Being a professional songwriter is a lot of hard work. It may not seem like it at first, but there’s a lot more to it than just writing great songs. In fact, if you plan on making any money from your music, writing the songs is a pretty small percentage of how you’ll be spending your time. Once the song is written, it doesn’t just become instantly famous. It has to be marketed, pushed, and eventually sold. This is not an easy task, but it is easier if you know where to start. Here are a few tips on how to sell your song.
Get it copyrighted
Before you show your song to anybody, start the process of getting it officially copyrighted. Before that happens, it’s relatively simple for anyone to steal your song. Technically, as soon as you complete the song it belongs to you, but if it becomes necessary, this is very difficult to prove. You may have heard that you can accomplish the same thing by mailing a copy of the work to yourself. Although this is better than nothing, it’s still not very likely to hold up in court. If you believe in your song, go ahead and pay the fee to have the copyright recorded officially.
Send it to a publisher
If you’re not really a performer, that’s ok. You don’t have to be able to perform your own song in order to make money from it. In this case, it’s the publisher’s job to find someone to do that for you. Of course, the publisher wants to know that the song is good before they start trying to find people to perform it. Obviously you’ll need to send it to them so that they can listen to it, but it turns out it’s a little more complicated than that. Many songs get thrown into a bin somewhere, unopened, as evidence in case a writer ever tries to accuse the publisher of stealing their work. This is not where you want your song to end up. Instead, send a note, either through mail or e-mail, asking the publisher if they will consider your work. Publishers are generally very busy, so make it as short and clear as possible. Some people even suggest including a “check yes or no” section. If you receive the note back with a positive response, then go ahead and send your song in. Remember, you will need to send a recording of the song, but it doesn’t have to be ready to sell. Publishers understand that many writers aren’t really musicians. They just need to hear the general flow of the song. If you don’t hear back from the publisher in a week or two, don’t be afraid to follow-up.
Send it to a label
If you are a talented musician, you may want to perform your song yourself. In this case, a publisher won’t be able to help you much. Instead, you’ll want to approach a label. The procedure here is pretty the same. Send them a short note asking if they’ll consider you and your song, and follow-up if you don’t hear back. The difference is that the record label wants to know what you sound like. They also want to be as confident as possible that they’ll be able to produce a great CD. Because of this, they’ll want to hear a fully produced version of your song. If you can afford it, make a professional recording of your song. If not, find a friend that has a studio in their basement and do the best you can there.