Ok I'm a musician first, but since I am booking shows at Hugh's Room Live, I do get to see things from a different perspective too, and I'm learning a lot about agents and what I like/don't like. Maybe these general thoughts are useful to those of you with agents, or seeking an agent, or maybe if you are an agent.
Some agents literally write me " JOE SCHMOE(name of artist). Interested?"
I have to admit, I'm usually not interested if that's all the agent wants to share with me, unless we're talking about an icon ("Stevie Wonder. Interested?" would work). No link to a video or audio or bio? I don't need a long pitch, but how about a complete sentence?
On the other hand, some agents write me very enthusiastically about how their artist is on tour at a specific time, and they are routing close by, and they mention that they either know the club or have heard about it or they've clearly done their research. That agent is great because not only do they get my attention, I'm now going to take a look at the other acts they book because I think I'll like dealing with that agent.
Of course, I spend quite a bit of time writing emails to agents myself because I want to book their artists. As far as I'm concerned, those agents should be quite happy to hear from me because ultimately I'm offering to put money in their pocket and fill another date on their artist's calendar.
The agent I like is the one who emails back, "can I call you?" because that is so RARE, and we'll get it done pretty quickly if we're going to get it done, avoiding an extra ten emails. But I also the like the agent who just asks for the seating numbers and average ticket price, because they're clearly going to do some math and figure out a reasonable offer for the circumstances (or if we are even in the ballpark for their artist depending on who it is). If that agent is fast with email, that will get booked pretty quickly too.
On the other hand, some agents just email me back asking me to fill out their attached offer sheet. That's it, nothing else in their email, and no indication of enthusiasm. Not even a confirmation of whether the artist is available when I want them. Really? You're not going to tell me basic details like if the date I have in mind works? Not any mention of the group the artist is touring (because many people have different album projects or perform both solo or with a band). How can I blindly fill out a generic offer sheet without being told what I'm buying? If I'm covering expenses, shouldn't I know that it's not a solo act but a 5-piece band (because of course they want hotel rooms)? I can't tell if that's laziness, lack of time, or arrogance, but it inevitably means 4 more emails back and forth, each one only answering one specific question with no anticipation of the next question. And these are pro agents, so surely they know those questions are coming in the next email. What is the upside to this approach? Is it a way of filtering out the gigs they don't want?
Finally, some agents respond to me enthusiastically but then are either so overworked or disorganized that they forget to follow up, and I end up having to chase them so that they can take the gig I'm offering their artist. Except of course, sometimes I don't followup I just move on to someone else. If I'm that agent's artist, I'm probably not working as much as I could be.
It's all common sense right? Be enthusiastic, mind the details, and try to be timely because we're all overworked and distracted so it's easy for things to just move on.