How To Blow A Potential Pub Deal In 3 Common Mistakes!

by Clay Mills
Sep 19, 2016

You’ve got the songs…

So youve been writing and put together a nice collection of songs; and youre ready for that next step… Finding a publisher. That person who believes in your writing and has the connections to make things happen. Here are 3 common mistakes that can kill your chances of working with a music publisher…

Overselling yourself as a writer or your songs.

The hallmark mistake I see new-to-the-business writers often make is informing a potential publisher how great they are; or about all of the hits they have written that just need to be heard by the right person. Even if its true, you will turn off a potential publisher coming on too strong. It’s exactly like going on a first date and telling your date how good looking charming and funny you are. Publishers are professionals and can make up their own mind about your songs. Simply asking with quiet confidence “If you are looking for songs, Ilike to send you a couple” or “I think Ive got a song thats right for your artist,” will go a long way in opening doors in the music biz.

Submitting too many songs.

Once you’ve gotten a potential publishers contact info and permission to submit your material, there is a temptation to include every song you can pack in an e-mail, right? Well this is the quickest way to kill your new relationship. The better the publisher, the busier they will be. Publishers dont want to wade through your e-mail to find your best songs. That’s your job! Its up to you to pick out 3-4 of your top songs and send them only those. Dont try to guess what a publisher might like. Put your best work on there.

The “over-follow-up.”

There is a fine line sometimes between follow-up vs. over follow-up. The kiss of death would be to follow-up every day for a week after sending your songs off to a publisher. I generally suggest giving 2 weeks before a polite quick email or voice message. The odds are great that your songs will be on his/her desk at the bottom of a pile, so you do need to follow up. Publishers are busy managing a lot of writers and material. Simply remind them every couple weeks that you sent in your songs. If you get no reply after 4 tries, I would drop it and move on. By no means would I leave an angry message. You dont want to burn ANY bridges and one day this publisher might end up being your biggest supporter. 

Hope these simple don’ts help you avoid some of the mistakes I made early in my own career.

Happy pitching! Clay Mills

Clay Mills

Clay Mills

Clay Mills is a 16-time ASCAP hit songwriter, producer, and performer. He is the co-founder of SongTown and has 2 Grammy nominations for “Beautiful Mess” by Diamond Rio and “Heaven Heartache” by Trisha Yearwood. Clay is also the co-author of Mastering Melody Writing and The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Co-writing.


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