I have noticed that a lot of venue bookers are more than happy to organize gigs by email these days.
And this is great…
Because it saves calling, getting an answering machine, getting no call back, calling again a few times until you catch the booker but he or she has had a bad day and you’re nervous and they smell blood and it all goes really badly and because you’re the artist you feel personally rejected when it doesn’t go so great and then you want to give up and slit your wrists…
I’m sure you know the drill.
If you have bad email skills it can still go pear-shaped so here is:
A Simple Crash Course in Emailing Venue-Bookers about Gigs
1) Be Polite – “hope this finds you well”, “thanks for your time” etc.
2) Be brief – get in and get out.
3) Get a name, spell it correctly and use it like this “Hi Fred,” not “Dear Fred” (it’s not a letter to your grandma).
4) If you can’t find a name or aren’t sure just start with “Hi,” (Not “to whom it may concern”).
5) DON’T USE CAPS (it’s shouting), and proofread over your spelling, grammar etc before you press send. They aren’t going to grade your use of the Queen’s English but you don’t want to come across like some semi-literate moron do you? It amazes me how many perfectly intelligent people don’t realise how bad excessive spelling mistakes and other typos make them look.
6) Keep all details to a minimum, don’t bother talking about money or anything too presumptive just yet.
7) Briefly point out your experience level, but don’t tell your life story.
8 ) If you think it’s appropriate (it usually is unless your applying to get on some kind of pre-existing bill), come prepared with a ready made line-up (i.e. other musicians to play the night with you).
9) Point out that you will do your best to promote the gig, i.e. find an angle like “it’s a CD launch” or “I have a lot of friends in the area who I will invite”, etc.
10) Link to your music on Myspace, Facebook, or even better, BandCamp.com. Alternatively you could link to a youtube clip but only if you have one that doesn’t suck. (Ok so you should probably have a fancy electronic media kit right? Well, sure, but most gig bookers won’t read them so don’t worry if you haven’t gotten that organised yet.)
11) Give a phone number in case they prefer to follow up by phone. And once they email you back with some kind of positive interest, take a chance: wait a day or two, then call them on the phone. Seriously, once you’ve made a positive connection, phone is more efficient and will usually get you better results. Why? Because it is easy to ignore or forget about an email, and easy to go with the pro-active guy who follows up by phone (and is polite about it). See what Derek Sivers says about being persistent and following up.
Anything to add to the list? Drop it in the comment box below.