Do You Want to Self Publish?
Until such a time as you have a publisher, for any song that you write, you have full ownership of the song and its publishing rights and income.
When you write a song by yourself, you own 100% of the writer's share; you also own 100% of the publisher's share. If you co-wrote the song, and have no publisher, then you each will own 50% of the writer's share and 50% of the publisher's share.
This applies to whether or not you have actually published the song. These are your rights as songwriter. They go into effect upon completion of the writing of the song.
As you can see, if you choose to also become your own publisher, there is the advantage of more revenues. You earn double the money.
Becoming a publisher is not that difficult. There are the basics of setting up the business end of it, choosing a name for your company, joining a performing rights organization, registering your company name with the state and or city, getting a business license, getting your business cards, letter head, and envelopes printed up. Those simple steps put you on the map as a bona fide publishing company.
The next steps are a little more difficult, but if you have what it takes, there is no reason you shouldn’t pursue it. You need to promote your song to all the right people, in all the right markets. Here are some basic steps that you will need to take:
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- Research to find out who is looking for songs in the various industries: film & television, albums & singles, radio, commercials, etc.
- Make contacts and get some business relationships developed.
- Get a recording of your song done, and make tape copies
- Get a well-written cover letter that really sells your song, include, J-cards and labels
- Mail or deliver your packages to as many outlets as you can.
- Create a pitch, practice that pitch until you are smooth.
- Start your follow-ups – dial those contacts and pitch that song.
- Stay on top of your administrative responsibilities: copyright
- registration, keeping track of royalties registering your songs with your Performing Rights Organization, contracts and so forth)
- Budget your company funds wisely and with caution:
- You’ll have to spend money for tape duplicating equipment and maintenance, and other demo production expenses.
- Office supplies and promotion supplies, including postage and photocopying.
- Telephone charges, office rental fees, website rental fees, etc.
- Office equipment such as a computer and ideally an all-in-one printer, copier and fax
The good news is that almost everything on this list is also tax deductible. Just realize that until you’ve landed a deal and you’ve got some royalties, you need to watch that budget closely.
Remember that it is important to have the right personality, educational background, and some decent contacts to make it as a self-publisher.
Otherwise you will be suffering from the one serious problem that some self-publishers have suffered before you. They have found that owning 100% of something is not so lucrative if that something sits on a shelf and collects dust.
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