Customer Reviews: So You Want To Be A Talent Agent?: Everything You Need To Know To Start Your Own Local Talent Booking Agency
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My boyfriend has been in a classic rock band for longer than the 16 years I've been with him. I've always been interested in how agents find gigs for their clients and how they build their network. Tom's book, "So You Want to Be a Talent Agent?" goes through this process step by step. In fact, he started for the very same reason - he was fond of a particular singer, and he wanted to help her out. The rest grew naturally.

I was absolutely thrilled that this book maintained a focus on doing this task ETHICALLY. Tom repeatedly says to be scrupulously honest, to believe in your acts, and to treat even complaining clients with patience. His point is that in the long run your reputation is your most valuable asset, If people believe in you, they will use you over other options. If you honestly believe in your acts, your enthusiasm will shine through and get you that sale. If there's an act you just don't believe in - because you feel they're overcharging or because they're extremely unreliable - he recommends you drop them. It's just not worth the angst.

Tom is sure to give you the hurdles and issues to watch out for. Being a talent agent isn't for everyone. You have to be nurturing with your acts, supportive of those who are unsure, and patient with clients. You have to honestly enjoy people interactions. You have to pay attention to detail - getting the spelling of an act's name wrong, or the date on a contract wrong could cause a lot of trouble. You have to follow up after each gig to keep the line of communication open.

There are a wealth of great details in here. So many other books will say "OK now you have to do step X - but I won't tell you how to do that." With this book he gives you real life examples, explains how the task works, provides sample contracts, and everything. You can really hit the ground running.

He gets into some details about the musical world - how ASCAP works, how recording cover songs works, and so on. However, it's important to note that this is a GENERALIZED guide - it has to be, otherwise it would be 800 pages thick. So it does NOT have detailed notes about how to manage actors, for example. It provides the outline of managing a variety of acts including jugglers, bands, and so on. You then apply that to the specific sub-industry you choose to work with.

Are there any down sides here? The book was last updated in 2010, and I found the information fairly up to date. Exact prices for business cards etc. are always going to vary, of course, and that's fine. He gives rough estimates for you to work with. I did find it funny that he recommended paying for self publishing when there are now numerous free options out there that work fantastically well. I don't think there's any reason to pay someone $600+ just to self publish a book. But maybe that's my personal bias. He should have at least mentioned that there are quite high quality free options out there. He talks about getting social security numbers from acts - but I never give that out. I always give out an EIN number, which is a social security alternate, and safer to distribute.

Those are minor complaints, though, in a book chock-full of valuable information. Highly recommended.

I purchased this book with my own funds.
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on May 10, 2013
It's not reaaaally for people who want to be a real talent agent, because it's limited to autonomous experiences, and not in agencies, which is more common. It does have a few valuable business administration tips, though, but you'd probably do better with a book just for that.
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on November 11, 2013
Tom Elliott really over-delivers with this guide. Every time I got to the end of a chapter, I was amazed to find that there was still a lot more content to go!

Yes, as mentioned by several other reviewers, the marketing methods and tactics are rather outdated, but if you're stuck about how to actually RUN a local talent/entertainment agency -- how to find the talent, how to work with people looking for talent, how to price your services, the contracts, etc. -- then you'll find it all here.

Read this for the operational knowledge to get your agency started, and then find another resource to help you market the thing!
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on June 5, 2011
Great book, I was very excited when I received the book and always use it for guidance. I do recommend this book to everyone that is starting to get into the business.
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on July 11, 2010
Sometimes the critic who is also a "chip off the old block" can be a little harsh. This book is the culmination of years of experience, so there is something in here for everyone who is contemplating getting into this line of work, or hobby, as the case may be. This is an updated version of an earlier work, and I enjoyed reading the list of past (and present) performers in his portfolio. There is information in here that could only have been gained through trial and error, and will save you some time (and money). If this had been my book, I would have added a paragraph, or two, on referrals in Chapter 3. Once you are established, referrals from (satisfied) clients can be the most lucrative source of new bookings. There are also several small issues that I have with the book. One is that some of material is still "dated" (even though it was "revised" in 2010) and could have been brought into the 21st century. The other is at least one typo that I found. I won't tell you where, this will force you to look for it. But neither of these minor shortcomings affect the utility of the information being provided. Buy with confidence. (In the interest of full disclosure, I did receive a review copy of this book, but you wouldn't expect a father to charge his son for a copy anyways, would you?)
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on July 1, 2010
So You Want to be a Talent Agent by Tom Elliott is definitely the best book on this subject. It really does cover everything you need to know to start your own local talent agency. How to find the talent, how to build up the clientele, and how to promote yourself are discussed along with examples from Tom's thirty years of experience as a talent agent. Contracts and other forms you will need are included along with savvy advice. Contacts for every type of talent are listed. Best of all the book is very readable. So You Want to Be a Talent Agent?: Everything You Need to Know to Start Your Own Local Talent Booking Agency
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on July 25, 2010
If you want to start a talent agent business or any business this is the book to buy. Very informative from someone who seems to know about running a business and making part or full time work for himself. I really liked the stories in it too. And Tom goes all the way by not only giving you the handbook to make this type of business work for you but gives you his details so you can get in touch with him should you have any further questions.
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on October 22, 2013
One review I read spoke of this book being outdated. True, you can tell it was written a while back, but it has been updated somewhat. Also, I found most of the information very helpful and the writing style delightful.
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on July 13, 2010
This book was fantastic. Very informative. If you are looking to become a talent agent, than this is the book to buy. Everything you need to know about becoming a talent agent is in this book. Tom Elliott did a very good job making sure nothing was left out. I liked the stories from some of his past acts, very funny.
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on July 9, 2010
If you're looking to get into the exciting career of being a talent agent, then this is the book for you, I highly recommend it. Filled with everything you need to know, as well as cool photos and all the steps you need to take, I'm actually inspired to become one myself!
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