Several budding composers have asked my advice on submitting manuscripts to publishing companies. I’ve given them a few suggestions, but I recently found this Guide to Submitting Manuscripts from the Lorenz Corporation that captures a lot of the things that composers need to consider before submitting manuscripts.
There is excellent advice contained in this document including researching the “personality” of the publishing company to which you would like to submit manuscripts. Each company has its own style of music that they publish (some are liturgical only, some are more contemporary, some are educational only, etc.) and submitting a different style to them would be a waste of time.
Probably the most important, but least known fact about submitting manuscripts is this: Never submit the same piece to more than one publisher at a time. If you are accepted by both, you will have to say “no” to one of them, thereby burning that bridge and probably losing the opportunity to work with them in the future!
Many publishers indicate on their websites that they are “not accepting unsolicited manuscripts at this time.” It is important to remember though that if you have the chance to connect with that particular editor, especially in person, they may tell you a different story if you present something to them that meets a need in their catalogue.
Networking is the best thing any composer can do to get published! You never know who you are going to meet, who they know, and how you might get connected with a publisher. If you are on this path, good luck!