Friday, March 12, 2010

Self Publishing Update

At the urging of some friends, I have decided to stop waiting for a certain Lutheran publishing house to get back to me on some organ preludes I submitted to them about a year ago. Instead of spending my hard-earned money printing more copies of my music and shipping it to other publishers, I have decided to plunge into self-publishing!

Over the past few days, when I could spare a moment or two, I prepared the project. First I rounded up 22 Lutheran hymn-based keyboard pieces that I had worked into close-to-printable shape. I had used Finale 2007 to create the scores, but I could not make that program do what I wanted in terms of page format, or compile them into a book format. So my second step was to print each number as a PDF document. Thirdly, I used Adobe Acrobat 8 to export each PDF to a JPG image file. Fourthly, I created a desktop-publishing document in Adobe Indesign CS2 and "placed" the JPGs in its pages.

Thanks to Finale's perversity and my own inefficiency, the scores contained a number of elements I didn't want. So I used Photoshop (also from Adobe CS2) to paint those bits out where necessary. Back in InDesign, I was able to tweak the layout in ways Finale would never allow. I added a title page and table of contents (via a Microsoft Word document that I printed as a PDF, then exported from Acrobat as a JPG, then dropped into the InDesign file). I typed a title page and an author's note straight into InDesign. When I finally had the book set up to my satisfaction, I exported it as a PDF and saved it onto a flash drive. Then I went to Kinko's.

For the use of a Kinko's computer terminal and printing one single-sided copy of my 64-page magnum opus, plus cover page, on their black-and-white printer, I paid about $39. This copy I gave to the folks behind the counter, who printed, collated, and spiral-bound 5 "duplex" copies, plus one "dry run" copy that had the pagination messed up. I kept the latter so I could mark it up with errors to be corrected in the Second Edition. My bill for the printing and spiral-binding was about $60, before taxes.

That comes to $100 for an initial print run of 5 bound copies and one bound "proof," plus the theoretically reusable originals - though some of those pages will change before I print another batch. I suppose the more copies of an"edition" I run, the farther I can stretched my investment in the initial one-sided printout, the "plates" as it were. As it is, I would have to price my first 5 copies at $20 apiece to recoup what I spent on printing them. It looks like future editions may cost a bit over $10 per copy.

I reckon I'll give the first batch of five gratis to a select group of musical friends, together with a page or so of errata. After that I'll see about getting the Second, Corrected Edition printed and build up a small stock of them. What with shipping costs, I could sell them for $15 apiece and not make a penny of profit. But who's going to pay more than that for an unknown work by an unknown composer? Who would pay even that much?

Well, I hope someone reading this will consider it.

My new book is titled Lutheran Chorale Arrangements for the Saturday Night Organist, Volume 1. Not counting the title page, TOC, author's note, and one page left blank for ease of turning, it contains 60 pages of music accessible to a moderately proficient organist who practices only a few hours a week. These pages include keyboard works based on 22 hymn tunes, some of them adapted from my choral works. Some of the works require two manuals and pedal; others can be played entirely on one manual or on a piano. There are pieces in two, three, and four voices, ranging from single-page hymn harmonizations to multi-stanza chorale fantasies that go on for several pages. The collection includes hymns appropriate to many seasons of the church year, including Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter, as well as hymns for Communion, closing of service, consolation of the afflicted, and other purposes.

The hymn tunes include:
  • ACH BLEIB BEI UNS (Where wilt Thou go since night draws near),
  • ALLEIN ZU DIR (In Thee alone, O Christ my Lord),
  • ALLES IST AN GOTTES SEGEN (All depends on our possessing),
  • AUS TIEFER NOT (From depths of woe I cry to Thee),
  • CHRIST LAG IN TODESBANDEN (Christ Jesus lay in death's strong bands),
  • DER AM KREUZ (Jesus, grant that balm and healing),
  • ES IST DAS HEIL (Salvation unto us is come),
  • ES WOLLE GOTT (May God bestow on us His grace),
  • FRED TIL BOD (Peace to soothe our bitter woes),
  • ICH STERBE TAEGLICH (I come, O Savior, to Thy table),
  • JESAIA DEM PROPHETEN (Isaiah, mighty seer),
  • JESU KREUZ, LEIDEN UND PEIN (Jesus, I will ponder now),
  • LASST UNS ERFREUEN (A hymn of glory let us sing),
  • LOBE DEN HERREN (Praise to the Lord the Almighty),
  • O LAMM GOTTES (Lamb of God pure and holy),
  • O MENSCH BEWEIN (O sinner, come thy sin to mourn),
  • VOM HIMMEL HOCH (From heaven above to earth I come),
  • WARUM SOLLT ICH MICH (Why should cross and trial grieve me),
  • WAS FRAG ICH NACH DER WELT (What is the world to me),
  • WIR GLAUBEN ALL (We all believe in one true God),
  • WO SOLL ICH FLIEHEN HIN (O bride of Christ, rejoice), and
  • WUNDERBARER KOENIG (Wondrous King all-glorious).
As the collection's title suggests, LCA for the SNO is dedicated to all "Saturday Night Organists" who love Lutheranism's historic liturgy and its heritage of fine-quality hymns and chorales, but who don't have the luxury of time to prepare a master's level recital every week. They are written in a 20th-21st century musical idiom. They are designated as "Volume 1" because I have plans to decorate many more hymn tunes in the next few years. And when I say "I have plans," I mean I actually have, on paper, a tentative Table of Contents for Volumes 2 through 5. Four of the pieces for Volume 2 have already been written, but they still need editing. So, if God gives me time and if anyone out there is interested, there will be more where Volume 1 came from.

If you're one of those Saturday Night Organists who loves a good Lutheran chorale, contact me. Tell me how many copies you want and where I should send them. I'll tell you where to send your check for, oh, let's say $15 per copy for now. As soon as the Second, Corrected Edition rolls off the press (i.e., Kinko's spiral-binding machine), I'll ship it to you.

1 comment:

Cuda said...

Advertise on Table Talk and the like.