Submitting Manuscripts


Sonology Music and STEP welcome the opportunity to review new works for possible publication. If you would like to submit a manuscript for publication, please send your music, using the guidelines below, to

Here are our guidelines:

Preparing the Manuscript

  • Neatness counts! Be sure that you are familiar with standards of notation and are submitting a clean, clear manuscript. While there are some details that will be cleaned up later in the editing and engraving process, relying heavily on this is putting the cart before the horse. Simply put, a publishing company is more attracted to a manuscript that requires less work, so spend the time creating a manuscript that is legible and does not need much alteration or reworking. For help with notation standards, refer to Handbell Notation, a pamphlet available from the Handbell Musicians of America  (formerly AGEHR).
  • Composers should not copyright their own compositions. No publisher who wants to stay in business for long will violate copyright laws. However, the legal ins and outs of showing that you have an interest in the work can be taken care of by simply adding “Copyright (year) (composer’s name)” at the bottom of the first page of music. The publisher will take care of further copyright considerations after the piece is accepted for publication.
  • If the material you have arranged is under copyright (original copyright date 1923 or later), you need to secure permission from the copyright holder to create the arrangement and pay the proper copyright fees (which are usually small or even free at this stage). Publication of the arrangement is a separate transaction between Sonology Music/STEP and the copyright owner, so Sonology Music/STEP will consider arrangements of copyrighted material and will take care of the copyright considerations upon acceptance for publication.

Submitting the Work

  • Many publishers have a character or style of music that appears in their catalogs. Sonology Music and STEP are proud to offer a wide range of music from classical transcriptions to original works to hymn arrangements to music for contemporary praise and worship services to arrangements of pop tunes. Because of the lower overhead in web publishing, Sonology Music and STEP are also able to consider a greater proportion of work created from copyrighted material. Even with this broad range of musical styles and difficulty levels, it benefits the writer to examine the catalog and get a feel for the types of music that are of interest to the publisher.
  • Sending the manuscript: 
    • We greatly prefer that a manuscript be sent electronically, either a PDF, Sibelius file, or other electronic file that may be opened with Adobe Acrobat or Sibelius. Note: we do not use Finale, so if your composition is done in Finale, please export to PDF and/or XML which can be opened in Sibelius for submission. Also, send an email “cover letter” so that we have your contact information. 
    • If the manuscript is accepted for publication, Sonology Music/STEP will use your electronic files to speed up the engraving process, so again neatness and completeness count in preparing the electronic manuscript! 
    • You may choose to mail the manuscript. A photocopy of the manuscript (never the original!) may be mailed to Sonology Music by first class mail with a brief cover letter stating that the work is being submitted for possible publication. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you wish the manuscript returned at the end of the review process. Include an email address for all correspondence.
  • Recordings and midi files – You may send a recording of the work or a midi file if you wish. This is often helpful in the consideration of the music, but is not required.
  • You will receive an acknowledgement of receipt of the manuscript – please provide an email address for this purpose.
  • NEVER submit a manuscript to more than one publisher at a time!

Consideration of the Work

  • The review process may take anywhere from a few days (if submitted electronically) to several weeks. If the piece is not accepted for publication, you will be notified by email. If the piece is accepted for publication, you will receive an initial email telling you of the acceptance, then the contracts process will take a few weeks more.


  • Sonology Music sells master copies with a license for purchasers to make a specific number of copies (usually 15) for their own programs only. The writer is usually paid 50% of the price of the piece.
  • Sonology Music also makes individual copies available, though this type of purchase is much less common. The writer is usually paid 50% of the price for individual copies as well.
  • STEP sells PDFs with limited reproduction rights based on the size of the ensemble (1 copy allowed for a solo, 2 for a duet, etc. and the full score is non-reproducible). The writer is usually paid 50% of the price of the piece.
  • Sonology Music and STEP reserve the right to alter the payment due the writer by contract for special situations, particularly situations involving a copyright holder; fees due to the copyright holder vary, and Sonology Music/STEP will make the best decisions possible to keep the price to the customer reasonable and payments to all parties involved equitable. Payments and percentages will be clearly spelled out in the contract.
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