Getting the Gigs


As a magician, especially a young magician, it is very hard to get magic gigs.  If you want to earn real money as a magician, you need to treat your magic as a business.  When marketing your child/self, don’t put all of your advertising dollars in one form of advertising.  The more places you have your message seen, the better the chances you have of getting more shows.  Below are some tips that may help you promote your child or yourself.


You need to decide what market area you want to target.  Do you want to perform for schools, libraries, fairs, festivals, scout troops, birthday parties, etc.?  Then the next step is to decide how far you want to travel.  After you have decided what type of venue you want to perform in and how far you are willing to travel, then that is the market you should advertise in.  There are many ways to market yourself and the more creative you are, the more bookings you will get.


  1. Cold Calls
    1. You don’t want to be annoying or bothersome.  Maybe you already have a show at a school.  Call the other schools in the area and tell them that you are performing at a certain school and that you would love to perform at their school that day as well.
    2. If after making the call and they tell you that they are not interested at this time, ask them if you can still send them promotion material.  After sending the promotional material, give them about a week and follow up with another phone call.  This phone call will give you another excuse to be in contact with the potential client.
  2. Leads
    1. One way to eliminate uncomfortable cold call is having a lead.  A lead can come from someone who knows another person who is having a special event or gathering.  Call the person and introduce yourself and your services.  Tell them that you were talking to “so-and-so” and they mentioned that you were having some type of event and that they might have a need for some entertainment.  Perhaps a magician!  Then explain the different types of magic you can do for them, i.e. walk-around magic, stage show, close-up, parlour, mentalism, etc.  Remember . . . let them know what you can do for  them!!!!
    2. If you get a lead from someone who knows that a company is having a big event, but doesn’t know the person in charge, call the company and let them know that you know the company is having a big event and you would like to speak to the person in charge of the event.  Make sure you get the event planner’s name and ask to be put through to their extension or ask for their phone number and call them directly.
  3. Newspaper Advertising
    1. Advertise in local papers.  When putting in an ad in the paper, make sure it is easy to read.  Also, use tag lines so that people will associate you with the tag line and remember who you are.  Make the tag line memorable!  Print your phone number larger than the rest of your contact information.
    2. Classified Newspaper Ads.  This ad should have your picture and what type of magic services you can provide.  If the area where you live has a daily newspaper, possibly run the ad for an entire week.  Sometimes it is cheaper to run the ad for a whole week since the paper may give a discount for a full-week ad and it keeps your name in front of the public eye.  If your local newspaper only has a weekly edition, run an ad once a month for several months, if possible.  Run the ad under Entertainment headings or notices—do not put the notices in Help Wanted.
  4. Mailing Lists
    1. School mailing lists—Do an Internet search and find a directory for your State Board of Education.  This directory lists all of the schools in your state and their contact information and the principal’s name.  Contact the principal of the school and give him/her your sales pitch.
    2. Library mailing lists—Do an Internet search for your State Library Directory.  Most libraries do children’s magic shows, so you want to market your show to the person in charge of the children’s services or the youth service director.
    3. Local Chamber of Commerce—Contact them and get a list of service organizations and churches in the area.  Some of the organizations that they should be able to give you information on would be the Lions Club, Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus, Masonic Temple, etc.
    4. Corporations or Businesses in Your Area—Call them directly or look on their website to see who may be in charge of entertainment for their company.  Get that person’s name so you can send out a mailing to them.  After sending out a mailing, follow up with a phone call and ask if they received your information and ask if there is any events coming up that you could perform at for them.
  5. What to Do with the Mailing Lists
    1. Direct Mail—Put together fliers, brochures, letters, and/or postcards to mail to your potential clients.
      1. If you are not good at graphic design, go to a professional and have them design and print your mailings.
      2. Make it easy to read.
      3. Use bright colored paper or postcards.
      4. Put your name and phone number in big, bold type.  Also include other contact information such as fax, e-mail, or website.
      5. Make it attention-getting so it does not get tossed into the trash as junk mail.
      6. In your mailings you may want to include a return postcard with postage on it already to send back to you.  On this card, you may want to include check boxes or lines that can be checked off for the type of magic they may be interested in; name of contact and the best time to call; when they are interested in a show and, of course, name and address of the organization.
  6. Promotional Packages
    1. What to Include in the Promotional Package (make sure that your package is put in a nice folder or presentation packet):
      1. Cover letter
      2. 8 x 10 picture
      3. Biography sheet
      4. Resume
      5. Letters of recommendation
      6. A business card
      7. DVDs (I would only send this if the potential client specifically asks for one).


  1. Booking Sheets—This is very useful to have in front of you as you are booking the show with your client.  Customize your booking sheet to your needs.  This will also be your “notes” to filling out your contract.
    1. The booking sheet should include the following information:
      1. Name of the organization or client and phone number
      2. Name of the contact person that you have been working with
      3. Time you will arrive
      4. Time the show will begin
      5. Length of the show
      6. Type of show
      7. Fee
      8. Number of people expected at the show
      9. Did you send out the contract via mail or fax?
      10. Has the signed contract been returned?
      11. Reminder call a few days before the show to the client
      12. Directions to the show (this isn’t always necessary now since so many people have GPS Systems.
  2. Print Up a Contract.  Send two copies of the contract (one for the client to keep and a signed copy for them to return to you).
    1. The contract should include the following information:
      1. Name of the organization or client
      2. Name of the contact person that you have been working with
      3. Time you will arrive
      4. Time the show will start
      5. Length of the show
      6. Type of show
      7. Fee
      8. Deposit amount, if any.  (You may want to put in a clause that says that if the show is cancelled by the client within a week of the performance time (or however many days you feel comfortable with), the performer gets to keep the deposit amount
      9. Any specific requests you have, such as lighting, sound or seating format requests
      10. A place for signature and date
      11. Whom to make the check  payable to


1.   Send a Thank You Letter—Thank the client for inviting you to perform.  Let them    know what a wonderful time you had and you are interested in working with them in the future.

2.  Ask the client if they would write a letter of recommendation for you on their company  letterhead.  You should include a self-addressed stamped envelope.


1.  Now that you have a client list established, send out quarterly or semi-annual letters or postcards to remind your clients that you would like to do another show for them.  This gentle “prod” will remind them that you are available to work for them and you want their business.

These are just some ways to promote yourself.  I recommend trying some of these techniques and see if they work for you.  Experiment, but most of all, have fun!

To learn more about Bill Koch, visit his website at

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