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#1213645 - 06/07/09 08:59 PM Question for anyone with publication experience  
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musiccr8r Offline
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musiccr8r  Offline
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Denver
I am interested in any thoughts you may have about the following situation: right now I've submitted two sets of pieces to a publisher that will only consider submissions that are not under review anywhere else (*sigh*). Presently I'm at about month 2 of an "up to 6 months" wait. I have completed the last of another set and after editing will be ready to send it off in the next couple weeks, hopefully. Here are some of the things I am wondering:

should I wait until I hear back about the other two submissions? In particular, if they are rejected, should I assume they're going to hate whatever I do, and submit those two plus the new set somewhere else? (the new set is quite different from the other two, if that makes any difference). I am getting impatient, I admit, but I don't know what to do. If they DID like my stuff, then wouldn't it be better to wait, find out they like it,and send them the new one, as my chances might be higher of getting a second shot with the same company than having one set done by one place, and one by another...but if they don't like my stuff, and I send them the new set, it has to sit around for those 6 months or whatever, and can't be reviewed elsewhere. Should I send it and if I receive a rejection in the mean time, then contact them and ask them to forget about the new one, so I can go ahead and send it elsewhere?

Thanks for any thoughts. I'd love general wisdom of all kinds about how to make things most attractive...and your thoughts on sending recordings...or any other wisdom you feel compelled to share! It's a fun/hard/frustrating/exhilarating/defeating process.

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#1213831 - 06/08/09 09:40 AM Re: Question for anyone with publication experience [Re: musiccr8r]  
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rada Offline
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rada  Offline
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So who is it in your family that works for the publishing business?
rada

#1213840 - 06/08/09 10:03 AM Re: Question for anyone with publication experience [Re: rada]  
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Steve Chandler Offline
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Steve Chandler  Offline
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I'm also in about month 2 of waiting to hear, so I don't have any actual experience to share with you. I submitted four pieces to two different publishers. Having said that I do believe that once a publishing house has accepted work the nature of your relationship with them changes, at least I hope so. In your situation I might suggest submitting the new music to a different publisher. If the first publisher accepts your previous work and is interested in the new material you can always retract it from the other. The worst that can happen is both reject you, the best, both accept and you get to be the subject of a bidding war (to dream the impossible dream). Good luck.

#1213913 - 06/08/09 12:08 PM Re: Question for anyone with publication experience [Re: Steve Chandler]  
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musiccr8r Offline
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musiccr8r  Offline
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Denver
Rada: don't I wish!!!!!!!!! Then I might have an inside track, that would be lovely. *sigh* (not sure what your point was, but oh, well)

Steve: sheer brilliance! I think I'll go with that suggestion for sure, it makes total sense. And like you, I hope that IF (that's a BIG if) something works out it will pave the road for a further relationship, like you said. Best of luck to you too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#1214093 - 06/08/09 04:11 PM Re: Question for anyone with publication experience [Re: musiccr8r]  
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James McFadyen Offline
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Publishing is a minefield. My feedback (as a publisher myself) is to wait until you hear back from them before you send them more music.

A lot of music publishers don't live and breath "I love this composer" instead pondering more commercial questions like 1) Does this composer have something fresh to offer? 2) Would the music appeal to our target market and fit in line with our distribution chain... etc, etc.

Don't give up but just be aware of the politics that goes on. If you haven't got a good track record of performances and recordings and maybe even a music education don't even waste your time with the giants, B&H, Faber, Novello, et al. Try smaller publishers, they will be far likely to take you on and it will open doors for you. Too often if you aim to high too soon, you'll have the doors slammed in your face, metaphorically speaking.

Hopefully this is helpful to you. Candid and honest as it is.


James McFadyen
Black & White Editions (c/o Devilish Publishing)
NEW PIANO MUSIC DEALS - http://www.blackandwhiteeditions.com/
#1214193 - 06/08/09 06:37 PM Re: Question for anyone with publication experience [Re: James McFadyen]  
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musiccr8r Offline
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Denver
Dev., thanks for all the valuable info.

Not to be stupid but what exactly do you mean as far as a "track record"? Does this mean getting people to play and/or record it before submitting? I am trying to do this, giving some stuff out to teachers I know, hoping maybe some will get played and perhaps "heard", but that's very hit or miss and I don't know how any publisher would ever come across a new composer that way (forgive my ignorance on the whole topic). Frankly I'd be very happy to just get THAT far, as my main goal isn't to somehow rake in the bucks, but just to share music with fellow players.

I find it interesting that some places just have their "staff" composers and publish only them. I guess that cuts out some of the risk factor, along with increasing sales by working with a few known quantities, but I still have a hard time understanding that mentality. Like you said tho', they're not working for love, they have to turn a profit, so I guess that's key. Anyway if you have further elucidation on how to create that track record, I'd be very interested to hear it! Thanks. And BTW I guess I've paid more attention to the bigger-name publishers, partly because they're easier to find, but partly in the realization that it seems more likely there'd be better distribution that way....I was in a music store the other day asking for a particular composer they didn't carry and she commented that they get lists or samples from publishers of things that are offered, and their reaction is along the lines of, "What am I supposed to do with this?" They carry (this is a smaller, home-town store) only the Big Names from the Big Publishers. And truthfully, I guess I can't blame them, so that's why the Big Names are tempting to try for.

Last edited by musiccr8r; 06/08/09 06:38 PM.
#1214517 - 06/09/09 09:45 AM Re: Question for anyone with publication experience [Re: musiccr8r]  
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Kreisler Offline
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Iowa City, IA
By track record, he means how often your works are performed, how many commissions you've received, and how your works are viewed by the performing and composing community.

Also, I'd say that the answers to your questions might vary widely based on the kind of music you're writing. If you're writing music for high school choirs, for example, then you'll want a publisher who markets to the MENC/ACDA crowd and it would help to have had several works sung by local groups and to have had a work sung at an ACDA or educators' convention. If you're looking to do professional-level chamber music, then you'll need to have generated some genuine interest and had your works performed by various ensembles.

So tell us what kinds of things you're submitting, what your audience is, and something about the quality and goals of your work, and we can probably be more helpful.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1214564 - 06/09/09 10:47 AM Re: Question for anyone with publication experience [Re: Kreisler]  
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musiccr8r Offline
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musiccr8r  Offline
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Denver
Hoo, boy, now I am REALLY dreading that envelope's arrival in the mailbox. Thanks "Big K" (that's how I think of you, hope it's not rude), that makes sense and helps a lot, though it does present a whole new set of obstacles/challenges.

I have no track record of any merit. Music I've written that has been performed in any capacity has all been vocal with piano accompaniment, and so far has only been touched by my husband's university choir and the high school choir I was accompanying. As far as how it was received, it seemed to be enjoyed by the performers and the audience in both cases, but that is partly, if not primarily, because of the nepotism factor (maybe that's not quite the right way to phrase it, but anyway, the fact that a good # of people who heard them knew me, as well as all the people who performed them). I'd love to publish some of those, too, just because it takes soooooo much work to write and esp. to edit, but that's another story.

What I want to publish is solo piano, intermediate (lower to possibly upper, I'm not a grader). The audience is middle to high school students, or first-time student adults who aren't advanced yet but would like to play something different than music marketed for kids. People who have heard them seem to react favorably (again, how do you divorce the nepotism factor), and my sister has actually worked with them extensively enough (she teaches more as a hobby) to genuinely say that they are interesting and fun to play, which was the mindset I had in creating them. The biggest drawback, and I have no idea if there's anything to be done about it, is they don't translate so well for the first-time sightreader. Some better than others, of course. But many of them require a certain finesse/understanding of what is going on before they really sound GOOD. So the conundrum is, if they are intended for intermediate (even lower intermediate for one set) players who might not be the best readers, they'd be more likely to plow through the first few measures, it wouldn't quite "gel" or sound quite right, and they'd skip ahead. (Much as I do when confronted with a composer/piece I've never heard). Now, with a recording and an idea of the goal, I think interest would go up quite a bit.

So, there's my trouble. That still leaves the big problem: how to get performed? as performance seems to be an important feature, but even more so for these works, as I've overexplained. smile I do give copies to teachers as I meet them and get to know them, and at one point I even put an ad on craigslist in a few big cities and offered copies for teachers to try out....sent several.....have not ever received any sort of feedback from any. I suppose if I really wanted to I could contact them again via email and see what they have to say, but it's been at least a year and a half now and that seems awkward. Should I do more research locally and offer again to the "big name" teachers of the area? (I've had one or two smaller teachers, like "kids in the neighborhood" style, tell me they didn't have students at the level of what I was writing yet, but that wouldn't be an issue with someone who's got a bit more territory)
Thanks again everyone, this is really interesting and helpful!

Last edited by musiccr8r; 06/09/09 11:01 AM.
#1214724 - 06/09/09 02:44 PM Re: Question for anyone with publication experience [Re: musiccr8r]  
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James McFadyen Offline
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James McFadyen  Offline
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Manchester UK
Sounds to me like you'll need to look at the smaller companies. One of our composers, Richard Nye, who is extremely talented generally only targets the smaller publishers because we can get music in print and in shops faster.

Without a plethora of high profile performances and recordings and perhaps a music degree or other pedigree like high profile commissions backed up by good reviews from the media and music critics, look at the big publishers may not work for you. They won't admit it, but that is how it works.

Small publishers get your foot in the door, give you professional experience, get your music in the shops and get recordings/performances. Is that what you want?


James McFadyen
Black & White Editions (c/o Devilish Publishing)
NEW PIANO MUSIC DEALS - http://www.blackandwhiteeditions.com/
#1214731 - 06/09/09 03:05 PM Re: Question for anyone with publication experience [Re: James McFadyen]  
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rada Offline
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rada  Offline
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pagosa springs,co
Dear musiccr8r,
Sorry to have been so vague but it seems to me many people will say things like 'it's not what you know so much as who you know'....so that is what I meant. Networking and trying to find a door that is a bit more open that being a 'total stranger' might help you. I had that very sitaution where I knew someone that worked for a publisher. Consequently my music made it to the top of a pile [ where it may have been on the bottom] but unfortunately for me that path didn't work....well not with that publisher. I think the idea of working with a smaller publisher is a good idea...but who are they and where are they?
rada

Last edited by rada; 06/09/09 04:11 PM.
#1214812 - 06/09/09 05:16 PM Re: Question for anyone with publication experience [Re: rada]  
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musiccr8r Offline
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musiccr8r  Offline
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Denver
Originally Posted by rada
...but who are they and where are they?
rada


PREACH IT, pastor!!!!!!!! smile

I getcha now. And I totally agree, there seems to be a network at play that is hard to enter. (like any field, I suppose). Sorry it didn't "grease the skids" for you more! frown Best of luck to EVERYONE who is in this process.

#1214823 - 06/09/09 05:31 PM Re: Question for anyone with publication experienc [Re: musiccr8r]  
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Jeff Clef Offline
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Jeff Clef  Offline
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Don't give up. Margaret Mitchell got some ridiculous number of turn-downs when she submitted Gone with the Wind to publishers, as an unknown--- I think it was 100 rejections.

It would be smart to think closely about how to reach your target demographic, and to devise ways to be heard and get your name and work out there.


Clef

#1214837 - 06/09/09 05:50 PM Re: Question for anyone with publication experienc [Re: Jeff Clef]  
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Kreisler Offline
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Iowa City, IA
It's actually pretty easy to find publishers - just go to a conference for whatever group you're interested in and they'll have booths in the exhibit hall with their stuff. For educational publishing, this means MTNA, NCKP, WPPC, MENC, TMEA, ACDA, ASTA, and state choir, orchestra, and band organizations.

For professional/concert music, it's a little trickier, but there are directories for sale (do a search for a music publisher directory) and that can help get you started.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
#1215160 - 06/10/09 09:55 AM Re: Question for anyone with publication experienc [Re: Jeff Clef]  
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Steve Chandler Offline
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Steve Chandler  Offline
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Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
Don't give up. Margaret Mitchell got some ridiculous number of turn-downs when she submitted Gone with the Wind to publishers, as an unknown--- I think it was 100 rejections.

Back when I lived in the Boston area I had occasion to visit the place of business of a man named Tom Scholz. He had framed on the wall a rejection letter from Columbia records saying that they weren't interested in the album he'd submitted. That album was the first by a band you may have heard of named Boston (yup the 80s megaband).

#1215246 - 06/10/09 12:20 PM Re: Question for anyone with publication experienc [Re: Steve Chandler]  
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Kreisler Offline
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Joined: Nov 2002
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Iowa City, IA


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
#1215410 - 06/10/09 05:29 PM Re: Question for anyone with publication experienc [Re: Kreisler]  
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rada Offline
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rada  Offline
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pagosa springs,co
Well those were great...just believe in yourself.
rada

#1215461 - 06/10/09 07:36 PM Re: Question for anyone with publication experience [Re: musiccr8r]  
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Supposedly said of Fred Astaire, "Can't sing. Can't act. Balding. Can dance a little."


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