The diva life is one that looks graceful, easy, and fun on the outside but looks like a lot of work when up close. 29 Days to Diva is all about getting to work and making your own opportunities. Any singer can fly by the train of her gown for a while, but a diva needs planning, organization, and systematic follow-up to ensure she is getting the gigs that will propel her career. Every phone call you make and every email you write can lead to your next gig. Including booking sessions in your daily administrative work will increase your bookings exponentially.
Your 29 Days to Diva – Day 22 Assignment: Write your own booking templates
Booking gigs through email can be an effective way for musicians to secure performance opportunities at venues. We want the momentum from these booking sessions to act like compounding interest. Compounding interest is the interest that you earn on interest. Now, change which definition you’re using of interest to the feeling of wanting to give your attention to something or of wanting to be involved with and to discover more about something. You will use these scripts to familiar and new presenters to build name recognition and establish yourself in the local/regional performance scene. That buzz will help you get gigs on top of other gigs. You are aiming for various opportunities during these booking sessions which include both auditions and performances. Remember, I want you to optimize for both time freedom and financial freedom in your diva life. Having a gig-getting system will be an important key for both.
Build Your Gig-Getting Systems
Venue information form
Do you know all of the possible performance venues in your area? Begin by researching and identifying venues that are suitable for your genre of music and target audience. Look for venues that have a history of hosting live music events and have a size and vibe that align with your music style. Start filing your venue information forms away for performance spaces in your immediate area first. Then, branch out and keep adding forms for regional locations. Traveling for an upcoming gig? Add some venue forms to your folder for that area. If you are able to think outside the box, there is no limit to the potential performance spaces available to you.
Look for the appropriate contact person at each venue. This is often the talent buyer or booking agent. Check the venue’s website, social media pages, or online directories to find contact information such as email addresses or phone numbers.
Answer these prompts, borrowed from Be Your Own Booking Agent, to complete the venue information form:
State ________ Venue Name ______________ Time Zone ___
Address _______________ City, State, Zip _______________
Booking Contact ____________________
Phone ___________ Email __________________________
Best Time to Contact ________________________________
Performance Types _________________________________
Performance Frequency ______________________________
General Performance Season __________________________
Booking Time Frame ________________________________
Recent Acts Presented ______________________________
Venue Capacity ___________________________________
Sound and Light Systems ____________________________
Ticket Pricing Policy _______________________________
General Working Budget ____________________________
Call Date _____________ Follow-up? _________________
Stretch your fingers because writing venue scripts is something that you’ll need to do on your own. Who knows your project/recital/voice better than you? Schedule some time during your “office hours” or admin sessions to compose multiple scripts to be used for various performance opportunities. Anticipate the scripts you will need: auditions, festivals, performing arts centers, bars, coffee shops, art museums, house concerts, etc. You will want your scripts to be appropriate for both phone calls and emails.
Write a concise and professional email to introduce yourself and your music. Include relevant information such as your ensemble/artist name, genre, experience, and links to your music or online presence. Personalize the email for each venue by mentioning why you believe your music would be a good fit for their venue.
It’s important to include supporting materials. You’ll want to link any promotional materials such as your press kit, EPK (electronic press kit), or relevant recordings in the body of your email. This will help the venue/presenter get a better understanding of your music and why you’re a good fit for the audience they’re cultivating.
Clearly state what you are looking for, whether it’s a specific date for a gig, a slot in a lineup, or the chance to audition for their house/program. Provide options and be flexible with dates and times to increase your chances of securing a booking.
Tip: use templates in your email!! If you’re a Gmail user, like me, then you simply need to turn on the function in your settings. Then, you can save your templates in your email and use them over and over to help you book gigs! I have a little saying in my business, “Never write an email more than twice.” Any time you find yourself writing a similar email more than a couple of times, turn that puppy into a template!
Communicating with familiar presenters
Once you have had a successful performance with a venue which demonstrated your ability to draw a sizable audience, you are in a better position to offer them a future event. Develop a script that you can use as the outline of your conversations with familiar presenters. This script is a foundation to explore possible performance opportunities. Does the venue also have a festival? Suggest another performance that coordinates with their programming.
Keep solid stats about your performances – number of tickets sold, total revenue, even bar sales if you think it will help seal the deal. Refer to those stats in your communication. Know your goals before you initiate conversation. Do you want them to book you for a performance? Want to schedule an audition for a conductor? Focus the conversation on the desired outcome.
The secret: ask the people who can make it happen.
Doesn’t it just make more sense to be in charge of your career rather than feeling like it is all up to chance somehow? It is really your responsibility to make a living at this career. No one is coming to save your career and make you a superstar overnight. Every phone call you make and every email you write can lead to your next gig. When you are an emerging singer you need to spend more time reaching out. The secret is: ask the people who can make it happen.
Booking gigs through email can be a numbers game, and it may require persistence and patience. However, with a well-crafted email, relevant supporting materials, and a professional approach, musicians can increase their chances of booking gigs at venues through email communication.