10 Mistakes Artists Make When Booking Themselves

© 2008 Vinny Ribas

  1. Bragging: It is not about how good you are! It’s always all about how you can help the person or the venue hiring you meet their goals!
  2. Making too many or unreasonable demands. This sends up an immediate red flag that says, “These guys will be difficult to work with.” Be satisfied with getting the gig, do an amazing job, and you will earn the right to ask for extras. Many times you’ll even get them without having to ask.[private_member]
  3. Insisting on free drinks. The impression you give the buyer is that he is hiring a bunch of drunks. The best policy is to not drink at all on the gig. Let the buyer know that it is important to you that you and your band are at the top of your game at all times.
  4. Submitting a bad or incomplete promo package. This screams that you are an amateur, not a professional. Be sure to include as many of thee as possible: a picture, a short bio, a press release that they can use, song list, references, reviews and a live CD or DVD (preferred). You can include your latest CD, but buyers know that anything recorded in the studio can be doctored to make it sound or look much better than it is live. Be sure it looks professional. isn’t filled with mistakes or papers with food stains on them and is in a nice presentation folder.
  5. Not providing references. Good, reputable references can open doors that would otherwise be closed to you. This is especially true if the venue doesn’t know you and/or your reputation.
  6. Inappropriate or lack of follow-up. Calling a buyer every couple of days just to see if any dates came free makes you a nuisance. On the other hand, a phone call a week or 2 after a buyer should have received your promo package is acceptable. Better yet, ask them when they would like y0ou to follow up, and then be sure to do it exactly when they directed you to.
  7. Acting unprofessionally is a great way to get turned down immediately. Using offensive language, calling or dropping in during a buyer’s busiest time of the day, dropping in dressed in rags or putting down other acts are all examples of unprofessionalism that will turn a buyer off before thy even open your promo materials. You need to come across like a professional service provider.
  8. Showing a bad attitude is an immediate turn-off. Complaining about not getting a gig sooner on the calendar and/or whining about the money you’re offered are 2 examples of ways to lose any chance of getting the gig. Stay positive, appreciative, understanding and patient.
  9. Not doing your homework about the venue and/or the buyer can be trouble. Whenever possible, before you cold call a buyer, try to find out what their budget range is, how far in advance they fill their calendar, what styles of music they book, how big the room is etc. The more you know up front, the more professional you will come across.
  10. Not having your calendar ready when you make your calls. You never know when the buyer has been struggling to fill one or more dates. You also may be asked to be an emergency replacement for an act that had to cancel. Be sure that you only keep one master calendar and that it is up to date. There’s nothing worse than double-booking yourself and having to call and cancel one of the dates.[/private_member]

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.