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Topic: The most important question on writing a book
Message: Posted by: SandwichMan (Jan 30, 2015 08:01PM)
Hello fellow magicians.

I've been wondering a lot about the process of publishing magic books lately. I am very young, but writing a magic book is definitely on my bucket list. However, when (I guess..."if) I do, I want to make sure I do it CORRECTLY.

The thing I am worried about most, is giving credits where it's due. Our art has such a deep and rich history. So much material exists. If I were to come up with an effect, how will I know for certain that someone else did not create it before? Magicpedia has been a wonderful resource, but sometimes I fail in finding exactly what I'm looking for.

In other words, how much research will be "enough?" We independently discover previously published material all of the time. The last thing I want to do is to publish some material that I believe to my own, but actually belong to someone else. Can someone who has had experience in writing books shed some light for me?
Message: Posted by: chappy (Feb 9, 2015 12:42AM)
Hi Sandwichman

I hope that writing one book qualifies me as somewhat experienced. There are certainly more experienced authors out there but as someone who has spent the last 2-3 years somewhat consumed with the process of writing (and recently releasing) a book on card magic, I feel that I have a few pieces of advice that I can offer.

I applaud your approach to the challenge of writing a book. You've asked a good question.

I had a good starting point in that I have spent 30 years reading many magic books, so my general knowledge of principles, sleights, published sources and versions, origins etc was already pretty good. But I still had to do a TON of research.

Because you want to do it CORRECTLY, you already have part of your answer. How much will be enough? As much as it takes until you know that you have studied the correct sources, and that you are improving on or adding something of worth to an idea, not simply offering another variation on it.

I recommend obtaining a few classic texts, to see how the authors have approached crediting. Do some research here on the Café to find out about authors who credit especially well. A similar question (about good crediting) has been answered in an area here quite recently I recall. Once you have a few names on your list try to contact them directly, and ask them how they researched.

Emailing people directly can have surprising results. I have developed some good relationships with people by simply putting the call out and asking for help. There are good people out there who will help you, especially because they also believe that books should be approached properly.

Expect a long road. My first book took a couple of years until I felt it as ready to release. There was a lot of research. Sometimes a crediting question took me months to find the answers.

Best of luck
Message: Posted by: SandwichMan (Feb 12, 2015 08:47PM)
Thank you so much for replying Greg. I thought no one would answer my question, haha. I will definitely put forth my efforts in researching as much as I can. Your suggestion on directly contacting people will help a lot. I almost forgot that I once asked Lee Asher for help on a sleight via e-mail and he actually replied!