still an undergraduate, try to do it as a co-publish/collaboration with my mentor that I was working with, who has her doctorate.

b) See what kind of audience you're going for, what level of players...a publisher will probably want you to consider the levels of difficulty (which you can find descriptions from groups like ASTA, American String Teacher's Association).

c) See what's coming out from the publisher...make sure they don't have like 5 things similar to what you're doing coming out, because then they'll probably not be interested. It should also be a publisher that would be interested in general.

I'd also check with some trusted friends/professors that do arranging/composing, and maybe have had things published.

September 5, 2007 at 04:09 PM · My own experience was to email about 130 music publishers, only three or four responded and as far as I can tell none of them listened to what I wrote,

so this is clearly not the way to do it.

Professional composers who I have asked say that the thing to do is to get compositions performed first and then think about publishing.

September 8, 2007 at 04:54 PM · Why not self-publish?

I self-publish on the Web, 236 arrangements (mainly for string quartet) with more coming all the time:

I have used both Finale and Sibelius to "typeset" my music. I used to use Finale full-time, but marketing the music was more difficult for me on the Web using Finale. I needed to secure my own banking, and had no security for how many prints could be made on-line, OR, I would have to print and mail all scores and parts, which can be time consuming, and interrupt one's schedule.

The main reason I switched to Sibelius was the fact that Sibelius had an on-line store with on-line payment set up, the control of how many prints to make, security to keep the notated music safe (at least from on-line multiple copies--no one can protect from a buyer who goes to the xerox machine later with his single copy to run off set after set). They take care of all the financial arrangements, and at the end of each quasrter I get a check for my royalties (50% of sales price after any VAT has been removed by the UK Gov't [up to 17%, but only for sales in the E.U.], the rest of the world doesn't pay taxes). Plus, since the web site is overseas in the UK, and I receive royalty income from the sales, not sales income, THAT, according to the lovely people at the California State Board of Equalization (sales tax people) means no collection by me or payment from me of sales tax is due, as I do not administer the overseas site, and do not directly sell the music myself, but only receive royalties from the sales (which royalty checks ARE taxable by the California Franchize Tax Board and by the IRS an income).

It took my about a year and a half before my first $33 royalty check. Then about 6-9 months for the next one. Now 7-1/2 years later, I get a check edging into 4 figures each quarter. Obviously I could never live on that, but it pays for meals out in a nice restaurant for myself and my wife on a weekly basis.

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