Practical Tips for Touring and Booking
by Lydia Walker Athey
CSMI IMPACT Conference 2015, Gatlinburg, TN
Planning - Keep a calendar, map out your goal. When do you want to book? Where? Keep track of your mileage for tax deductions.
- Make a list of venues or contacts
- Write a short script of what you want to say.
- Place the call or email. Sometimes calling can be terrifying, but keep your goal in mind.
- Ask for the booking, ask about the payment, write down all the details.
- If they say no, ask them to refer you to others or recommend someone else to call who might be a better fit. Give them something to say yes to.
Confirm - Call back ahead of time, confirm details, ask any questions, send flyer or info to promote.
Promote! Make it your goal to be the first person to come to mind when they need a musician. Create Facebook event pages and invite your friends (send reminders with interesting content like videos or links to your music). Send out your schedule to your email list. Print flyers and put them up around town on community boards. Text individuals in area and personally invite them.
Prepare - practice songs, make setlist, send lyrics or videos for projection, plan what to say between songs, remember to mention merch. Spontaneity will flow out of your preparation, and will give you more confidence. Remember to make a plan for travel, food and rest!
Show Up! (On Time = Early) Sound check is important to assure a quality experience. Play the gig, do your best, give 100%. Be confident, smile, be kind. Be respectful. Even if you’re not the most talented musician, people will appreciate a good attitude.
Make contacts- meet people, give out business cards. Say, “Can I give you a card?” or “This is for you”. (If you have a blank back on your cards, you can use it to write extra information and even offer for others to write on the back of your card and keep it.) Encourage the ones who are excited to refer you to their business, friends, family or organization with your card. This is the time when ministry can happen when you can ask about their story. They will remember you positively if the conversation is not all about you :)
Thank the host /contact /sound guy. Smile, make eye contact, say “thank you”. It’s important to let them know that they are appreciated.
Repeat business - they will call you back if you do a good job, communicate well, and show up on time. They will also refer you to others. Feel free to ask them to keep you in mind for future events, and to refer you to others who are booking music. You can also ask people for a review or reference that you can use on your website, press kit, etc.
After the gig,-report to fans how it went. Post highlight photos or video to social media. Use it to expand your audience and start promoting the next gig.
CDBaby.com - Disc Manufacturing and Digital Distribution
MailChimp.com - Email lists made simple and easy
IndieOnTheMove.com - Venues and Booking Contacts organized by location and genre
Find more about Lydia at www.lydiawalkermusic.com
Her new worship album, Communion, is now available for download on iTunes!