Overselling yourself as a writer or your songs. The hallmark mistake I see new-to-the-business writers often make is informing a potential publisher how great they are; or about all of the hits they have written that just need to be heard by the right person. Even if it’s true, you will turn off a potential publisher coming on too strong. It’s exactly like going on a first date and telling your date how good looking charming and funny you are. Publishers are professionals and can make up their own mind about your songs. Simply asking with quiet confidence “If you are looking for songs, I’d like to send you a couple of my demos or previous works.” or “I think I’ve got a song that’s right for your artist.” will go a long way in opening doors in the music biz.
Submitting too many songs. Once you’ve gotten a potential publisher contact info and permission to submit your material, there is a temptation to include every song you can pack on that CD, right? Well this is the quickest way to kill your new relationship. The better the publisher, the busier he will be. He doesn’t want to wade through your CD to find your best songs. That’s your job! It’s up to you to pick out 3-4 of your top songs and send him only those. Don’t try to guess what a publisher might like. Put your best work on there.
The “over-follow-up”. There is a fine line sometimes between follow-up vs. over follow-up. The kiss of death would be to follow-up every day for a week after sending your songs off to a publisher. I generally suggest giving 2 weeks before a polite quick email or message. The odds are great that your CD will be on his/her desk at the bottom of a pile, so you do need to follow up. Publishers are busy managing a lot of writers and material. Simply remind them every couple of weeks, that you sent in your CD. If I get no reply after 4 tries, I would drop it and move on, because the message would be clear by then. By no means would I leave an angry message. You don’t want to burn ANY bridges and one day this publisher might end up being your biggest supporter.