As a musician, getting your information out there to get a gig is a lot like submitting a resume for a job. Sometimes you submit your information by paper or filling out sheets, but a lot of times it is word of action and word of mouth. No matter what way you use to get a gig, it all has to do with politics.
The most successful marketers can make a product look better than what it actual is. That may sound like deception, but when you think about it from a business mindset it makes since. In order to sale yourself as a musician, you have to stand out from other musicians. For example, there are literally thousands of guitarists in the Los Angeles area, and if you were a guitarist, what makes a gig holder want you? The answer is simply found in how you market yourself.
I find in the gigging world, marketing is not just when you are on stage, it is everywhere you go, and everything that you do. In the music industry, you will never be even remotely successful if you market yourself in one or two ways. I find as an experienced musician that the only way to get seen everywhere is to be everywhere. In the music world, if you want to be seen then you have to get seen, people are not going to come knocking at your door just because you are a decent musician and offer you gigs. It takes lots of hard work in making it happen. And there are more than enough lazy musicians out there, do not be one of them!
In all seriousness, it is not that hard to make yourself look better than you actually are. People do it all the time, ie celebrities. If you think about it, even with the technological advances such as advancement in audio recording, beautiful things like reverb etc. improve the quality of the sound that is produced by a musician. That means that the musician is actually sounding better with the help of something else, making him (or her) look better than they really are. Amazing!
Marketing is key when you want to get more gigs, sometimes it costs money, but there are a lot things you can do for free to market yourself. Regardless, the musician life is always a sacrifice, you have to sacrifice a lot if you want to make something of yourself in the music world. But as a musician with plenty of experience, hard work always pays off, so never give up at your craft. It gets discouraging when you are playing show after show but not sure you are doing all you can because business seems slow. It will be that way a lot, but the only way to make a change is to become a musician politician (insert laughter here). We live in an age that really does not care that much about talent, it's all about image then talent comes secondary. Your appearance in your photo shoot, onstage and anywhere you are will sale you success or sale you short. But all of us musicians fail at something, its all about persistence; the same kind of persistence that allowed you to keep at it with your instrument. Sooner or later things will happen for you if you keep trying.
So put yourself out there in as many ways as you possibly can. It will make the difference and you will see more doors open up. Do not limit yourself, but challenge yourself. The world is waiting for your gift!