How To Publish A Drum Method Book

Dave Black’s Six-Prong Attack For Aspiring Instruction Book Authors

For doing research:
“Potential authors can either go to their local bookstore and browse the publications in the bins or, better yet, go to the major music publishers’ Web sites to see if they have anything similar in their catalog. I also suggest they browse the larger music dealers or on-line stores such as J.W. Pepper, Sheet Music Plus, etc.”

For gauging your audience:
“A book for a broader audience is going to have more sales potential than one for a smaller, more passionate audience. If the publication is for a particular kind of school or studio where the books will be required reading, then publishing for a small audience may work as you now have a built-in sales audience.”

For not wasting a publisher’s time:
“I usually like to have any potential authors submit a table of contents and one or two chapters to get an idea of what the book will cover, get a feel for the author’s writing chops, and move them in a direction that will fit into the house style without them having to go back and rewrite an entire book. It’s also a good opportunity to suggest any other areas they may need to cover.”

For confronting the brave new digital world:
“It used to be you could turn in a hand-written piece of music or a manuscript, but many publishers now will not accept something unless it’s submitted in a program such as Sibelius or Finale. If someone is intimidated by technology, the only other way to get around the problem would be to hire someone else to input the music. Because technology is now the way music is produced, anyone wanting to be involved as a writer will have to have and/or know how to use one of these programs in order to survive.”

For going the DIY route:
“There are now a number of self-publishing outlets that are available. Amazon is starting a publishing division; Apple computers now have templates for you to create your own books, send them off, and receive printed books; Xlibris is another company that produces, publishes, and markets self-produced books. Again, the same amount of research will be required for a self-published book as one you would submit to a major publisher. You have to research who your audience base is; you have to research books sizes to determine the size of book that will be best for your market; you have to apply for ISBN numbers and bar codes; you have to register the work with the Library Of Congress; and you have to come up with a marketing vehicle and a way to be able to sell your book – Internet, Paypal, e-mail blasts, etc.”

For standing out from the crowd:
“Unless the book has a different spin with a great audio or DVD component to it, it’s going to be a pretty dry book with very little sales potential. I think the best kind of books combine both a certain amount of technique, as well as genres of music to show how that technique can be applied. If you want to get a metal guy excited about Latin music, I think the book has to have killer audio and/or DVD tracks to go with it. Someone in that field is not necessarily going to be motivated by technique and exercises as much as they going to be drawn in by the visual/audio appeal of that style of music. Another way to get them excited about a style outside their own comfort zone is to stress the importance of being a well-rounded drummer and how that can increase their longevity and marketability.”

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