How to Make & Sell Your Own Recording by Diane Sward Rapaport

What does it say about the music industry that two of the very best how-to guides for novices are written by women? Perhaps nothing, more likely a lot. When Diane Rapaport wrote the first edition of How to Make & Sell… in 1978, it was an immediate hit in the independent music community. My personal copy of that edition must have circulated among about a dozen artists, the last of whom never returned that scruffy dog-eared copy. With just her easy-to-read tome in hand, any artist could (with just a little bit of cash, of course) put their recording out to market. Things have changed quite a bit since then (CDs and cyberspace, for example), but this handbook remains as thorough and useful as ever, thanks in part to Rapaport’s latest revisions. Alongside her step-by-step recommendations are plenty of firsthand experiences by various industry professionals who candidly share secrets to their successes and failures. Jazz recordings being largely the domain of independents, at least in terms of volume, this book is quite simply essential reading for anyone taking the plunge into recording.

Goldstein’s book is no less informative and works as a perfect companion piece to Rapaport’s. Goldstein made her mark in the folk community, but her brass-tack suggestions are appropriate to the jazz market. This ironically self-published book contains advice on everything from developing a promotional package to building a tour. It’s also filled with valuable lists and resources. Like Rapaport’s, Goldstein’s guide contains helpful blurbs, though from a wider range of established people in the industry. Appearing in the margins of just about every page, these anecdotal tips provide fascinating and even occasionally conflicting detail. Thanks to these two books by these two knowledgeable and generous women, there’s little left for an artist to learn, except by doing. And buying these books would be the first thing to do.