Updated: Apr 15, 2018
Recently I had the honor to present a session at the Southwest American Choral Director's Convention in Oklahoma City. My presentation was entitled "Unraveling the Mystery of Choral Music Publication: Tips to Help Your Composition Get Published." This was my first time to speak to colleagues at a District Choral Convention, though I've shared at numerous reading sessions and have been invited to seminars. I realize the importance of sharing my passion and my 30+ years of writing experience with those who might be just starting to compose, as well as offer encouragement and extra advice for those already published. After preparing my notes and helpful hints, along with a handout to share,I realized one important fact; I wish I'd known some of this information when I began writing in the late 70's! After submitting a Christmas medley to a major publishing company and not hearing back for a YEAR, I had already told myself it probably wasn't any good, my luck in getting anything published was not very good, and I SURE couldn't call myself a composer! Little did I know that months after I first submitted by arrangement (performed and LOVED by my school choir), I learned the company was bought by a larger publisher after the choral editor left, leaving a long-forgotten box of MANUSCRIPTS in a corner office. Finally an acknowledgement letter arrived stating that "White Christmas" was not public domain, it would be too expensive and difficult to license, and "thanks, but it doesn't meet our publication needs." At least I knew something!
New composers need to know basic text-writing, how to write lyrical melodies for the average choir, manuscript preparation, publisher email contacts, and so much more. I felt like with the blessings I've received over the years and the success of publishing almost 500 pieces, I wanted to give back something to encourage, enable and assist the new writers who have a song that needs to be sung! If I could spur some excitement and open a few doors for a new composer, then I've done just that.