Music publishing

Edited: December 14, 2022, 4:33 PM · I am looking into self publishing my editions of 4 violin concertos (Bruch g, Mendelssohn e, Lalo Symphony Espagnol, Saint Saens #3.) I am asking for some advice on this.

1. I expect that spiral bound is best? Since it lays flat on the music stand.
2. I gather that the standard music publishing format is 9.5x12.5 inches, buff or cream color, 70 lb. paper?
3. There are 3 different versions. One edited, one Urtext, and one piano reduction. Would it be best to have 3 different versions, or combine the edited and Urtext in one volume?
4. All of these I notated on Finale. The cover of each would be in color, to catch the eye.

I would not necessarily expect to sell a large amount, but the bowings and fingerings are "in the Galamian tradition." What do you think would be a fair price for this? Thanks, Bruce

Replies (13)

Edited: December 14, 2022, 8:12 PM · I assume that there are no copyright issues with these concerti. That said, here are my thoughts on your particular questions:

1. That sounds reasonable.
2. I have no idea.
3. I like combined Urtext/edited editions so I can easily see what the edits are.
4. No opinion.

One question to consider is whether your editions will be available to download by folks who use electronic sheet music. Good luck!

December 14, 2022, 9:53 PM · 2. I like my music printed on white paper. Higher contrast is easier to read.
If I'm right about what it is, 70 lb. paper is very expensive and very heavy. When I print my music (for my own use) 28 lb is plenty good for me and I usually use 20 lb, even printed on both sides.

Actually all paper has gotten expensive in recent years.

December 15, 2022, 6:37 AM · Spiral is probably best, although there are alternatives such as coptic binding.

Have you considered selling it as print on demand? That way the customer could choose the printing option that suits them?

December 15, 2022, 7:55 AM · Please make sure that the print size is big. Old folks like me need the bigger size to see.
December 15, 2022, 8:22 AM · @Marty - Amen!
Edited: December 16, 2022, 2:57 PM · Black notes on ivory/cream colored paper and large print size are easiest on the eyes.
December 16, 2022, 2:14 PM · In Europe the standard A4 paper (similar to U.S. "letter" paper) is annoyingly small when read on a shared stand. Most published orchestral parts are nearer to B4.

Scanners and photo copiers (only used to avoid page-turns, of course!) accentuate the "ghosts" of the other side of the page; paper must be really opaque.

December 16, 2022, 2:45 PM · I like ivory/cream colored paper, like Henle and Barenreiter use. High quality, pencil goes on easily and erases easily.

Slightly larger print with more space between systems to write in fingerings, dynamics, etc.

I love spiral bound music books, wish more of the larger ones would come that way!

December 23, 2022, 4:24 PM · Hmm. Spiral-bound books are sort of floppy, and then the little holes begin to tear.
December 23, 2022, 4:49 PM · No idea about price, but wish you good luck with your idea.

Why not put them on Amazon in kindle format, saves publishing costs, and let people download and print them themselves.

December 23, 2022, 9:31 PM · You want to make a nice edition, I agree that making it as much like Henle or Barenreiter is probably a good strategy.

Spiral bound is fine. Plastic combs -- no. But there is something in between called a steel coil. That is what I use for the "editions" that I have printed at a local print shop. The latest was a Fanny Hensel trio that I had printed, covered, and bound -- one violin part, one cello part, and one piano score, all for $15.

I agree with your choice to use heavy paper. I don't know what the big publishers use, but I disagree with Andrew about using 20 or 28 because those are too thin and notes and markings will show through.

The question you really have to ask yourself is whether your objective is legacy or profit. If you make a really high-quality, well-produced edition that is inexpensive, your editions might actually become popular among students and -- more importantly -- teachers. If you want to make a profit, then the calculus is a little different. You want to optimize price against materials, shipping, and overhead costs -- including marketing. What's your angle? What makes your editions stand out? I recommend against "Galamian tradition" as a sales point because anyone who wants editions in the Galamian tradition will just get Galamian editions!

December 24, 2022, 1:56 PM · You can set up print-on-demand using Lulu:

Ten years ago I set up a spiral bound version of the solo Bach for my students to use on another print-on-demand service, The Book Patch. It had the public domain urtext in the front and the scan of the original manuscript after. The service made it very easy, and even today it's still only $10 to print a copy:

December 25, 2022, 11:01 AM · Thank you all for your advice. @Paul: the "in the Galamian tradition" I was wondering about myself, if it was too tacky. Any opinions? BTW Galamian did not publish editions of any of the 4 works.

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