I spent some time talking with an artist who is concerned that his carer isn't taking off like he had hoped. We wen't over everything from how he preforms on stage to how he books to how he presents himself to promoters and media folks. It turns out he's got a good handle on it.
But you can do everything right and still not have success. Well that is, it may not happen as fast as you would want. And that may be a good thing.
I mean, if there was a formula you could just do, everyone else would do it too. The success you want would get so watered down, it wouldn't be success anymore.
Here's the analogy I use in these situations: Your work is like water behind a dam. Write a good song and the level goes up a little. Do a good show and it goes a little higher. Do a great show in front of the right people and you could breach the thing quickly. Bottom line, bookers, promoters, and media folks get so many artist vying for their attention they have to live behind a dam. So many people want their attention, it's like a firehose coming at them.
Every time you do something that gets his (or her) attention you stack up some water. Let time go by and your water evaporates. Go long enough and you start over from scratch.
I left him with this: Everything he said about trying and not seeming to get anywhere I have heard from very successful artists too. But they didn't give up. One day several little dams broke over and got the attention of someone up the chain who could really make a difference.
A booker wants acts who get booked again and again easily. Be that band. Make a point of meeting the venue manager. Make a good impression. Always be thinking about the next booking.
Promoters want the same thing. Show up a little early for interviews and be interesting and entertaining. Do an interview people talk about... the one that gets played over and over again.
Let em' know you appreciate the opportunity to be on their show. A sincere Thank You can go a long way. Get enough people who can help you and your work pays off with more gigs, more pay, maybe even music in a movie or commercial. They don't just hand that stuff out. It has to be earned.
Make yourself valuable to them and they'll promote you out of self interest.
Nothing wrong with that.