This guest post comes to us via Annabelle Short.

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Now, here’s Annabelle to talk about how to book gigs on your own.

Playing live on the stage in a room full of people can be exciting. But booking gigs can be a very challenging process – particularly if you are doing all the booking on your own.

If you have a new band, playing live in front of a crowd of people can be the easiest and quickest way to build up a loyal fan base, get some attention from the media, and perhaps, attract a record label deal.

Gigs are often the most effective way to build an audience and promote your new release.

But if you’re not feeling up to the challenge of booking gigs on your own, don’t worry, just follow these simple steps and you’ll land your band onstage before long.

Booking Gigs on Your Own: The Easy Way

Here are four simple steps you can follow to book your own gigs.

Step #1: Prepare Your Promotional Materials

Before you even book gigs on your own, you need to take care of a few things. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

First, you’ll need to demonstrate your abilities as a musician or band. For this, you’ll need some promotional materials, such as:

A website, a finished album (CD) or a demo, your band’s contact information, and any media coverage your band has received. Also see: Elements of a Press Kit [INFOGRAPHIC]

Once you have these promotional materials ready, you’ll also need to have a good idea of when and where you want to play. You can’t just approach a promoter randomly for a gig and hope to get one. You’ll have to send a clear message that you’re a professional band seeking regular work.

Let them know your availability and preferred dates for the gigs, and make sure all members of your band are available for those days, too.

Step #2: Get in Touch with the Venue or Promoter

So, you got your promotional materials ready – a what’s next? Whom should you send it to? The answer is simple. You can either:

  1. Call a venue of your choosing and book directly. You can call a venue of your choosing and learn how they run events there. You can also ask them for advice on how other bands in your area are working with a venue agent or a promoter. Remember, if you opt to take this route, you assume all the responsibilities and costs of promoting the show.
  2. Contact a promoter who’ll manage your show. If you can, get the names of a few different promoters from a venue and send them your demos, CDs, and promo packages.

Step #3: Strike Up a Deal

A good deal is part of what makes a good gig. But there’s something you should be aware of – you might not make money playing gigs, and sometimes you can even lose money.

So, if you’re a new band and don’t have hundreds of fans following you yet, focus on making fans instead of trying to make money.

Demonstrating to your promoter and/or venue that you are willing to minimize financial risk will also give them another reason to keep working with you.

What should your deal detail? Well, your deal must explain how any income generated from the show will be divided. It must also include information about accommodation for the band, backline, riders, and soundchecks.

If something is bothering you because you’re unsure about it or you think it’s not fair, you should speak up with your promoter and/or venue well in advance to clear things up.

Step #4: Show Up & Play a Good Show

Now all that’s left to do is show up at the venue and perform. Be professional and treat everyone with respect. Though alcohol can be a major temptation at bars and pubs, go easy on it if you know it can affect your performance.

And, even if you have a bad night, if you treat everyone with respect, most promoters will want to work with you again. On the other hand, if you make a big mess and stress everyone out, you probably won’t get a call back.

Final Thoughts: Book Gigs on Your Own!

No matter what happens, see every gig as an opportunity to showcase and promote new releases, and share anything of interest with your fans. And, last but not the least, ask people to sign up for your email list so that you can let them know when and where you’ll be performing again.

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Annabelle Short

Annabelle Carter Short is a blogger and resident of Los Angeles. When not working at a LA publishing house, she's spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits. Annabelle is a mother, and in her free time she loves to sew and make crafts with her two children, Leo (age 9) and Michelle (age 11).

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