First and biggest mistake of all songwriters/bands is going into the studio without a producer. You will need to have enough songs to pick from, I say 30 per record.
If you are like me you are always trying to get a new gig somewhere. Every Venue pretty much wants the same thing, and the bottom line always comes to your recording. It is very important to have something quality for the potential employer to hear, and not some shitty live recording or basement tape.