Now, assuming that your entire recording is finished and that you have a marketing plan, the next focus is gathering all the information about your album. If you wish to send the master copy to someone who can duplicate your CD, there are several things that should be sent along with it.
The most important things are the credits and writing that go inside your CD insert/panels, and the CD art. Things such as song writing credits, singing credits, when and where you recorded your songs, and even a thank you list should be sent along with the master. Also important are the song lyrics, song times, a short bio, and acknowledgements from the band. Having all the information ready from the get-go saves a lot of time later on! Besides the inside text, there should also be the CD art.
The art should include high-quality pictures of individual members or the whole group, in B&W or colour, or drawings. A good guideline for the pictures would be 300 lines of resolution, or a professional quality picture. Another option to sending in a lot of pictures and text is to have a graphic artist prepare the layout and look of the CD for you before it's sent in. Having the art prepared before hand makes the manufacturing process a lot easier. Earlier, I mentioned that a good thing you could include in the insert would be a bio. But you ask, what are the things you should in a bio?
The answer is everything important about your band! Who plays what instrument, how long the band has been together, perhaps past successes, what your musical influences are, where the band comes from, etc. The bio should reveal the basic information about you. After art, layout, and text are done, what a manufacturer or graphic artist will often do is give you a proof of the CD design. The proof is a rough copy of the design, which you are allowed to edit. This is the stage where you can change typos, add information you forgot, or get rid of elements you don't want, and have it approved by everyone in the band.
To be on the safe side, proof your audio master as well just to make sure there are no errors there either, and that everything sounds the way it should. Once all the text and art is placed the way you want and the proofs are done, you're ready for the final stage. This includes payment for the manufacturing (one half up front), and two important letters. These should also be sent quickly to get manufacturing underway, so faxing it is best. One letter should deal with the permission given to use the art on the album. The other should say that permission to duplicate the copyright is given. Without these letters, the CDs can't be manufactured. After the letters and payment, all the red tape is done! Your CD is ready for manufacturing, and will be sent to a plant. The estimated time to produce the CD is 7-10 days.