Booking agents (good booking agents) can be a musician’s best friend.
They book you or your band on shows, tours, festivals, whatever. They make sure your rider is met, your needs are followed, and set financial agreements for your band to play.
A good booking agent can be the difference between your band being heard by multiple people at shows and you playing to bar staff. Of course the promoter plays a huge role in that as well but the booking agent picks the promoter you deal with. Picking the right promoter is an essential part of the process to ensure you are playing to a large crowd.
Being a booking agent is a difficult job. You need to have bands that people want to see, first. No promoter wants to deal with local band #89 out of Whothefuckcaresville, Nebraska. You need to have a register of reputable promoters and venues in each market you are trying to book. You need the musicians themselves to be responsible enough to make it to each city.
You also can’t be a pushover. You need to understand that your bands cost money and any promoter or venue you are dealing with is going to have to pay for their performance. Not only are they going to have to pay, they are going to have to put their best foot forward to ensure the show is a success.
So when picking a booking agent keep all of this in mind. Look at some of your favorite bands who are at the same level and the next level up and see who their booking agents are. Then contact those agents and see if you can join their roster.