by Clay Mills
Sep 19, 2016
You’ve got the songs…
So you’ve been writing and put together a nice collection of songs; and you’re 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 it’s 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, I’d like to send you a couple” or “I think I’ve got a song that’s 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 don’t want to wade through your e-mail to find your best songs. That’s your job! It’s up to you to pick out 3-4 of your top songs and send them only those. Don’t try to guess what a publisher might like. Put your best work on there.
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 don’t 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
Write Better Songs Faster
Songwriting Success is Clay & Marty's 10-day video series that will help you level-up your songs and finish them faster. Enter your email address to get started!