In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.

Mortimer J. Adler



The Business

It’s not enough just to be a skilled writer: the more you know about how the industry works, the easier it will be to build a career and make a living out of your art.


Donald S. Passman: All You Need to Know About the Music Business

(Free Press, 2012)

One of the hardest things about being set loose in the industry while you’re still trying to understand how it works is knowing whose advice to trust. Luckily, Donald Passman has channelled his years of experience and wisdom into a single, unbiased tome, covering making deals with lawyers, agents and record companies, how royalties work, how licensing and publishing is done, even what you can expect from a merchandising deal. His book, now in its Eighth Edition, won’t necessarily tell you which offers to take and which to avoid, but it’ll at least help prepare you to make smarter decisions when the time comes.




Dana Singer: Stage Writers Handbook

(Theatre Communications Group, 1996)

The corresponding bible for theatre business affairs is Dana Singer’s Stage Writers Handbook. If your work is likely to be used on the stage — from a single song to an entire show — her sage advice on what to expect will be useful for anyone navigating deals with collaborators, producers and theatre companies alike.