Take a deep sniff. Can you smell it? Yup, it’s that time of year again–its program book season. And I love it!

If you are publishing your own program books, you know what I’m talking about. The back office is abuzz.

Abuzz with your art controller chasing program book ads, abuzz with your program book sales reps trying to get “one last sale” in, abuzz with your production department coming in at 4AM just to get ahead a bit, and a real buzz from all the coffee that’s being consumed.

But there is no need to stress. Everything can be a controlled chaos if you have your ducks in a row.

If there is anything that we’ve learned over the now 15 years of publishing performing arts program books for venues across the nation, it’s how to manage all of the chaos once you’re in production.

Three simple steps

  1. Organization is Key

How’s the saying go? “Crap in, crap out!” Well it’s the same with your program books. If you are disorganized, your program book process will be disorganized.

A tool that we use at Onstage Publications to help us stay organized is our Pub Schedule. We live and die by this tool and it’s open to our whole company as well as all of our clients to reference key dates. See 5 Tips For A Bullet Proof Pub Schedule to help you manage this process.

  1. The Less Distractions, The Better

Don’t be afraid to shut your door. In today’s day and age of an open office concept being the greatest thing since sliced bread, there still comes a time when peace and quiet is needed.

I love that one FedEx commercial where the peon tells his manager “this open office concept is not working” and the manager says “stick with it” and then goes in his office and shuts his door and closes the blinds.

Sometimes you have to just shut your door and close the blinds!

  1. Learn From Your Mistakes So Next Year Is Even Better

It’s inevitable. Mistakes will be made. But you can turn these mistakes into great learning experiences so that you don’t make them again.

Here at Onstage Publications, during any current season, we keep a running list on a whiteboard of the mistakes we’ve made so that we can correct them for the next season. This way we never make them again, and we are continuously learning.

Performing arts program book publishing is a continuous learning curve. There is always new technology or new processes out there to make your performing arts program book production department even more efficient. Treat it as a learning experience and you will never lose your sanity again.


A few of our satisfied clients.

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Schedule a time to talk with Norm about how Onstage can help your Performing Arts Organization.

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