A great many of the bands out there playing are not as good as you, but they bring a crowd -so they'll get booked LONG before you and 3 times as often.
Of course sound quality is important, but without a crowd, your sound doesn't matter. Here are a few tips to help you build that crowd.
1. Always make the effort to make your crowd feel special. This means take the time to LISTEN to them when they are talking to you. They believe that you are worth the cover charge and are excited to have your attention. Listen to what they have to say and engage in true conversation with them. It goes a long way.
2. We musicians are a strange lot...we are arrogant and uncompromising, but often we need reassurance that our direction is right. We can get that from an outside source or build it in ourselves but having supreme confidence is like a poker player having an extra card.
Not Confident? GET confident.
3. Whatever you do....COMMIT to it. Don't go in tentative and apologetic. There is nothing worse than some middle-aged guy half-heartedly wandering his way through a Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, or Adele song. You're thinking of singing "Let it Go"? BELT it out. Some people might hate it, but at least they will respect the courage you had to give it your all. When I sing "Baby, One More Time" I give it all I've got. If passion pays the bills....my bills are paid: and everyone in the room knows it.
4. Stop compromising on the members you choose for your band. Wait for someone you gel with. Like a car, a band NEEDS a destination, guidance, and motion. If you ain't steering, why are you surprised when you end up in a ditch? TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR BAND. Lead, guide and direct it. Sometimes that comes from a mutual understanding of 'common sense'. Sometimes someone has to step up and say, "NO. We need to spend more time promoting THIS show than trying to find another one next month.". Drive your snowmobile-It's cold out there.
5. I'll also add, wait until you're ready before you get out there. You got a gig coming up? Are you at your peak performance wise? No? GET AT YOUR PEAK. You can't afford to put on a shitty show.
Don't know if you're ready? Then you're not. Stop booking gigs and go back to the garage. You're screwing up the music scene with your out of key, off time, amateurish demeanor. GET IT RIGHT. Then get out there and kick butt.
6. BRING a crowd. Nothing attracts a crowd, like a crowd. Promote. Advertise. Be consistent with your logo. Offer incentives to your followers. Know that your niche helps you target your customer. Know your niche. Dress for your niche. Name your band for your niche. Let your niche dictate your bands 'personality'. Your niche should be painfully evident in every ad, post, pic, comment or interview you do. YOUR crowd will be able to find you, and they will be more dedicated to you than the ones just looking for something to do. A RABID following of 20 is 10 times better than a "doesn't care" crowd of 100.
Now ......Quit whining and get to work.