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#2306639 - 07/24/14 06:02 PM Guidance for Publishing
Dachshund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/11
Posts: 78
Loc: California
Hi Forum,
I've been composing for the past six years or so and I've made it a personal goal of mine to write some music that eventually becomes common repertoire among advanced piano students. I've made an effort to get other young pianists in my community playing my music, but I feel like this will not get me very far in the long run. To begin my compositional journey, I want to try and publish and/or print my music in some sort of a book, whether it be a compilation of other musicians works that includes one of mine, or a thin booklet containing one or two of my pieces. My question for you guys is, how do I even begin trying to do this? Do I just send out recordings and pdf's of my compositions to publishing company after publishing company until I finally get something published? Are there any companies you could recommend that specifically look for contemporary works by modern day composers? Do I need some sort of credentials from a conservatory (because I'm still a high school student), or will they willingly listen to and give my music a chance?

Thank You,
William

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#2306662 - 07/24/14 06:59 PM Re: Guidance for Publishing [Re: Dachshund]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5306
Loc: Europe
www.musica-ferrum.com

It's my publishing house. Quite small at this moment, but also quite promising.

No promises though about your works.

Other companies also accept unsolicited works, as far as I know, but, also as far as I know, getting into a big publishing house like Schott, or Boosey is not only very difficult, but even if you do the company of the other composers might work negatively on the attention you and/or your works will get.

The third option would be to self publish. If you're just talking about presenting your scores in a better way, you will need to research paper, paper size, binding, proof reading and general presentation. There's also digital options. SheetMusicPlus and JWPeppers both offer digital downloads of music scores.

Finally, keep in mind that since you're quite young, that life can be full of obstacles and negativity. It doesn't have to get you down or anything. Composition is one of the fields that takes a lot of time to develop fully, so even if you do nothing right now, you may do in 10 or 20 years and still be fine...
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2306684 - 07/24/14 07:46 PM Re: Guidance for Publishing [Re: Dachshund]
Dachshund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/11
Posts: 78
Loc: California
Thank you for your response. I will keep these things in mind

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#2307112 - 07/25/14 06:32 PM Re: Guidance for Publishing [Re: Dachshund]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2760
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
In the meantime why not post some recordings and scores here for commentary and criticism?

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#2307229 - 07/26/14 01:50 AM Re: Guidance for Publishing [Re: Dachshund]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5306
Loc: Europe
Oh yes, certainly! I didn't think about... Whoops me...

Dachshund, this is an excellent place to promote your works, in a non commercial way; post a recording (and/or) a score and see how it goes.
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2307396 - 07/26/14 03:12 PM Re: Guidance for Publishing [Re: Dachshund]
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6186
Originally Posted By: Dachshund
Hi Forum,

... I want to try and publish and/or print my music in some sort of a book, whether it be a compilation of other musicians works that includes one of mine, or a thin booklet containing one or two of my pieces. My question for you guys is, how do I even begin trying to do this? ...
I thought about this, and here is what I think:

1. What's your objective? Is it simply to make your compositions more widely available to the general public? Is it to make money? Is it to garner recognition or get a "seal of approval" from establishment musicians/composers? Is it a point of pride to have your music published in a book? Is it simply to publish so that you can say on your college application that you are "published"? -- Clarify your objective, and the right course of action can more easily follow.

2. As a matter of logistics on publishing and distribution, these are my thoughts: Getting some one else (e.g., a publisher) to print physical books is hard, for established publishers can be very selective on what to publish/print. If you were to self-publish and get a commercial printing house to print physical books for you, it will also be relatively expensive for you will have to commit to some minimum number of books for each printing run. Unless you are already famous, you are unlikely to sell that many books (the market for "new compositions for advanced pianists" is not exactly large), so most of them will sit around gathering dust. A logistically much cheaper option is to publish electronically. For solo piano music, just publish electronically and let the interested pianist print it themselves and put them in a binder. I say that as a publisher who has published both piano solo music and piano four-hand music and make them available physically as well as electronically. I think there is still value to printing four-hand music books because it is hard to get the binding right (e.g., the execution of double-sided printing of properly arrangement of pages such that you get the traditional landscape orientated book with "Secondo" opening on the left and "Primo" opening on the right is not easy to get right). But for piano solo work, any one can send a file to the printer and get perfectly usable output that the pianist can rearrange on the music desk and scribble to his heart's content. Couple that with the fact that solo pianists almost never perform with printed music on stage, the printed music will never be seen by the audience.

Now, I understand that different composers/musicians/publishers have different opinions on why to publish and how to publish, and I respect those differences.

But I think most important is for you as a composer who wishes to publish is to figure out why you want to publish (see point #1 above). Once you are clear about why you want to publish, you would then be better equipped to go figure out whether you have to get a big publisher to publisher your work in book form (hardest to do), or may be go with a smaller publisher (less difficult to do), or may be just get on with electronic publishing (much easier to do these days with a computer and the Internet, whether through another publisher or do it yourself).

Good luck! smile
_________________________
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

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#2308944 - 07/30/14 01:49 PM Re: Guidance for Publishing [Re: Axtremus]
Dachshund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/11
Posts: 78
Loc: California
Hi Axtremus,
Thank you for your response! I suppose my goal is based on a point of pride in having my music published in a book. Along with that, I feel if my music is published in a book (or various books) it will have a better chance of living past myself. It has become clear to me that there are a multitude of steps required for me to accomplish this however, and I think I would like to look into your suggestion of electronic publishing a bit further. If my electronic publications can garner some popularity, then can that draw the attention of publishing companies and encourage them to print my music? How likely is this? Also, how exactly does this electronic publishing work? Are there specific hosting sites that you would recommend? It is to my understanding that Sibelius Music's hosting site shut down a few years ago, so I'm left in the dark as to where else I can do this. If young pianists were to play my music in a competition, would my music be permitted just as much as a piece printed by a substantial publishing company? Or, would it not be taken as seriously because it is an electronically published work? Are all published works regarded the same, no matter how or where they were published?

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#2309230 - 07/31/14 07:45 AM Re: Guidance for Publishing [Re: Dachshund]
Michael Sayers Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 1160
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
Hi Daschund,

If you only want to share the music and make it available there is http://www.free-scores.com/index_uk.php3 - the website gets permission to host and distribute the music freely for as long as you keep it there, and you can take away the music at anytime. It isn't like IMSLP where you would (might?) surrender some rights over the music permanently, a decision you might regret later.

If the music is registered for copyright then I can't think of any potential issues with sharing the scores, and of course you can let us know about them here when that is done.

Getting music published by a "substantial" publishing company might be unrealistic as a goal unless one is on the path to being famous as a composer.

Nikolas though might be interested in taking a look, in my experience of him he is very open minded and looks at the merits of music in a formalistic way, as in formalistic criticism ("what" the music is, is what counts - "who" composed it or what it is about that isn't music isn't what matters) . . . I'm sure he'll correct me if I am wrong about this!


Best of luck!

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#2309376 - 07/31/14 02:16 PM Re: Guidance for Publishing [Re: Michael Sayers]
Dachshund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/11
Posts: 78
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Michael Sayers
If the music is registered for copyright then I can't think of any potential issues with sharing the scores

How does one register music for copyright? I have my name and the copyright sign, but is there more to this?

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#2309585 - 07/31/14 11:50 PM Re: Guidance for Publishing [Re: Dachshund]
daro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/07
Posts: 168
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Originally Posted By: Dachshund
How does one register music for copyright? I have my name and the copyright sign, but is there more to this?


Check out the FAQs at the U.S. Copyright Office. You'll find everything you need to know about registering your copyrights.

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#2312123 - 08/06/14 09:32 PM Re: Guidance for Publishing [Re: Dachshund]
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6186
Dachshund,

My apologies for not replying sooner.

To answer some of your follow-up questions:

Quote:
Your question: "If my electronic publications can garner some popularity, then can that draw the attention of publishing companies and encourage them to print my music? How likely is this?"


My answer: Don't know ... probably as likely as a YouTube sensation signing a record deal with a major label, or a popular blogger getting a regular column in an established news paper or magazine.

Quote:
Your question: "Also, how exactly does this electronic publishing work?"


My answer: Many ways to publish electronically. You can use other hosting sites (more on that later), host them yourself, even make it available as Kindle eBooks on Amazon.com. You can see how my own music gets published here: http://www.PianoRecital.org/ ...

Quote:
Your question: "If young pianists were to play my music in a competition, would my music be permitted just as much as a piece printed by a substantial publishing company? Or, would it not be taken as seriously because it is an electronically published work? Are all published works regarded the same, no matter how or where they were published?"


My answer: Depends on the competition, though frankly I don't see why they would restrict repertoire to only those published by established publishers. (Restricting repertoire to a particular composers or particular period or particular style is pretty common. But I am not aware of any competition restricting repertoire by publisher.)

Quote:
Your question: How does one register music for copyright? I have my name and the copyright sign, but is there more to this?


My answer: In the USA, by law, you automatically owns the copyright of your composition unless you sign another agreement with another legal entity to give your copyright to that legal entity. You do not need to register to have your copyright. But if you really want to explicitly register it anyway, follow the instructions and guidelines in Circular 50 published by the U.S. Copyright Office: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ50.pdf

As for hosting sites for your (electronically published) sheet music, first you should decide whether you want to charge money for your music or give them away for free. (Personally, some stuff I give away for free, some stuff I insist on getting paid, and some stuff I allow the buyer to name whatever price they feel is fair.) Michael Sayers already pointed you to http://www.free-scores.com/ (the name implies that you give you scores away for free there) ... another popular one is http://www.sheetmusicplus.com (this one, you can charge money for your score). Sales of electronic versions of my sheet music is handled by gumroad.com (though gumroad.com is setup to sell "digital goods" in general, not tailored specifically for music like sheetmusicplus.com ... there is no website for people to "browse" your music catalog on gumroad's, for instance.)

Self-publish in one way, publishing through another publisher is another. Nikolas is set up as a music publisher (see his post and link above), you can certainly try reaching out to him to see if he wants to publish your work. I am also setup as a music publisher (frankly I focus more on electronic publishing), if you want to, we can also see if it's a right fit for me (as a publisher) to publish your music for you.

Whatever you decide, good luck.
_________________________
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

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#2312194 - 08/07/14 12:59 AM Re: Guidance for Publishing [Re: Dachshund]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5306
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: Dachshund
Originally Posted By: Michael Sayers
If the music is registered for copyright then I can't think of any potential issues with sharing the scores

How does one register music for copyright? I have my name and the copyright sign, but is there more to this?
The infringement of copyright is a federal crime, and as such you can only take it up to the Federal Courts. And Federal Courts accept ONLY the registration of the copyright offices in the US.

So, since you're in the US, all you have to do is to register through copyright.gov.

If you were not in the US you'd have to prove that your work of art exists from a certain point in time. You'd need to register your work of art, in tangible means, in some way: Through a library, some kind of registrar, etc...
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2313150 - 08/08/14 07:59 PM Re: Guidance for Publishing [Re: Dachshund]
Michael Sayers Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 1160
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
Originally Posted By: Dachshund
Originally Posted By: Michael Sayers
If the music is registered for copyright then I can't think of any potential issues with sharing the scores

How does one register music for copyright? I have my name and the copyright sign, but is there more to this?

I am sorry I missed your post.

Nikolas is right.

And for the fee you can take everything and register it under one title ("The Complete Works of x" for instance). The website isn't the most user friendly with its terminology, its best to just take one's time with the registration process in order to not make any mistakes.

With the username and password a session can be closed at the copyright website and then reopened or finished later.

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#2325941 - 09/10/14 06:45 AM Re: Guidance for Publishing [Re: Dachshund]
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6186
I have recently tried a new small-volume printing service and the results have been good, so I want to amend my earlier post and say that it's no longer that costly to produce physical books in very small volume -- even when ordering/printing as few as one book at a time.

I used the service offered by the www.lulu.com website. They primarily cater to self-publishers, and have (in my opinion) a decent system setup to support small volume printing/manufacturing of physical books. I uploaded my sheet music in PDF format (black & white only) and PNG book cover design (can be full color), and they print/manufacture the book for me. I can now produce a saddle-stitched US-Letter-sized "book" of sheet music for under 5 USD per book, and I can literally order it one book at a time. (Or set it up such that interested buyers can order my "books" themselves ... which I will eventually do for most of my titles.)

So ... for folks who would like to self-publish their music compositions in physical book form, I think www.lulu.com now provides for a sufficiently economical way to do it.

Though I should also mention this caveat: Lulu also offers a service where they make your book available as an eBook to various different platforms (including Amazon.com/Kindle), though it looks to me like that kind of service still only works for text-based works rather than for music composition. So for now, I'd say use Lulu only for the printing/manufacturing of physical books, not as a channel to distribute sheet music electronically. (Not that that's a problem, because there are already other even more economical outlets to distribute sheet music electronically ... just don't try to use Lulu as a one-stop-shop for everything, they are not there yet.)

Another caveat is that I still do not think Lulu can handle four-hand music -- they just do not seem to support landscape orientation with short-edge binding (which is traditionally expected of four-hand music). Though it does not appear many people write four-hand music here, so this caveat is probably relevant only to little 'ol me in this forum. laugh
_________________________
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

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#2326112 - 09/10/14 06:02 PM Re: Guidance for Publishing [Re: Dachshund]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5306
Loc: Europe
Oh no it's not only you! I did a 4 hand work a year back, which did great! laugh

And I'm doing another duet, but this time for student and teacher, so it's in portrait format, rather than landscape...

In any case I'm printing locally, in fully professional mode (not in house obviously).
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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