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  • Custom Songbook: 7 Steps to Create a Great Songbook

    custom songbook icon
    Digital Printing, Self-publishing

    If you’re a lyricist, you may have written a lot of songs, but they’re scattered all over the place. Putting them together in a custom songbook will help you realize how much work you’ve done and create a portfolio you can use to market your songwriting skills to agents and artists. Here’s a 7-step guide to custom songbook printing.

    Why You Need a Custom Songbook

    As a songwriter, you focus on moving people’s emotions through music and lyrics. You might wonder why you need a book, which is a highly visual medium. But custom songbook printing has several benefits for a songwriter.

    • Helps you organize your material: Having all your work gathered in a book, instead of scattered all over your home or studio, will help you feel organized and in control.
    • Provides a portfolio: A showcase of your best work is a portfolio that every artist needs. It helps you see what you’ve accomplished and makes it easier to approach people in your industry looking for songwriters.
    • Share with others: Your family and friends may have shown interest in your songwriting. Maybe they’ve been your most supportive fans. Show them how much you appreciate them by giving them their own collection of your favorite lyrics.
    • See how far you’ve come: By gathering your work together, you can see how you’ve grown as an artist and how far you’ve come from your early days. It is a satisfying way to keep your creative urge alive.

    1. Gather Your Material for Your Custom Songbook

    Start by pulling together every song you’ve written. Include published songs, unpublished songs, and lyrics that haven’t yet found a tune to go with them. It’s time to organize everything into a published portfolio that displays your best work.

    If you have a lot of songs, take some time to sort through and ruthlessly cull out the ones that don’t make the cut. Focus on presenting only your best work in your custom songbook. That doesn’t mean you have to toss the others, but you may want to save them for another book or your trusty filing system. Your custom songbook should focus on the work that make you stand out as an artist.

    2. Organize Your Songs

    Now that you’ve picked out all the best ones, decide how you want to organize your songs in your custom songbook. One easy way to do this is by theme, dedicating a chapter each to, for instance, Love Songs, Songs About Heartbreak, Dance Songs, Upbeat Songs, Ballads, and Thoughtful/Meditative Songs.

    You could also organize your songs according to their musical style or other elements that help the reader find them. Use your creativity. Do your songs fit seasonal themes, or themes related to your life like family, friends, hobbies, or travel? Choose the categories that best fit your style.

    3. Choose a Design for Your Custom Songbook

    Before you start designing your custom sonbook, begin by folding or stapling together several sheets of paper to create a mockup. Use the same number of pages that you decided you’ll need, keeping in mind that you can always change your mind.

    Look at each page, starting from the cover. Jot down what you want on each page, whether it’s text, pictures, or ads from sponsors. Once you have your rough layout on paper, you can start working on the actual design and layout.

    4. Use a Template to Design Your Custom Songbook

    You don’t have to be a professional designer to produce a nicely designed book that you’ll be proud to show off. Even without any experience in graphic design, you can easily design your book with the help of a template. Templates have made it easy for anyone to design flyers, brochures, and even books. Use a customizable template from Microsoft Word, Adobe, Canva, or Templates.net. These take just a few minutes to figure out and have interactive help guides to help you every step of the way.

    5. Add Artwork and Illustrations to Your Custom Songbook

    Beautiful songs deserve beautiful illustrations that enhance their message. Choose images that reflect the content of your lyrics. Add graphic elements to your pages to give them a professionally designed look.

    Even a simple, black-and-white custom songbook will be enhanced by photography, artwork, and other pictures. You don’t have to pay for gorgeous, professional-looking graphics and pictures. You can find free artwork that is also copyright-free from sites like:

    • Pixabay
    • Pexels
    • Freerange
    • Gratisography
    • Unsplash

    6. Design a Cover

    The cover is the first thing a reader judges a book by, and that includes a book of song lyrics. Your book’s cover is an important part of its marketing appeal. If you have room in your budget, use it to hire a graphic artist to design your front cover. What if you don’t have the money or are just publishing the book for your own interest?

    You can still go ahead with your songbook printing. Remember what we said about templates for design? You guessed it, there are also templates that can help you design a book cover. They include:

    • Adobe Illustrator
    • Fotor
    • Visme
    • Canva
    • Template.net
    • Microsoft Word

    7. Choose Professional Songbook Printing

    Professional printing makes all the difference when you’re publishing a custom songbook. If you’re new to publishing, follow our tips to learn what binding style will work with the number of pages you plan to print. Your printer can also help you make the right paper choice for your songbook.

    Songbook Printing Tips

    Professional printing gives you several options when choosing a binding style, size, and other elements of your book.

    Perfect binding

    In perfect binding, the book is published with a soft cover that includes a wide, firm spine suitable for printing. Perfect binding is the preferred style of most self-published writers because it’s more affordable than hardcover printing and allows printing on the spine.

    Tips for perfect binding:

    • The songbook page count should be in multiples of 2.
    • You will need a front cover and back cover.
    • Your book should have a minimum of 40 pages to keep the book from looking too thin.
    • Uncoated paper works best for interior pages in perfect binding, but you can use glossy or coated paper on the covers.

    Wire binding

    Wire and coil binding both refer to a binding style that uses coils punched through holes to connect the book pages. It’s commonly used in workbooks, planning journals, and recipe books. When you choose this style, you must take the wired spine into account when you design the book’s layout. You don’t want to “punch out” any important text or pictures.

    In wire binding, the printer uses double metal wires to hold the pages together. In coil binding, the rings are plastic. This binding can be a good choice for songbook printing because it allows the book to stay flat when it’s open. That makes the book easy to read when it’s on a counter or a desktop. On the other hand, it produces a bulky book that some people find unattractive. You also can’t put the book’s name on the spine of a wire-bound book.

    Tips for wire and coil binding:

    • Your songbook page count must be in multiples of 2.
    • You can choose different papers for the interior and covers.
    • You must design a separate front and back cover.

    Saddle stitch binding

    This binding style is less common than perfect or coil binding. In this style, the printer uses staples along one side of the page to hold a book together. Although it is affordable, saddle stitch binding does not produce the attractive, professional result that perfect binding or wire binding do. Besides esthetics, it has other drawbacks. It doesn’t work well for larger books and doesn’t allow printing on the spine.

    Tips for saddle stitch binding:

    • The maximum page number is 80.
    • It won’t work with heavier stock.
    • Your songbook page count must be in multiples of 4.

    Create a Custom Songbook with Our Help

    At Dazzle Printing, we specialize in working with all types of creative, artistic people. If you are a first-time writer publishing your own songbook, we can help you with affordable rates and personalized customer service. Contact us today to learn more.


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