Over the coming weeks, I’ll be cross-posting a series of short essays that I wrote at the NewMusicShelf about self-publishing and making good financial decisions as an artist.
Over the past few months, I’ve been doing a lot (a LOT) of reading about publishing and self-publishing, and it’s been particularly enlightening.
Pretty much all of my reading has been about publishing books. I haven’t bothered reading about music publishing for any number of reasons, not the least of which is the dearth of writings on the subject.
There is, however, a TON of writing available about self-publishing books. There’s a renaissance going on amongst our prose and poetry writing brethren that I find incredibly intriguing – more and more authors are “going indie” and publishing their own works. Some are established authors branching out into different genres and trying something outside of the Brand that they and their publishers have created for them; some are established authors who want to take control of their works and their profits; some are non-established authors who found no interest in their work from the big publishers; and some have never had any experience with major publishers at all. This shift that’s happening is really exciting to read about because everything is changing so rapidly for the industry, and people keep finding new and ingenious ways to get their work out there. What’s also interesting to read about is the vitriol being spewed at some of these authors by people in their own industry. Not heartening, surely, but interesting.
I’m really inspired by the writers who are doing so well at self-publishing, self-marketing, self-distributing, self-etc. – there are a lot of them, and many more are joining those ranks. I find it inspiring in large part because I know the phenomenon can be translated to the concert music world. We’ve actually already started on the path toward our own publishing renaissance, but I think we’ve stalled. Not out of any inherent laziness – although I think that we as composers have been trained to avoid self-promotion and any act that may make us seem as though we actually want to make a living at this career for which we’ve spent so much time and money educating and preparing ourselves (a conversation for another day). Our stalling has been due mostly, I think, to a lack of outlets for self-publishing composers to showcase their works. [Insert preaching-to-the-choir-style plug for NewMusicShelf here.]
I want to point out two blogs that I’ve found particularly interesting and motivational: author Joe Konrath’s blog and Zoe Winters’ posts over at IndieReader.com. They have a lot to say about their industry that I feel is pertinent to the discussion of self-publishing in music.