by Marty Dodson
Apr 27, 2023
Many writers that I mentor struggle with the idea of getting themselves in position to succeed. In fact, I see two extremes play out. Sometimes writers adopt the idea that “all I have to do is write a great song”. Others go to the extreme of trying desperately to “meet the right people” while ignoring the fact that they don’t have any great songs for those people to hear. So, I find myself continually preaching the message of putting yourself in position to succeed. I thought I would share here what I’ve learned from these mentoring sessions. Here are my suggested steps for putting yourself in position to succeed – in order of importance.
1. Write great songs.
Nothing else matters until you have some commercial, cuttable songs. The more you have, the better your chances of success.
2. Expand your network of co-writers.
The more people you write with, the better chance that one of your co-writers will get a cut or get a writing deal which also helps YOU. This is how I got my writing deal.
3. Be active on social media.
Letting people know what’s going on with your writing is important. I remember a year that I had one of my best years ever as a writer. I ran into my BMI rep and he said “Man, what’s going on? I thought you disappeared.” Not good. I started tweeting and writing Facebook posts about everything I had going on. The next time I saw him, he said “Man you are on fire!” Reality had not changed, but perception had.
4. Be seen.
To the extent that you can, be seen and involved in a music community. That can be an online community like SongTown or it can be in a music center. Either increases your visibility and reminds people that you are active and involved.
5. Try to develop a relationship with a writer rep at BMI, SESAC or ASCAP.
They are one of the primary ports of entry for new songwriters. Getting one of their reps behind you can be HUGE for your career.
6. Start getting to know and investing in young artists that you believe in.
Write with them. Help them learn to write. Help them find their voice. I still do this. Some of these artists will succeed and you will succeed along with them if you have been with them from the start.
7. Gradually start to meet publishers, pluggers, etc.
This is really the final step. There’s no need to go here until you have 5-10 cuttable songs. Patience is hard, but it will pay off in the end.
Hope those ideas help. Make a plan. Start putting yourself in position to succeed!
Write on! ~MD
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