So, you and your friends made a band; and you want to start playing shows, recording, making money and a name for yourselvs. Well first off, congratulate yourselves on making it this far, because finding the right members for a band is tricky enough. So now what?
Lets go over the basic steps you'll need to take in order to achieve your goals.
1. Write! The world of music never slows down, so during all these steps you'll need to be coming up with fresh material constantly to keep from getting creatively stagnant. You'll always need a few extra songs up your sleeves in case you finish your set and you still have time left over because people don't like to just stand around, they can do that at home.
2. Contact the venues around you that hire bands that play your kind of music. If you don't know the venue very well, research them and never assume. You don't want to be playing rock or metal in a country only joint, then everyone gets uncomfortable at that point.
3. While playing your first shows, watch how the crowd responds to everything you do. Think of these shows as tests, where you're finding out what works, and what doesn't. Don't be afraid to change a lot of things around and accept criticism.
4. After you've played a handful of shows and you've successfully found the style of performance that the people prefer from you, master it and make it your own! Add to your performance along the same track and style that the crowd guided you towards. Find some way of recording your show so you can all see what the audiance sees and build from it.
5. Now that you're stage-savvy performers, you'll want to get your name out there as far, and as fast as possible. Now you'll need to start looking for promoters in your area. Chances are you've already met a few on your way to this piont. They're the ones who organize a lot, if not all, of the shows you've played at. Promoters are usualy the ones who bring the bands and the people to the venues for the show. If they like you and how many people you bring in to a show, or how well the crowd liked you, they'll start finding shows to squeeze you into.
6. Artists need artists, so get a designer to start working on your logo, future album art, social media pages and their content, and if possible, a website. People are going to need exposure if you plan on staying in their heads
7. Shop around for some cheaper deals when looking for your producer, but make sure you don't stint on the price, because as with everything, you get what pay for.
8. If this is your chosen career field, commit to it! Be prepared to lose some money before you make any, but be smart about your expenses. Don't buy too many shirts in hopes to tripple your band's piggy bank in one show and end up holding onto the excess in some box stuffed in your closet. Don't buy a van until you know it'll save you money on gas. If you don't over step, you won't trip over your own feet. Be realistic.
9. Once you can bring a full house to all of your nearby venues, then look to expand you audiance range by booking shows in the closest city to you. When leaving your comfort zone, where they all know you, try and find out who the big names are in the city you're aiming to play at, and book shows with them. This way, you'll still play for a packed house, and you'll grow your crowd base. Don't assume your fans will want to travel to the next city to see you play. As much as they love you, they still have obligations there and things that hold them back (like the travel time). So make friends with the bands and promoters in that next city and start your invasion.
10. Once you've taken over the closest cities to (and around) you, and your playing schedule takes you all over the state every month. Then you might notice the schedule looks kind of like what you'd imagine a tour schedule would look like. That's because it is, you're technically touring at this point, it's just not well organized or promoted as a tour. So now you know you're ready to do just that.