First published in Classical Singer.
Wache, Wala, wache!
I’m an unmanaged singer. I know how to request auditions, but what do I do once next? I hate sitting around waiting, never hearing anything.
Follow up is psychologically very hard to do, and not particularly enjoyable, but it is necessary. Consider it part of your education in self-management (it will stand you in good stead when you do get a manager).
Develop your networking and negotiating skills. Start with attitude. When you are following up on a packet of materials and an audition request, you are not chasing the presenters --- you are offering them a service that will benefit them: your marvelous singing.
Cold calls are hard to make, but with practice you will get better. Sometimes it helps to write out a little script so you know exactly what you want to say. Remember that the person you are speaking to is extremely busy. Keep your call brief, professional, and to the point.
Contact the presenter or an agent a week or two after your mailing. Ask if they've received your materials, when they expect to have auditions, and will they please schedule you for a time? If they don’t have a conclusive answer, ask if you can call again in a few weeks. They may prefer to contact you instead. If so, thank them nicely and get off the phone. If you don't hear from them after a month, send a VERY brief note thanking them for taking the time to speak with you and reminding them that you look forward to auditioning for them. Include any good news you have regarding your career.
If they won’t hear you this time, thank them for reviewing your materials and ask what you need to remedy in order to be considered. Ask if you can keep in touch for future consideration. Wait until you have three or four new credits on your resume and maybe some new reviews before sending another full packet. Postcards are a great way to send updates without having to resend materials and to keep your name popping up on the presenter's desk.