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  1. Finish Your Song (completely).
  2. Record your song (this ranges from home recording to professional recording studio, whatever you can afford.) Consider bartering with a friend who does good recordings in their home studio.
  3. Finish your lyric sheet completely (without chords) – neatly written or typed. Make sure your verses and choruses are separated on the sheet, and easy to read.
  4. Finish your lead sheet with chords (separate from your lyric sheet with chords).
  5. Copyright your Song(s). copyright.gov  This is important!  See my video on “How to Navigate copyright.gov”, available upon request.
  6. Get a good headshot photo taken by a professional photographer. As you schedule your professional photo shoot, (while you are at it) get a few other shots (should have one good headshot, one photo with instrument(s), and 3 or 4 other shots).
  7. Write bio: one or two paragraphs about your Christian music and relationship with Jesus.
  8. Make of summary of your bio for your “One Sheet” (one-page information sheet which includes a small photo, your bio summary, music samples, links to sites that contain your music).
  9. Compile a Press Kit: Hard copy press kit (see below) which you can put into a large envelope; digital forms of these press kits are also known as:  EPK (Electronic Press Kit); DPK (Digital Press Kit).  They contain:
    1. “One Sheet”
    2. Simple recording of song
    3. Photo
    4. Bio
    5. Optional Cover letter to specific person (producer, artist, or label).Cover letters should be intriguing and make the person getting the letter really want to hear your song.  Phrases like “the vibe of Chris Tomlin with shades of Andrew Peterson” or “Audrey Asaad meets Jennie Lee Riddle”.
  10. Begin working on album. Once you have recorded one song, record a few others.  Your album can be as few as three songs, and as many as…10.  It can be recorded at home, in a simple “concert” style, or it can be recorded in a professional recording studio.
  11. Have cards (business cards) printed with your name, phone, email, and web links to your music.
  12. Join a PRO (Performing Rights Organization, i.e. ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc.). Go online and see which suits you best. This is usually a two-year commitment (free).  This is important!
  13. Join as many songwriters groups and professional organizations as appeal to you. (i.e., AOS, NCS, SIS, SONG, NSAI, SONGU, SMPTE, etc.)
  14. Begin an email list of people who contact you about your music. Collect business cards at festivals, have a sign-up sheet or 3 x 5 card ready for fans to sign up, so they can receive emails and your latest news.  Find a good email provider (like MailShotPro).
  15. Begin a trusted social media ‘Artist Page’ with your name, or the name of your band.
  16. Check out aggregators, such as Tunecore
  17. Set up a an account where you can charge for your songs: Bandcamp, Reverbnation, Bandzoogle, similar merchant site.
  18. Get used to charging real money for your songs. Even if it is $1.00 to begin with.
  19. Get used to the idea that you can make home music videos look great…because you can. Have fun with apps such as iMovie, and Videoshop.  Have a friend take a video of you singing your song.  Make simple videos to go with your songs, and add graphics.  Connect with your audience in your videos by singing into the camera frequently, and showing expression with your hands.
  20. Invest in a simple website, or if you can, have a friend design one for you. If your website does not have enough space for all your videos, record them on YouTube and put a link on your website. See WordPress.com, Squarespace.com, etc. For reasonable do-it-yourself websites, already equipped with templates for you to use.
  21. Make friends with a good entertainment attorney, and ask questions often. For attorney referrals, contact Washington Lawyers for the Arts at: org
  22. Refer offers to your attorney. If you are approached by someone who offers you a “deal” or a contract, give them your attorneys name and contact information, and let them know all contracts must be reviewed by your attorney first. This cuts through a lot of garbage, and is very revealing.
  23. Outline Goals for your future in Christian music. Where do you really want to be in 5 years?  Be honest with yourself, and write down what is deep in the corner of your heart.  You can keep this goal private, and not let anyone see it. Some of us are like that.  Or, for the more bold…you can show your goal to a professional manager or producer, who can mentor you, and help you on your way.  Either way, you must define what your passion is:
    1. Touring the country with a famous band?
    2. Writing “behind the scenes” worship songs for churches to sing?
    3. A full-time worship leader?
    4. An independent artist?
    5. A co-writer with a well-known songwriter?
  24. Create a Gear List
  25. Create a Stage Plot
  26. Create an Original Song List
  27. Create a “Cover” List
  28. Learn the Numbering System. Also known as the Nashville Numbering System.  It is the best way to “capo” a song without using a capo.  But if you don’t know music theory, it will be a learning curve.  You can do it!
  29. Finish Your Album. Record album and decide on album cover art. Look at your budget and decide how much you can comfortably spend on recording, cover art, distribution.  You can easily go the DIY route with your first album.  For some ideas, check out http://www.discmakers.com
  30. Schedule a spot in a local music festival, such as “Rock the Church” in Everett, and “Jammin’ for Jesus” held once a month in Mukilteo. County fairs and coffee shops are also alternatives.
  31. Outline your tour schedule for next summer. This will be your first step “on your own”.  Check out “Event Checklist”, and get started 6 months before your summer tour. November / December is a good time to start contacting venues and fairs, and festivals.
  32. Investigate Speaking Engagements, collaborative opportunities, worship leader openings in churches, and unique opportunities to write original Christian songs. Consider weddings, funerals, church events, national events.  All of these need original songs.  If you feel you are ready, make an appointment with the interested parties, and interview people about the subject of the song.  Take notes, then go home and write a beautiful song.  This can be a very lucrative field, and it makes a lot of people happy.
  33. Keep your skills current: take classes and workshops that focus on your weakest points. Don’t ever think that you are as good as you will ever be.  Think about your disappointments, and how you could have been better prepared, or had better skills.  Be pro-active about spotting your own weaknesses musically, and pursue a good teacher.  Consider:  guitar lessons from a classical teacher; vocal lessons (even if it is only once a year) from a world-famous vocal coach; stage training; acting lessons; public speaking; learning a new instrument; co-writing with someone in a different Christian genre than the one you like.  The world is open to you!
  34. Recruit fans to help you build your business. Family, friends, and fans will be thrilled to help you along your way to bringing your music to the world.  As they share with you, they will feel like they contributed to your success.  Let them!  Be generous with your time with your fans, and give them a little something extra when they ask for an autograph on their CD, like a discount on the next show, a signed poster, or a t-shirt.  You have already won their hearts…give them something to brag about!
  35. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”…Proverbs 3:5-6