Whenever anyone contacts me for an appearance, I capture as much information as possible up front, whether they book me or not. I keep records on computer and ancillary materials (booking form, contract, program, maps, etc.) in a 3-ring binder set up with tabs for each month. (I’m sure that tech savvy folks could find a way to do this all electronically, but I still like the “backup” of a real notebook!)
First, I file their email inquiry on my computer in a folder called, “Appearances.” Within Appearances, I have a folder for each year. So, let’s say Jane Little from the Sunshine Elementary School in Taos, New Mexico contacted me by email, this is how I would file her note:
NM – Taos – Sunshine Elem – Jane Little
Next, if we carry on a correspondence, I paste all of her emails into this file so that I have our running correspondence in one spot. If we talk about a specific date, I then record pertinent information on my paper booking form and place it in a page protector in my 3-ring notebook behind the month of the requested appearance.
In front of each month, I have a calendar page. On it, I pencil in all of my appearances. This gives me a clean, one-stop look at what’s ahead for me.
Some schools may take two or three years before they bring me in, but I stay in touch with them in the meantime. When I transfer data onto a spreadsheet, I can easily see which schools might be ready for a “revisit” a few years after my initial visit.