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The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ Tricky business Ľ Ľ Library Promo Question (11 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

MichaelCGM
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I'm getting ready to send out my Library Flyers for 2020. I'm thinking around September first. Any suggestions on the optimal time for sending Library promos?

Also, what are some tips for securing more library shows?
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

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charliecheckers
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We book a fair number of libraries. The majority of the shows are scheduled in the summer months, but the market books shows to a lesser degree throughout the year for various occasions in our area.
Regarding the summer season, nearly every library follows a yearly theme and most adhere to the state or national selected theme. Offering a show that aligns with the theme is usually well received.
Libraries belong to a specific systems, which is very helpful in creating bulk bookings. We booked about 20 through one central librarian this year. One year we booked 41 in a similar manner. We created a very positive impression on these individuals the year prior.
Funding for performers comes from various sources. Grants can come at different times, depending on when they are requested and what the stated purpose is. Developing a relationship with librarians will allow you to get to know how they work. For example, one system in our market books in September and another one books in October for the following year. Others book in February/March. Even then, not every librarian follows the trend of their system, so you can reach them outside those times.

Generally, they are looking to enlarge their attendance, so being a draw is a huge plus. After that, an exciting show that encourages reading is desired.

Initially, we visited libraries in person to introduce ourselves and our company. We have attended system monthly meeting of librarians with PowerPoint presentations regarding our services as well. There are performer showcases as well, though we have not attended them.

I would suggest searching TMC for previous threads. Ken Scott put out a dvd a while back as well.

Hope that helps.
Mindpro
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I'm glad Michael decided to come here and ask his questions regarding the Library market. He had asked in the kid's forum and got nothing but an opinion, one's personal experience, and some misinformation that all ended in being suggested he call a library to ask for information.

This is a great example of the power of the Tricky Business forum. You will get answers from those working the market with actual market experience. In other forums, you get surface insights but rarely are those who are professionals within a market or industry, but rather just performers that try to send emails or cold call trying to get bookings - surface activity but not industry insight, information, or operations.

Here in just one post from one person, he learned about Library systems, professional experiences, one booking approach and process, a resource, and the reason or market interest which is often much different from the magician's perspective. Not to mention some marketing outlines of dates/months, etc.

As I teach those I work with you must operate on the timetables and practices of the market or industry. To exist or be a professional in a market, whether libraries, schools, corporate, fairs, festivals, etc, you must have a deeper knowledge to be seen as a professional and not just a kids magician looking for some extra work/bookings.

As discussed in another current thread, this is one of the great benefits of Tricky Business. This is information that can add another $3,000, $5,000 or $10,000 to your bottom line each year from just one question and receiving the right information form market professionals.
Dick Oslund
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Those two posts said "IT"!

I'm retired, but, I read this forum every morning. --It's well worth my time!

Thanks, Charlie and Mindpro!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
MichaelCGM
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Thanks, gentlemen.
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

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MichaelCGM
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Quote:
On Aug 30, 2019, Mindpro wrote:
I'm glad Michael decided to come here and ask his questions regarding the Library market. He had asked in the kid's forum and got nothing but an opinion, one's personal experience, and some misinformation that all ended in being suggested he call a library to ask for information.


I would NOT describe the helpful reply I received in Little Darlings as "misinformation."
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

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charliecheckers
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I took a look at the exchange from the thread referenced here. In that thread, the suggestion was to time your sending of flyers to when the libraries receive their annual budgets. You found that in the system you approached the timing of booking shows does not match up with announcement of funding. I believe this would be the rule, not the exception. Libraries have various sources of funding that arrive at different times throughout the year. They have government funding, grants, many have foundations or groups called ďFriends of the LibraryĒ who are available to fund projects. Some funds are distributed throughout the local system and some are Library specific.

It also helps to know more specifically what your aspirations are and where you currently are with respect to this market. For example, we send promotional materials throughout the year, only a portion of which is directed towards the Summer Reading Program. One great way to get more bookings is to expose the libraries to oneís show that is themed around a holiday that coincides with when the particular library desires an entertainer. Then, you have greater likelihood of being booked for the Summer as well. We offer such shows when they fit into our schedule at the same price as we charge for our summer tour. If you only have availability for the Summer season, this strategy obviously wonít help. If you have been attempting to gain bookings for a period of time and not achieved your goals, the timing of your mailings may not be the primary thing that needs to be addressed.

Also, I am not a big fan of Showcases for this market. With access to librarians being relatively easy, I see a disadvantage to being lumped in with everyone else and being given a few minutes. That would be a strategy of last resort. Word of mouth is a super strong marketing tool in this market. Librarians will trust their fellow librarians regarding a performer far more than seeing a few minutes of an act. When they are seeing a whole string of acts, that compromises the impact even more.
MichaelCGM
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I agree with you, completely Checkers. Iíve found that Iíve only received about two gigs from showcases. The bulk of contracts come from direct mail campaigns and word of mouth. Thatís why Iíve elected to pass on this yearís showcase. Incidentally, the biggest showcase in this area actually charges the entertainers for performing.

Last year (2019), I attempted to promote an adult program for our library systems and included the promotion in my regular campaign. That resulted in ONE adult contract. Iíve found, at least in this area of the country, that most librarians are more likely to book for kids. Iím working on determining how to better approach them for adult programming.

I donít approach them for holiday work, since holidays are a busier season anyway. So, for this yearís promo, Iíve concentrated on the summer programs and mailed earlier than usual. Iíve also raised my rates, so weíll see how that goes. I believe that Iíll take your advice and approach them later in the year with my adult show, just to see how that flies.

Thanks for your very valuable and very appreciated help. Iíll let you know how things progress. I also just sent out my prom/post-prom mailers. Keeping up with both at once should be fun. Have a great day and, again, youíre help is definitely appreciated.
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

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Dannydoyle
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I have a couple pragmatic questions.

Do people even go to the library any more? Not even joking here but seriously it seems like they are going the way of the T-Rex.

What sort of price range do library shows offer?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Aug 30, 2019, MichaelCGM wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 30, 2019, Mindpro wrote:
I'm glad Michael decided to come here and ask his questions regarding the Library market. He had asked in the kid's forum and got nothing but an opinion, one's personal experience, and some misinformation that all ended in being suggested he call a library to ask for information.


I would NOT describe the helpful reply I received in Little Darlings as "misinformation."


Michael, I am glad you found the reply as helpful. My point was it was rather general personal opinion-based information from someone who does not work within the Library market, versus the type of information you would get here from those pros truly working in and specializing in the market (rather than just getting bookings in the market) from an industry and market perspective.

That was my whole point for suggesting you come here with your question. It wasn't factual Library market information, but rather one's personal perceptions based on very limited knowledge. This seems to be more often norm in that forum, especially on business-related matters. Someone who may have accepted that knowledge would have been misinformed to the reality of the information being referred to.

It leads one to believe that booking performers comes out of their overall budget, which normally it doesn't. As Charliecheckers referred to there are several to many budgets both within a specific library itself, as well as the local library system and regional systems. Again, there is much more to this market than the surface info you were offered form on persons very limited knowledge, that's all I was saying. To me that was incomplete, inaccurate, and misinformation to the actual answers you were seeking.

Also the timetables info offered was also misinformed.
charliecheckers
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Quote:
On Aug 31, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
I have a couple pragmatic questions.
Do people even go to the library any more? Not even joking here but seriously it seems like they are going the way of the T-Rex.


Many libraries have reinvented themselves. I am amazed at the number of libraries that have either been newly built or completely remodeled in just the past few years. These libraries now serve as community centers offering meeting rooms, digital book/movie subscription access, and interactive experiences for children and families. Many daycare centers use the local library for walking field trips. The same is true for summer camps. Some have formed partnerships with the town recreation department for hosting events such as a live performer. Some libraries are quite vibrant and there are some that have not progressed and seem dingy. Over all, Iím not sure how they compare to years ago with respect to ROI for a community.
Quote:
What sort of price range do library shows offer?

There is an extremely wide range of pricing. I know of performers who charge $85 and one who earned over $2000 to be part of a large community event hosted by a central library. Most shows range from $250 to $750. The lower the price, the more shows you can book, which seems obvious, but let me explain this further. Nearly every library can afford $250-$300 out of their meager budget to conduct the Summer Library Program. Only libraries that are active in grant writing or have a foundation or group donating supplemental funding can afford much more than that. So if one quotes a price of say $500, they might be priced out of a fair number of the libraries. Depending on the business model, they might be further ahead charging a bit lower price and gaining access to more of the near-by libraries to stack the day with 3 or even 4 libraries. Additionally, they can often sell BOR as well- though generally library audiences are not a great target market for this.

My brother is working closely with Mindpro in discussing several novel ways to better navigate this price sensitive market in a way that furthers our business.
bcstoner
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Quote:
On Aug 31, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
I have a couple pragmatic questions.

Do people even go to the library any more? Not even joking here but seriously it seems like they are going the way of the T-Rex.

What sort of price range do library shows offer?


My local library has all the latest video games available to check out. I was rather shocked myself when I walked into my library after a 20 year hiatus. They have legos, gaming pcs, etc. etc. They're definitely adapting with the times.
Mindpro
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Definitely not the libraries we remember as kids. It was change or die and they have been quite aggressive in survival. This reminds me of the early day of MADD and their safe and sober celebration for high schools. They almost died quickly. They consulted with me, brought me into their Connecticut headquarters, and these events are now a staple nationwide. Libraries are now doing much the same thing.

Yes, there are ways to be in the $600-$1,000 price range for even local libraries. Like the libraries themselves, a different or restructured business model and approach can be the difference.
thomasR
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As a side note.. one of the first magic shows I saw as a kid was a library show. It was a husband and wide team who did magic, comedy, and puppets. They had some pretty cool vent puppets. Out of all the magic that I'm sure they did.. I can still remember the pom-pom prayer stick. ha.

The local library down the road has a fancy coffee shop inside and seems to be a happening place. I haven't been inside in a few years.. I should check it out. Maybe they have some good magic books in there!
Mindpro
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I think another common misperception is libraries only hire performers for the Summer Reading Programm only during the Summer months when in reality libraries can hire guest performers and speakers throughout the entire year (again, industry/market knowledge is required.)

thomasR really hit on something I believe to be quite true. Libraries, as well as school, performances often leave quite a memorable impact on kids that they can and will remember for a lifetime. Fortunately I have been now doing this long enough that I am on my second generation of some families who will come up to me after a performance and let me know they were there with their kids and still remember me when I came to their school when they were in elementary, middle and/or high school. Their memories are very similar to what thomasR has just described.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ Tricky business Ľ Ľ Library Promo Question (11 Likes)
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