There is a light is at the end of the tunnel, and fortunately it is not a train, although at the beginning of the season, it probably felt like one!

Now that your performance season is almost wrapped up, you can make sure next season’s program books go smoothly by simply doing a few things now.

Below is an end of season program book checklist before you call it a day.


Round up all your print bills from the season and put them in order of the way your program books published. Ideally you will want these invoice totals in some sort of database. Also, hopefully you have at least one copy of the corresponding program book to go with that invoice.

This will be your baseline for when you negotiate your print prices for the next season. It will also let you know if you ordered too many or too few for any specific performances. Usually in the heat of things, you make do with what you have at the time, but then forget to make any notes. Now is the time to reflect on the season while all your print invoices are in front of you so that you can have a more accurate program book order for the next season.

These invoices will also serve as your forecasted print costs for the upcoming season. Your finance department will want these numbers as well (if they don’t already have them) for when they are doing their budgeting and forecasting.


Make sure all your digital ad files are in good order and in one folder. Ideally you want a common naming convention for all your digital ad files, and then in a folder labeled for that season. At Onstage Publications our naming convention is as follows:

Customer telephone number.size of ad.who built the ad

For example: 222-222-2222.FP-C.onstage

The reason we use the telephone number is because it is unique to every business. The rest of the file name is just a quick identifier without having to open the file so that you can easily see the size, and whether it was customer supplied or built in-house.

The more organized your files, the easier it will be the next season, because when the customer tells you they want to renew their current ad, you can quickly find it and you’re done.


Much like your ad files, you will want your season’s program book pagination files in just as good of order.

Package these files up with all your fonts, name appropriately and store them somewhere where they will be backed up.

When it comes to the new season, you now have the program book template ready to go!


Make sure all your pagination grids accurately reflect the printed program book.

If you don’t currently use a pagination grid, this is an excellent tool to help you build the most efficient print signature as possible. The pagination grid is laid out exactly the way your program book was quoted by the printer (i.e. color pages, black and white pages, ad pages, content pages) that is in a list-view so you can easily play around with it to get the best looking program book as possible as well as the most cost effective.

By having your pagination grids in order, it will save a ton of work the following season because all you have to do is delete the particular details of that previous program book while leaving the grid intact and you have your blank pagination grid to start anew.


You may or may not have your next season’s schedule solidified, but you certainly have last season’s. Use the previous season as your guideline for the upcoming season, and once you get more information about the new season, fill in the blanks as necessary.

Once all your pertinent dates are filled in, it’s a good idea to get this out to all of the members of your team that are involved in the publishing of your program books so that there are no surprises at the last minute. They can also provide feedback to you if they won’t be able to make specific target dates, and you can adjust accordingly.

Organization is key in your program book publishing endeavors, and the more organized you are on the back end, the smoother your next season will be. Good selling!

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