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When the Covid pandemic started I began a project to create a book of arrangements for solo vibraphone.  Although I have a closet full of music books I've never published my own.  I'm on the last piece in the collection and starting to look for info on how to get it published.  After looking at many videos online about copyright I understand that part but none of that information goes in the further direction of how to actually get from my music stand to a publisher.

I found a discussion from 2012 that has some info about this but my questions are a bit different.  So, here they are, if anyone has experience in this I appreciate your input!  :-)

1. Assuming I get copyright permission from the copyright owner to publish my arrangements do I then contact a publisher - a publisher that does percussion music like Kendor or Studio4 - and say hey I've got these arrangements I've been working on and I'd like to publish them?

2. Do I get my copyright on the arrangements before I send it to them?  This part puzzled me a bit - timing wise - since I want to copyright the entire work and I would not necessarily have all the copyright's completed when I contact them.

3. All the charts are done in Finale.  I have done a lot of proofreading (and an editing friend/assistant) to confirm that each piece is in a format that is consistent throughout the 5 pieces - but does a publisher accept my charts in, for instance, PDF format, and then do the cover design? Or do they want to set the music to their own font/design/layout standards?  (not that Schirmer Music is going to be my publisher!)

4. I did desktop publishing for a couple of decades for investment banks and law firms so can deliver a full camera ready copy or PDF including a cover, intro, notes, and the charts so would they prefer that?

5. If you have done this before did you shop it around to different publishers looking for the best percentage, or willingness to accept your charts, or a feeling that one company was better to work with?

Thank you for your suggestions!



rogersvibes Tue, 06/07/2022 - 13:22

Hey Jerry, it's cool that you are doing this. I've had ambitions to do this too, although I haven't managed to find the time to finally launch it. When I looked into it, one option that came up is self-publishing with SMP Music, which is now It's associated with Hal Leonard. There is no physical book publishing, but they handle the royalties side of things, and you can make some profit from your work. I signed up for an account, and it looks pretty straightforward. Doing a book would be a lot of fun too. I bet Ed Saindon knows something about it how to do it. I'd love to see/hear your arrangements sometime.


Jerry Weir Wed, 06/08/2022 - 21:48

In reply to by rogersvibes

Thanks for the reply. It's a first for me but hopefully not a last. I have few other ideas for the future. I am starting with the idea to have it published as a book and if I am unable to accomplish that - and yet able to obtain proper copyrights - I will do a self publish. I will check out and see what they offer also. Ed is a great suggestion. I haven't spoken with him in a long time but I'm sure he knows a lot.

When completed I do hope to present it to the vibraphone world thru vibesworkshop and do some videos as well. I keep intending to put some performance videos up on the workshop but somehow never get around to it - this should kick me in the butt.


tonymiceli Tue, 06/07/2022 - 14:04

I now this:
I don't think you copyright the arrangements. but I could be wrong there.
I do know you make peanuts via a publisher. But then I also poorly sell my own music and don't make a lot, so I don't know what's better?
You could start by setting up an online store and hustling the book yourself.
Do you have yourself playing each of the pieces? That helps. Put that on youtube and then link to your store.

didn't answer all your questions but just gave my 2 cents.

Randy_Sutin Sat, 11/18/2023 - 09:23

I think you basically have two good choices:

- you can hand it over to a publisher. Their legal staff will handle paying copyright fees to the composers of the pieces you have arranged and they will format it, print copies, advertise, and distribute it for you. Don’t expect to make much or any money (frankly, they will be in the hole after footing the bill for all the above), but if they are a reputable publisher, it will work in your favor because they will also work to distribute and promote your book. By extension, they will promote you. If the book is successful, you may eventually both make a little money… emphasis on the word “little”; nobody will be getting rich.

- hire a lawyer expert in intellectual property law and have them handle it for you. If you know how to format it, you can hand them a nearly finished product. Once they work out the legal details, you can self publish/self promote. Once you’ve paid your legal fees and replication fees, the modest amount of money coming in will be yours. (I would recommend using an online distributor so they can collect sales tax for you; that’s a real paperwork headache if you do it yourself).

Best of luck!

Jerry Weir Wed, 02/21/2024 - 10:39

Randy: Just saw your response. Thanks for that input and I am talking to a publisher now but it's going very slowly. So, patience is necessary in this kind of thing. I have just finished recording videos of each of the 5 pieces in the studio and am hoping that this will give the project a kick. The audio has just been handed off to the videographer so I'm hoping to have them up online within the next 2 weeks. If I get rejected by some undetermined number of publishers I will proceed to step 2 in your comment.

Tony: Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it. When - and if - I get to the point of having a published book I will add some information about my experience to vibesworkshop.