2. Start small. “You need to make it REALLY easy for yourself to succeed, so look for opportunities to play that are happening within the next 12 months and that are within a 100 mile radius of you. Have a goal of 25 dates a year to start and do a short run of CD’s to sell at your merch table.”
3. Realize that it will take you twice as long and cost you three times as much money as you thought it would. Chris encourages his artists t “Be looking for as many opportunities to play as you can. Even if it occasionally costs you to travel to the show and you’re essentially paying to play, DO IT! The idea is that you’re constantly planting seeds”. Artists should be constantly looking for opportunities to plant seeds; the more you plant, the more you begin to open yourself up to getting endorsements; and paid gigs.
4. Do covers. Build a 20 minute set and make sure to include covers of songs in your same genre. “Audiences need to see how well you sound musically, and a cover allows them a tool in which to easily compare. If you can do a cover and you can do it WELL, that gives you street cred. People want to bob their head and sing along. Make it easy for them to sing along!” Chris goes on: “The more you can engage your audience, the better; even if it means doing an old Bee Gee’s song that is rearranged. If people are singing along, they’re engaged and if they’re engaged, you are helping to increase your merch sales at the end of the show.”
5. You don’t have to be the best salesperson to start booking, you just have to be deliberate. “Having a friend, parent, sibling or fan do booking for you is never a bad idea; but you have to understand that they can never convey the passion that you have for your ministry in the way that you can”, Chris warns, “Don’t worry about your lack of sales expertise, just do it and be persistent.”
6. Give yourself as much lead time as possible when booking a show. The more time you give yourself, the more options you give yourself. Chris notes: “What if your lead singer gets laryngitis? What if you’re having trouble moving tickets? What if a band member decides to quit? If you’ve given yourself enough time, you can make adjustments without forfeiting the show or severely affecting it”.
7. Get a buy-in from the church to help promote the event. “Find out what THEY are doing to promote the event before you spend all the time rehearsing, schlepping all your gear to the venue and travelling to and from, just to have 5 people show up at the event”; Chris warns.
8. Always have your ear to the ground for what events are coming up. “Whether it’s the Mule Festival across town or a youth camp out of state, always be looking for opportunities to play.”