Friday, July 21, 2006

Booking Two Years in Advance

I'm already getting bookings for 2008 and we aren't even through July of 2006 yet. My 2007 is filling up really fast and it isn't that uncommon for clients to reserve a date on my calendar two years out.

Of course, this gets everyone into a frenzy!

My clients start worrying they need to book two years out. My competitors think I have some sort of ninja mind control. And those who don't know me and happen upon my site think that I've misprinted the dates on my calendar.

None of these is true.

Unless you have a very specific date in mind, you usually do not have to book two years out (though it does lock you in against any price increases). For most of my clients nine to twelve months advanced booking is all that is required, so don't worry.

However, even that can be deceptive. Three weeks ago I booked three additional events for THIS summer. Three dates in a very full schedule.

One was a program that had to cancel due to the floods that occurred last month here in Houston, TX (you probably saw some of that on the news). Another was a charity event that I do each year performing for children with special needs while their parents enjoy an evening of respite (that one is tonight!). Since I spent 8 years as a teacher in a Special Ed. Classroom I felt a calling when they asked and I've been back every year since.

The last was a library that had an unknown conflict with another community event and had only 2 people show up for the summer reading program. I performed a special show for those two kids but rescheduled to come back into town to do my real program when we had a full audience. We found a hole in my schedule and I did the show for free.

So, my schedule fills. Be sure not to dally around. But don't feel that you have to book 2008 just yet, unless you have a particular need. Bridge City wanted to be sure to get me for their kick off since 2008 is the 50th anniversary of the Texas Reading Club, summer reading program. They also missed out on the 2007 date they wanted because Wednesday mornings go fast. If you want to make sure I am at YOUR library for a specific date, then go ahead and reserve. Otherwise, relax, enjoy the summer, and just figure out when you want me in '07!

--Julian Franklin

P.S. Some of you might be wondering why I would do a show for free. Is he an idiot? Is he just so incredibly benevolent that he won't accept the money? No. On both accounts.

I collected my fee once, but I am not going to take library funds to perform a show for two kids. This is actually a very SELFISH decision. I know that if I can promote the reading club in a way that increases attendance, boosts participation, and bumps up circulation, then I end up getting to come back. This means I need to do whatever it takes to make YOUR library program a success. From free full-color, full-sized posters, to sending out mailings to MY list at MY expense telling them to come see me at YOUR event, to refusing payment for a show that only has two kids in the audience. If YOU are not a success, then I am not a success.

P.P.S. When I returned to that library we had over sixty kids in attendance, which was one of her largest showings in this small community. It was worth driving out there twice.

P.P.P.S. My schedule is posted on line at

No comments: