the wrong way to get gigs off Facebook

It’s not often I start writing an email not quite knowing where it’s going to go.

Let’s see how this experiment works out…

– – – 

If I was starting as a magician from scratch, there’s one marketing activity I would focus on to build my business:

Spamming the hell out of Facebook groups

Networking with other magicians.

One of the problems of a job where you have to be in a certain place… at a certain time… wearing a certain style of trousers is you can’t be in two places at once.

So “peak days” like Saturdays in July for weddings, or Thursday nights in December for corporate bookings, get booked – FAST.

If I invented a time machine, I could make an entire year’s salary performing at 20 gigs on the 13th July and 36 on the 13th December…

… leaving the rest of the year free for me to wonder why I don’t just sell my time machine and make gazillions, instead of busting my ass doing card tricks for drunk people.

So, if I was starting again, I’d spend time with busy, working magicians, doing whatever I can to prove I can do TWO things:

(Which I’ll get to in a moment…)

I’ve got 100% confidence in this approach for one reason: 

I WAS one of those busy, working magicians.

For just over ten years I supported our family performing ONLY close-up magic. 

That might not sound like a big “TADA!”, but it’s pretty rare. 

Most magicians have to do kid’s shows, balloon modelling, or armed robberies on the side to make ends meet.

Not me.

And, because I never solved the “how can I be in Essex and Llandudno at the same time?” problem… I got tons of enquiries for gigs I couldn’t perform at. 

I’d post these in magician FB groups for other magicians to fight over.

(If you’ve ever fed ducks, that’s a handy image to have for this)

It was funny watching the comments stack up as magicians try to win me over.

Two of the more common “copywriting persuasion responses” magicians rely on are:

“That’s down the road from me…”

“I just happen to be passing through the area that day…”

Replies like these always made me chuckle.

Why the hell should I care about your geographical proximity to the event?

In what way does that make you better qualified to do magic tricks?

“We WERE going to book you some football lessons from Cristiano Ronaldo, Cuthbert… but it turns out, a former P.E. teacher was passing through the village that day. The only thing is, he’s not allowed within 500 yards of a school or his ankle jewellery will make a loud screeching noise…”

The only two things I want to know when you’re applying for one of my gigs is – will you:

1. Do an awesome job of entertaining the guests, and

2. Be professional during the booking process (and not a pretentious diva who never replies to emails and whose website boasts – “NO CONTRACT – NO DEPOSIT”).

“Do a good job and don’t be a dick” isn’t a high benchmark. But it’s one you have to reach and “If I stand on my roof, I can see the venue” doesn’t get you any closer to meeting it.

The very first time I met one magician, a man called Harry Robson, he gave me £1,200 worth of gigs.

“But you haven’t seen me do any tricks…”, I said.

“John, when you came into the room you looked at me, smiled, confidently walked over, and warmly shook my hand. I knew right then I could send you anywhere to represent me.”

(I know that sounds made up, but I swear on the 10 9 8 Tunnocks Teacakes that remain in my jar as I write this… it’s true. 90% of what it takes to be a full-time magician is contained in those two sentences. It’s the reason I still message him every New Year to thank him for what he did for me, hence me writing about it)

Even though it’s now MY gig… I’m representing HIM.

If you want to connect with – and get gigs – from your competitors compadres in 2022 (and you totally should – it’s a great way to get steady work), figure out what matters to them and PROVE you’d make a worthy representative.

You don’t need to be a rockstar at what you do. In fact, it’s probably best if you aren’t.

(The person passing you the gig has an ego, you know. They don’t want to be upstaged)

The only thing you need to prove is that you’re a safe pair of hands.


Have a belting week!


P.S. The email template I created to connect magicians with clients for overspill gigs has the line:

“…I’d be delighted to have them perform at MY wedding/corporate event”.

Again… sounds like Hallmark-level horseshit, but that’s really the only thing I cared about when looking for a Holt-worthy replacement.