Did you create your own music book you’d like to make money off of? Or have an idea you think a major publisher would be interested in? Well, you can skip the waiting time and other constraints that come with the usual route of traditional publishing. Instead, opt for digital self-publishing. This write-up goes over how to publish a music book yourself quickly and easily.
Plus, the demand for digital music books have surged since the outbreak of the pandemic: indies saw their music book sales increase by 208%. This is a lucrative space to be in.
I cover these steps:
- Creating your music book
- Self-publishing and launching 🎉
- Promoting your music book
- Collecting royalties
If you’re already at the self-publishing step, PublishDrive can help you distribute your book to literally thousands of stores like Amazon, Apple, and Google.
Creating Your Music Book
If you have yet to develop your music book, here are pointers to know.
Figure out your target audience. Who is your music book for? Perhaps educators, students, songwriters, choir directors, or general music lovers? What level of musicianship is required: beginner, intermediate, or advanced?
Figure out the content and scope of your book. Are tunes included? Sheet music? How many? What’s their genre? Are lyrics involved? Are there works from other composers? If you’re not using public domain tunes, get written permission from the composers. If you’re using your own composition, copyright your work.
Use photos and illustrations. These can bring your book to life. Get permission from creators to use their photos or hire a contract designer.
Use accompanying texts. Pull from history, music theory, and other works as needed.
Use a high-quality music notation program. Tools like Finale and MuseScore are free.
Include music tracks as mp3 files. Add the numerical list to the end of your book. For digital book formats like ebooks, provide tunes as mp3 files. If you have a discography, you can cross-reference it to tunes in the book.
Have an editor or third party go over your work. This is extra important. You want your book as spotless as possible. Hire an editor to proofread your texts and references. Try sharing your book with your network for feedback. Hiring beta readers is a solid option.
Design a fabulous book cover. Since your cover design is the first thing people see, you want one that’s enticing while conveying what your book is about. Invest in a professional designer or create your own book cover.
Format your book for publishing. To self-publish and sell in stores like Amazon, you’ll have to upload specific book files. For ebooks, you’ll need to format your document in a certain way. You can hire an expert to get this done for you. Or you can do it yourself by following plenty of free guidelines for ebook formatting. For print books, see here. For audiobooks, go here.
Self-Publishing Your Music Book (Launch Time!)
By this point, you got your final cover design and formatted manuscript. 🎉 You could write a ton of query letters to exclusive publishers and editors hoping to get signed. Or, you can self-publish at your own timing. It’s fairly straightforward to do so with several self-publishing companies. And, they’re free! –
Amazon KDP is a must for indie authors and publishers. With PublishDrive’s 18K+ indies, at least 40% of digital book sales come from Amazon.
Note: Amazon requires you to sell exclusively to them for the first 90 days. That means you miss 60% of the global book market. With a platform like PublishDrive, you can skip the exclusivity agreement and publish to Amazon along with thousands of other stores.
Barnes & Noble Press is Amazon’s main competitor, reaching millions of readers on its website and e-reading device NOOK. Unlike Amazon, B&N does not require exclusivity.
Apple Books and Google Play Books are leading reading apps. Both come pre-installed on their respective devices (Android and iOS). That’s billions of people you can reach with your book.
Beyond major retailers like Amazon and Google, there are numerous niche channels like Scribd and Dreame that you can tap into. In today’s world of self-publishing, it’s all about distributing everywhere you can to sustain your book revenue.
Promoting Your Music Book
No one will see your music book unless you promote it. Consider these actions:
- Set up a pre-order period with stores. Because stores count sales on the first day of release, you can shoot up the sales count by building pre-orders in advance. That means a higher chance of getting listed on bestseller lists.
- Have your book reviewed by recognized music publishers (like The Old-Time Herald.)
- As a rule of thumb, treat collecting book reviews as a priority.
- Engage in online music groups like Reddit’s Music Score group. Contribute tune samples or free chapters of your book.
- Attend music workshops and festivals. Be sure to have a website or social media accounts to give people a place to visit your work.
- Send copies of your book to influencers like teachers or musicians (and ask them for reviews!)
- Feature in stores and newsletters. Check out this free list of featuring opportunities.
Here are a couple of resources for further guidance:
- Marketing Self-Published Books: The Essentials
- Webinar Chat by Book Marketing Veterans
- 15 Ideas for Your Book Promotion
Now you know how to get a music book published. From here on out, you want to stay on top of your publishing gig by setting up a system for tracking your book sales. A tool like PublishDrive automates the royalty reports and sales performance on a single dashboard.
Self-publishing is a whole lot of work. PublishDrive helps with everything. ↓
Ready to Self-Publish Your Music Book?
✓ Sell in 400+ bookstores & 240K+ libraries
✓ Publishing, marketing, and royalty reporting in one place
✓ Ebook, audiobook, print-on-demand