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Self-publishing a repertoire book in Australia

Posted By: ymapazagain

Self-publishing a repertoire book in Australia - 10/02/12 09:31 AM

I am planning on self-publishing a book of piano pieces. Right now I'm a bit stuck in trying to find out the most economical way to do this. There is so much advice online telling composers to self-publish, but I can't find much information on HOW exactly to self-publish.

Do I go with a general printer sourced locally? A specific sheet music printer? An online self-publishing company like lulu?

I'm looking for information specific to Australia.

Does anyone have any experience with self-publishing in Australia? If so, how did you go about it?


Posted By: Nikolas

Re: Self-publishing a repertoire book in Australia - 10/02/12 01:43 PM


There's a lot of things to consider:

1. Digital vs Physical

If you print the actual book, then it's more appealing to the pianist. A pianist has little use to a PDF file in kindle, or an ipad, so he has to print it off and then bind it and then use it. Of course printing means some amount of money. Home printers are not suitable for printing scores, to be honest. Scores should have harder paper (more grm/m2) and different size. A letter/A4 (not the same but it's the usual size paper used in Europe and in the US) are simply too small.

If you go for digital then you save money. No upfront costs at all, and delivery time is instant. HOWEVER you poke your eye out due to piracy. The extra step from scanning a score and just sharing a ready made PDF is enough to save you some peace of mind. At the same time, you're putting your customer into more trouble: The customer has to print and bind their own book, thus it's of lesser quality than the stuff found commercially.

2. Printing in home vs printing out

Printing in home is cheaper and can be in demand. If you can get some Minolta printers (that are in the range of 2500$ upwards) then you could be doing a decent job printing on your own, but then your budget goes out the window.

Printing outside is more expensive, since you have to go for bulk numbers. Still any decent press will be able to print digitally thus print a small quanity of scores (say 50 items) in which case you can get away with a smaller budget and some ease of mind in case none sells. I know plenty of composers who, in order to save some money, printed 2000 items and got stuck with the remaining 1800!!! grin

3. Slef publishing vs normal publishing vs publishing in online vendors (lulu et al)

You earn tons more if you publish on your own. PER COPY. But the hussle is too great some times and you lose out on the given communities (lulu has a big community and so does amazon, etc) of ready made customers. Plus you need to arrange all the tax stuff. Advertising and promoting is a big problem when you're alone. You simply can't do everything yourself (proof reading for example: A BIG OUCH!!!! in the life of every composer).

If you publish elsewhere you will earn very little. General % for composers are no more than 15% as far as I know per copy. But you save all the other trouble, plus you get in the roster of each company with the rest of the composers. You don't get to pay anything (at least you shouldn't) and you have great peace of mind with everything, from promoting to distributing, to selling, to tax and to collecting royalties

Lulu is the middle solution that can work great and one can use their communities to their own advantage. Of course the fact that there is NO quality control in lulu means that you are with every rubbish any kid in the Internet has thought of. Just look at youtube: Amazing videos next to rubbish.

4. Promotion

Regardless of the above you NEED to promote your own stuff. You're alive, you're well and any publisher is NOT your manager. A publisher is not a manager, although they seem to do similar jobs. It's not the job of the publisher to actively promote your career (but they will promote the works they publish in the general interest of their own business).

Promotion can take many forms, but in the end it's all abot availability. Can you get your score up in sheetmusicplus.com? Can you get it to Minessota in a week? How about Greece (<- answer to that. Difficult since the post offices are not that good in distributing, while they're great to sending off stuff... Go figure).

I hope all the above help a little, you and anyone else.

If there's anything else you'd like, I'll be happy to reply, as long as I can! smile
Posted By: Nikolas

Re: Self-publishing a repertoire book in Australia - 10/02/12 02:35 PM

I'll repost just to say that I made a lovely tpyo: "SLEF" instead of "SELF". And in the part where I'm mentioning about proof reading! LOL!
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