Have you written a fiction or nonfiction book that has music at its core?
Are you now looking for an appropriate publisher for your book?
Continue reading to find out about 17 top music book publishing companies.
Pendragon Press is a publisher located in Sheffield, Massachusetts that specializes in music. Renowned music experts and budding researchers alike usually seek publication from them because of their niche appeal and dedicated team.
Some of its newest exciting titles are Robert Freeman’s biographical Gilbert Kalish: American Pianist and William E. Hettrick’s business book The American Piano Industry. Both of these are part of the Pendragon Press’s American Music and Musicians book series.
Whether your written project is primarily intended for general readers or academics and professionals, you’re more than welcome to send a manuscript. Pendragon Press accepts only physical submissions of unsolicited proposals that must be given to the right editor.
2. LSU Press
The Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is the home of the LSU Press. Established back in 1935, it has published titles about the state and the Southern US that garnered widespread attention and acclaim at the local, national, and international level.
LSU Press has countless award-winning books, one of which is John Bush Jones’s Reinventing Dixie. This historical nonfiction looks at the cultural significance of New York City’s Tin Pan Alley vis-a-vis Southern music. A second acclaimed title is R. A. Lawson’s Jim Crow’s Counterculture, which examines blues music and race.
The esteemed university press is open to unsolicited submissions of nonfiction writing. Works that focus on Southern roots music have better chances of consideration since the editor-in-chief Rand Dotson also serves as an acquisition editor for this particular topic.
Authors in Chicago, Illinois, should look for GIA Publications. Since its inception in 1941, it has grown to include not only Meredith Music but also Walton Music and World Library Production — and there are over 10,000 printed music materials at this point.
Music educators are fond of the GIA Publications catalog. From Eric M. Bluestine’s The Ways Children Learn Music to Diane M. Lange’s Together Again in Harmony, their books offer fun activities, practical advice, and clear instructions.
GIA Publications accepts original music and book proposals that cater to Christian readers. You can send scores for instrumentals and assembly music online. Similarly, the publisher is looking for music learning books that can help everyone from middle-grade percussionists to adult professionals.
The University of Michigan Press is one of the most crucial segments of Michigan Publishing, which in turn is under the University of Michigan Library. Situated in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it excels in history, cultural studies, and music, among other disciplines.
As you might expect, this university press boasts some of the best scholarly reads in the field of music. A fantastic recent addition to its portfolio is Jonathan W. Stone’s historical Listening to the Lomax Archive, which delves into folk songs in 1930s America. Consequently, Yana Stainova’s Sonorous Worlds critically illustrates the power of music in Venezuela.
Given the publisher’s pursuit of academic excellence and integrity across all categories, writers should read the submission guidelines. Furthermore, your proposal should be addressed to Sara Jo Cohen, the current acquisitions editor for music books.
5. Coral Press
Coral Press is a New York-based publisher of musical novels. Simply put, they’re interested in fictional stories that explore people and their relationship with music. Such books illustrate the geospatial, historical, and cultural context of music through imagined lives, offering emotional journeys that you may find in your favorite songs.
Take a look at Sara Holliday’s A Thousand Dances. This historical fiction is set in 1960s London when British blues swept the UK and became a sensational genre among young folks. Likewise, Robert Dunn’s Savage Joy is an urban fiction that features a five-piece punk band.
Coral Press offers one of the most unique collections of music books since they’re in the realm of fiction, which is a stark contrast to publishers who focus on music nonfiction. If you have a story that celebrates artists and music and greatly utilizes elements of blues, jazz, or even pop, go ahead and submit a query online.
Launched in 1973, Chicago Review Press understands the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the stories that people tell. With its commitment to drastically improving the representation of marginalized sectors in the publishing industry, this independent business in Chicago, Illinois, releases around 50 new books annually across five imprints.
Chicago Review Press publishes both entertaining and educational music books. While Dorothy Carvello’s Anything for a Hit is an eye-opening biography about a woman’s success and daily obstacles in the music business, Stephanie Crease’s Music Lessons is a well-reviewed book for parents to teach their kids about musical instruments.
Authors in search of a collaborative and highly strategic publishing approach should consider submitting a proposal to Chicago Review Press. Specifically, interested writers should email their nonfiction proposal to Kara Rota, the current acquisitions editor for music books.
7. Piano Press
Elizabeth C. Axford founded Piano Press in Del Mar, California, to offer educational music materials that teachers and students can greatly enjoy and benefit from regardless of their age and level of expertise. With the help of remarkable composers, teachers, and creatives, the publisher has built a steady catalog of original song compilations and instructional music books alike.
While many of its paperback sheet music materials are only several pages long, the publisher also has Elizabeth C. Axford’s four-book My Christmas Fun, which is 160 pages in total. Similarly, Amber Lynn Dixon’s Childhood Dreamscapes is a 28-page wonder filled with solo piano lessons.
Unfortunately, the publisher is closed to physical submissions of unsolicited material. On the bright side, you can send online queries to Piano Press. Refrain from immediately attaching audio files or documents until the editor asks for them.
8. Alfred Music
Sam Manus founded Manus Music a century ago in New York City, New York. Today, the company is known as Alfred Music and is headquartered in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California. More importantly, millions of people around the world have come to better appreciate music thanks to their published materials.
You’ll never run out of things to learn from Alfred Music. They have books for members of orchestras, bands, and both secular and sacred chorales. Dave Black and Tom Gerou’s Essentials of Orchestration should be recommended reading for veteran composers and orchestra aficionados alike, for example.
Alfred Music seeks excellent writing from anyone regardless of ethnicity, gender, race, nationality, or any other characteristic. In fact, the team encourages authors from marginalized groups to send unsolicited proposals, especially if they’re for publication under different Choral series.
9. A-R Editions
Gary Aamodt and Clyde Rykken established A-R Editions 60 years ago when they were at Yale University. Thanks to their hard work and dedication, the company based in Middletown, Wisconsin, is now widely sought by researchers, educational institutions, and music aficionados for their invaluable publications.
One of the most interesting titles under A-R Editions is David Cope’s Experiments in Musical Intelligence since it delves into technical aspects such as language processing and analyses to understand how music composition works.
This publisher is highly interested in works that focus on the changing landscape of music because of digital technology. If your research tackles music production software, digital audio, or the impact of artificial intelligence on music, read the proposal submission guidelines for the Digital Audio Series.
10. Hal Leonard
Harold Edstrom, Everett Edstrom, and Roger Busdicker are the three founders of Hal Leonard, which also happens to be the name of their former band. Since 1947, this publisher in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has always pushed for innovation, which is why they now have leading music materials on both physical and digital platforms.
Hal Leonard has a treasure trove of music books that deal with a wide variety of aspects: performances, instrument prices, digital audio production, copyright law, music publishing, and interviews with artists. Check David W. Hewitt’s On the Road and Allen Bargfrede’s Music Law in the Digital Age to get a better idea of what they publish.
Sadly, the company isn’t open to unsolicited submissions. As of writing, Hal Leonard primarily relies on its own outstanding group of artists and professionals to create and publish music books.
Dr. Simon V. Anderson launched Clifton Hills Press four decades ago because he wanted to provide the best educational music books for his university students. Today, Daniel Abrell serves as the CEO of the publisher based in Valparaiso, Indiana.
The publisher is the home of three inquisitive and informative authors: Dr. Simon V. Anderson, Dr. Gerard Aloisio, and Dr. Warren J. Anderson. Together, they made not only the landmark music appreciation book The Musical Imperative but also the comprehensive and historical Pop Music, USA.
Authors seeking publication from Clifton Hills Press should find an agent to represent them. At present, the company doesn’t entertain unsolicited proposals.
The University of California Press has been the go-to publisher of intellectual music books for scholars and general readers since its founding in 1893. Operating in Berkeley, California, it strives to promote awareness and social justice through literary means.
Avid readers of books from this university press appreciate its broad range of music topics. From David Blum’s Casals and the Art of Interpretation to Joseph Kerman’s The Art of Fugue, its portfolio will always have something for people interested in classical music, opera, pop music, and even ethnomusicology.
From academicians to veteran creatives and professionals, the University of California Press is looking for authors to contribute valuable knowledge about music. The first step in the submission process is to seek the right acquisitions editor. If the editor asks for your proposal, you can send a digital or physical copy.
13. Ibex Publishers
Situated in Bethesda, Maryland, Ibex Publishers is dedicated to the enrichment and provision of Persian culture. Interestingly, this indie company has titles about Iran that would never have been released in the country itself.
If you’re eager to learn more about Persian music, you should read Mehrdad Fallahzadeh’s Two Treatises – Two Streams and celebrated composer Hormoz Farhat’s biographical Present Past.
Initially, writers should only send a book prospectus to help Ibex Publishers determine if they want to further examine your work for possible publication. Don’t send your complete manuscript. Unsolicited submissions must also follow certain guidelines.
14. Last Gasp
In 1970, Ron Turner established a publishing company that catered to readers of alternative comics and books. More than 50 years later, the San Francisco-based Last Gasp continues its legacy of discovering and representing underground storytellers while consistently earning rave reviews from media outlets.
Unsurprisingly, Last Gasp has an eccentric catalog of music titles. The latest iteration of Eric Lefcowitz’s Monkee Business is a must-have for enthusiasts of American vintage pop and rock. If you’re interested in amusing yet insightful criticism, read Brandan Kearney’s Warm Voices Rearranged.
For the most part, Last Gasp isn’t interested in unsolicited book proposals. However, authors should still message the publisher about their work. The chances aren’t high, but there’s nothing wrong with trying your luck.
Dan Simon launched Seven Stories Press 27 years ago to preserve and encourage unhindered creativity and brave storytelling. As one of the most successful independent publishers in the world, the company located in New York City, New York, is a haven for authors who are not afraid to challenge the status quo and exercise their rights.
If you like music biographies, Seven Stories Press has a few exceptional titles available. For one, James Mitchell’s The Walrus and the Elephants looks into the social and political aspects of John Lennon’s life. Consequently, Mike Marqusee’s Wicked Messenger tackles similar issues but with a focus on Bob Dylan instead.
Seven Stories Press has regrettably closed its submission window for unsolicited proposals. Thus, authors should seek agent representation to improve their chances of being considered (and published) by more companies in the industry.
Located in Northampton, Massachusetts, Interlink Publishing has three imprints: Crocodile Books, Olive Branch Press, and Interlink Books. All in all, the independent company has more than 1,000 books so far that serve young and adult readers alike — and 50 more books are added annually.
In 2009, the publisher released Garry Steckles’s enlightening music biography book Bob Marley: A Life. Eleven years later, it published Mary Auld’s How to Build an Orchestra, a vivid children’s book that was crafted in cooperation with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Interlink Publishing is open to unsolicited query submissions. If you’ve spent enough time browsing their titles and you believe that your work belongs in their catalog, go ahead and send them an email.
Undoubtedly one of the most prestigious publishers in the world (and the biggest of its kind), the Oxford University Press in Oxford, UK, dates back to 1586. By 1896, it had an office in New York City, New York, to reach more readers and accelerate knowledge building and social progress.
Due to its long history, this publisher has no scarcity in music books. Topics range from sound studies and musicology to music theory, performance practice, and music journalism. Check out recent releases like Zachary Wallmark’s Nothing But Noise and Lawrence F. Bernstein’s Inside Mahler’s Second Symphony.
The Oxford University Press has prepared a complete submission guide for authors. Writers are in luck because there are several editors like Michelle Chen, Norm Hirschy, and Lauralee Yeary who specifically look for new scholarly works about music.
Do you know of any other music book publishing companies? Please tell us about them in the comments box below!
Shikha Pandey is a creative, content and script writer based in Mumbai, India.