By Laura B. Whitmore, Founder of the Women’s International Music Network 

It’s that time of year. Spring has sprung and music is in the air. Along with the season comes your opportunity to play farmers markets, outdoor festivals, fairs and other showcase type events.

As the founder of the Women’s International Music Network, I have reviewed hundreds of submissions for our She Rocks Showcases, and am about to launch into the process again for our summer showcase at The Listening Room in Nashville on July 13. While our submissions are free of charge (go here to submit: http://www.thewimn.com/summer-namm-showcase/), many do charge a fee to submit, so make sure you make the most of it by following these tips.

A perfect fit

Do a little research on the showcase you are submitting for. What types of bands or artists have they selected in the past? Does your music fit the type of venue or program that they seem to favor? For example, The Listening Room is a singer/songwriter showcase venue. While we do deviate from that format for our She Rocks Showcase, we don’t stray too far. You won’t see a metal band on that stage. So yes, we do like to rock, but no, we probably won’t select your kickin’ electric act for this type of event.

Be concise

Have your short bio ready to go and keep it to the point. Make sure you call attention to past experiences that fit well with the goal of the event that you are submitting for. Is it a benefit for animals and you volunteer at your local shelter? That might be something you’d add this time for this particular submission so that the reviewers feel an alignment that goes beyond your music. But do keep it short and on point.

Stay on target

And speaking of short, the folks who review these types of submissions don’t have a ton of time to read through each one. So please submit exactly what is asked for. For example, our form requests a link to a video of you playing live, because we want to make sure you can deliver in that format. Your studio demo may sound great, but how is your stage presence? If you don’t have a good live video, shoot one in your house or rehearsal studio. The production quality doesn’t have to be amazing, but you do!

Production quality

So, yes, while your video doesn’t have to be a three-camera pro-edit, your audio should be great. Please don’t submit a low volume, distorted audio or video recording with lots of mistakes. I know it sounds crazy, but those types of submissions do come in. Make sure you are sharing your best possible self so we can see how you shine!

Dive right in

Because we get so many submissions, it is unlikely that we’ll have time to listen to an entire song from you. So, please, please, please, lead off with a song that dives in pretty quickly to the melody, chorus or whatever else we need to hear to get a taste of what makes you special. If I can’t hear that in 60 seconds, I might not hear it ever. So while your best song may not meet these characteristics, the best song for you to submit should. But also, don’t be afraid to include links for other songs that you think represent you well. If I like you I will do more research to see what you are all about.

Give me more

And that leads up to what happens if you get put on the short list. Typically after I sort through all the submissions, I dig deeper so that I feel confident that putting you on the program is the right move. Make sure you direct me to a website or other landing page where I can hear more music, see more videos, read more about you, etc. The harder I have to dig, the more chance there is that I am going to give up and go to the next artist on the list.

Materials are a must

If you are selected to be on the program, I’m going to ask you for a short bio and a good, high-resolution photo. Please have that ready before you submit. Usually I’ll have a short window to create an ad, news release or other promotional materials for the event, and I’ll need that from you ASAP. So don’t wait until you get selected to have those items ready to go.

Be willing to do it

This seems logical, but several times I have selected an artist who has decided they can’t make the trip or they have a conflict with the date. Please don’t submit if you won’t follow through if you get selected. We devote a considerable amount of energy to selecting just the right program. If you bow out we may have to rethink several elements to our event, not just your slot. And that also may make it harder for you to be accepted in the future for events by the same organization.

Keep in contact

This may seem obvious, but I occasionally will get a submission from someone I like but I just can’t seem to get in touch with them. Make sure your email address, links, phone and more stay consistent, and check them regularly so that you can get back to me in a timely manner.

Laura B. Whitmore is the founder of the Women’s International Music Network (the WiMN), an organization that advocates for, educates and creates opportunities for women in the music industry. Find out more and join their mailing list at www.thewimn.com

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