Publishing Music At Home
by Stacey Tipton
Musical Spanish is a project I've been working on for nearly 5 years. It all began with an idea I had one day while finishing up my M.A. in Latin American studies. It seemed so simple to find some songs and use them as the basis for a language teaching book and CD. Surely a publishing company would see the potential in such a project! The next few years turned into an exercise in tenacity, as one big company after another expressed enthusiasm in the project, only to find a reason not to commit in the end. I suppose it was ambitious to assume that I could overcome the hurdles of music licensing or the inherent aversion to new and risky products that most publishing companies have, but I knew the idea was good. So I kept sending out demo chapters and proposals.
After 3 years of rejection letters and near misses, I eventually found a small publishing house that was willing to publish the project, but we couldn't agree on the budget. The publisher suggested I consider applying for venture capital in order to fund the book and music development properly. Then it dawned on me: why should I go to the trouble of getting venture capital, only to allow this guy the control and majority of the profits for all of my hard work? I was fortunate enough to secure private funding from family members, and my little company was born.
During the past year the majority of my book and CD sales have come through the internet-a wonderful tool enabling me to reach customers all over the globe. Learning how to build the website was as easy as learning to use a word processing program. Being my own webmaster also allows me to make changes and additions regularly, keeping the website current and as attractive as possible. My website is a far cry from first site I created a year ago! Aside from good design and content, the most important ongoing job has been promotion. This includes finding as many sites as possible to link to my own site, getting listed in all of the major directories, and optimizing my web pages so that they rank at the top of a web search for anything related to Spanish or Spanish teaching tools. It has been a lot of hard work, but it has definitely paid off. I get nearly 30,000 unique visitors a month, and receive many emails each week from users who have enjoyed the site. This has helped sales and also the word of mouth campaign about my teaching program and my website.
The great thing about working at home is that you can set your own schedule, and you get to be your own boss. I love feeling that I am in control of my own destiny-if I work hard, I will make this business a success! A few years back when I was a struggling writer, I had lunch with a fellow aspiring writer who had written several fiction books but was afraid to submit them to publishers. He asked me "aren't you afraid of failing?" I said "No way! I'm not afraid of failure, because I am the one who decides when this thing has failed. And I'll never accept failure as an option." Well, working for yourself, you get a chance to really test that theory#133;.there are days when a consistent paycheck would seem like a Godsend. But since YOU are the one who decides just how hard you're willing to work, which options you are willing to pursue, how creative you are willing to be to help promote your business, success is up to you. When I look back on the 5 years I've spent working on Musical Spanish, the most important thing I have learned is that hard work, research, flexibility, and tenacity (with a little bit of stubbornness thrown in!) can overcome just about any obstacle.
Written by Stacey Tipton, author of Musical Spanish, learn through pop music! (The Musical Linguist, LC) Stacey has her own small business in Miami Beach, FL. She is a former teacher and holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University. Visit Musical Spanish online at
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The Musical Linguist
Revolutionizing Language Learning!