Consistency over time. A publisher would rather work with someone that is writing consistently good stuff over time over someone who has one hit and 100 decent songs in their catalog. The attitude is that anybody can get in the right room and get lucky once, but a really good writer is going to be consistently good. By writing constantly, you show yourself and everyone else about how you are doing it professionally and you are basically telling the publishers to invest in your songs.
A team player with a great attitude. Other than the big 3-4 corporate publishers, most publishing houses are small. Many of them life Flipside have a family type atmosphere. They want to work with people that are going to fit into the family well. If you are cocky or have an attitude, they aren’t going to be interested in you, period. I’ve seen publishers turn down super talented artists because their managers were pushy jerks. The publisher didn’t want to have to deal with someone being difficult all the time. And, many people approach publishers because they perceive their writing to be similar to a writer that is already signed to that publisher. If the publisher already has someone doing what you do, they are not likely to be interested. They are looking to round out the team with people who do things they don’t have. Be a team player and demonstrate a willingness to work with the publisher as a team. That will go a long way.
Reliable adults. Writers and creative types are notoriously unorganized and hard to pin down. We can take add to heights rarely seen in mankind. But a publisher doesn’t want to have to herd a bunch of cats all of the time. If you demonstrate an ability to keep yourself organized, show up for appointments on time and be reliable, that’s a huge weight off their shoulders. I’ve seen people get writing deals over more talented people because the more talented people had trouble adulting. You can rise above lots of other writers if you work hard and are able to be low maintenance.
Hard workers. Over and over, in the music business, I’ve seen the hard workers beat people that are way more talented. It’s pretty much a life principle. Work harder and you increase your chances of success. If you demonstrate to a publisher that you are willing to be their hardest worker, you are going to get their attention. Always remember that a publisher is going to invest a huge amount of money, time and energy in you. You should proof them you worth the investment.
Commercial ears. At the end of the day, the only way you and the publisher are going to stay in business is if you are writing commercial songs that the publisher can get placed. They don’t care if you are writing amazing 6-minute art pieces. Neither of you can feed the family with those. You have to demonstrate that you know what is current in your genre and that you are able to write that kind of song.
Hangi Tavakoli is our in-house established and professional music producer with 20 years of experience in songwriting, music production, mix and mastering. He has written and produced more than 5,000 published songs to-date, including some major hits in international scale.