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MatthewBlackwell
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OK. Maybe a basic question but here goes…

Let’s suppose you’ve written a magic book. You've written it, edited it, had a foreword written by someone people have actually heard of, had nice little pictures drawn to supplement the text, and you’ve spent your life savings getting 500 copies of it printed in hardback with lovely gold tooled lettering on the front cover.

What do you do now? How do you make it so that your full-page ad in Magic magazine can say ‘available from your local magic dealer’?

Hmm?

Just curious. I haven’t actually written it yet Smile

Cheers,

Matthew Blackwell
magus
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I am writing a book, and have thought about this a bit- hopefully someone who HAS written a book will post more meaningful info, but here are a couple of things that have passed through my mind.

1- Get a publisher. You get less money, but- you won't lay out your own money, they take care of the advertising, and more importantly, pay for the advertising.

2- Publish yourself and... *send out several copies to the various reviewers of magic magazines. *drop notes on every bulletin board you belong to- join the rest. *Get a mailing list (start getting those names now) of every magic dealer you can find - and send them a sheet singing the virtues of your book, make it good, because most of your copy will be their ad when they go to sell it. *start buying ad space in magazines.

But, as I say - I'm no authority, if someone has published and wishes to expand or expound, I'm all ears (ok- mostly ears, but it's a personal problem, and I don't want to talk about it.)
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amagician
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I have not published a tangible book and current plans don't include any. But perhaps my experience with Card's autobiography will give you some ideas.
Writing your book is Step One. It is much more difficult than it might seem from the outside. It will take longer and require more re-writing than you think.

The biggest killer of good book ideas is to hold off completing the actual writing until you have found just the words you need and talking your ideas out of your head and into the public arena or some other reason (most really excuses).

Buy all the magic Magazines that you can and find the addresses to send your book.
I found the reviewers very professional in their approach. They almost all confirmed to me when the reviews would run in their magazine or on their website.

Yes, there are websites which carry reviews of Magic books. Some may just be set up to get a few free books but there are good ones too.

If you find someone well-known to the magic world in general or to the particular segment which you're aiming at, who will write your foreword, ask them to write an article based on material from the book and submit it to the one magic magazine you consider most relevant. Don't be disappointed if they say no, remember they have their own living to make.

Join good Magic forums like the Magic Cafe (there is nothing like the Cafe that I have been able to find) and contribute when you can. This is before you have a book to plug, I mean mention in your sig.

There's more, but this has been a ramble and I expect the Moderators will edit it which is fine. If I can help with any specific questions through the Forum, I will.
Hope there is something in this which is useful to you. Smile
Have a Magic day
John Williams
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Philemon Vanderbeck
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As for making your book available to "local magic dealers:"

Sure, you can solicit each store directly. However, a better approach would be to get your book picked up by one of the major magic distributors and let them solicit their customers, the magic dealers and stores, for you.

You won't make as much money per book that way (distributors often will buy the book at 40% of cover price, and in turn sell it to the stores at 60%), but you will easily reach a larger market.

Now as for getting picked up by a distributor... you'll need to send a copy of your book to the person who makes the decisions on which products to carry, and then follow through with a phone call to see if they're interested (don't pester, but do keep the momentum going).

A foreword by a well-known professional in the field will always help. And in my case, I just made the book available to my peers for awhile, before a magic shop owner raved about the book to one of her distributors (whom then contacted ME).
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
MatthewBlackwell
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Now *this* approach I like. Everyone else seems to make it sound like rather hard work don't they... Smile

Cheers,

Matthew Blackwell
amagician
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Mathew, it is simple but not easy Smile
If it was easy, everybody would do it.

I guess that almost every magician who has been doing shows for, say, 5 years has thought about writing a booklet or book.

Fortunately for those of us who actually write and publish them (or get them published), most people talk their ideas to death and don't put in the necessary action steps. Don't be a Smile get to writing and good luck.
Have a Magic day
John Williams
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omnibozo
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The magic market is small enough that all the methods mentioned above will help sell your book or trick.

Definitely spend the time and money to have ALL printed material proofed and edited by a professional. We all make goofs that don't show up until 1000 copies have been printed... but it gets really old reading simple spelling and grammar errors in magic books, directions and ads. Many big companies still run ads that can not distinguish between "they're" their" and
"there"!!! Really dumb stuff.

In this time of cheap computer composing, choose an attractive, readable font and layout style. Choose quality paper for the text and the covers. Book prices continually surge upwards... at least give us a quality product that reflects that quality in every dimension.
Bob LaRue
Steve Brooks
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I agree with Bob on this, very much so.
No matter how many times you proof-read something, mistakes will slip through.
After awhile your eyes just start missing even simple things. I've read things, thought the page was fine, then had the printer re-read them, and still ...mistakes!

I think the more people who read your text, the better chances of catching mistakes.
Just a thought. Smile Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
Scott Wells
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Let me go back to Matthew's basic question. "How do you make it so that your full-page ad in Magic magazine can say ‘available from your local magic dealer’?"

I think Philemon has the right approach. You can sell dealer by dealer but keep in mind that there are thousands of dealers around the world and one guy can't reach them all. On the other hand, one jobber has the resources and "where-with-all" to contact the world. Indeed you will make less through a jobber, but they take a lot larger quantity than the individual dealers.

And then there is the matter of the shipping. Let the jobber do it unless you have a lot of time, a lot of boxes and live in a warehouse near a post office and/or the UPS delivery center. They earn their money many times over.

Philemon also gives the sage advice to send your book to the dealer to see if he will carry it. Indeed if it does come with "magic celebrity" endorsements, then all the better for you. That will enhance your chances of him carrying it.

Beyond that, the other suggestions are good . . . let the "buzz" (word of mouth) be your best advertising. I will say that if the book is that good, the jobber wants all of the benefit. If you sell a lot on the front end and take the "bloom off the rose" then they may not want to order such a large quantity. It's also good to advertise on your sig (as suggested above by John Williams) and to post on other bulletin boards without spamming. I picked up Doug Dyment's excellent book because he mentioned it on the Think Magic listserve and his posting included some credible testimonials.

And while I'm on testimonials, I am a confirmed believer that testimonials are your best form of advertising. I don't care what the dealer says or the inventer/writer says about their product because they are trying to move product. On the other hand, if someone whose opinion and knowledge base I know and trust, then I'm more apt to make the purchase.

Oh well, I think I've rambled enough. I hope this helps a little. Let me know if you want me to elaborate on anything or need more info on anything.

yours,
Scott
"A magician who isn't working is only fooling himself." - Scott Wells, M.I.M.C. with Gold Star

The Magic Word podcast: http://themagicwordpodcast.com Listen to convention coverage, interviews with magicians, pictures, videos and more.

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MatthewBlackwell
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Well, I'm certainly very glad I started this thread now. It has been most informative.

Thank you everyone who contributed so generously.

Cheers,

Matthew Blackwell

PS: Was that bit about getting someone to proof read your writings for you? Smile
Scott Wells
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Matthew,

A good proofreader is a real boon if not a necessity. Computer programs have "spell checker" but they often overlook grammatical errors and misused words. It's good if you can get a professional editor or even a close friend to read it and circle your errors.

When I published Banachek's "Psychological Subtleties" I thought I edited out all the mistakes, but a lawyer friend of mine proof read it one more time and found nearly 200 mistakes (albeit minor in most cases - i.e. misused or misplaced commas, apostophes, non-sequitors, etc.). A funny aside on that, when we credited him in the book for editing, we misspelled his name Smile

In any event, you should make sure to have at least one other person read through it and preferably two.

yours,
Scott
"A magician who isn't working is only fooling himself." - Scott Wells, M.I.M.C. with Gold Star

The Magic Word podcast: http://themagicwordpodcast.com Listen to convention coverage, interviews with magicians, pictures, videos and more.

Magic Inspirations website for all things Banachek: www.magicinspirations.net
Paul
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I would just like to add that there are probably VERY few magicians that have made money from writing magic books. For someone that is not a recognized name it is very difficult to find anyone that will risk buying. So to go the whole hog (the extra 10% or so) and have a beautifully done book would leave you in debt for a long time!

Publishers will not risk investing money in someone that is unknow either.

Perhaps best to try and become known first with magazine contributions, lectures and winning convention competitions before starting on a book.

It is a lot of hard work for very little reward. What's the phrase, vanity publishing?
Most magical publications are just that. Which is not to say that some are not excellent.

Personally I am not too snobbish when it comes to magic books. I would rather have a spiral bound home produced effort with good content than a lovely produced coffee table book which has nothing in it I can use. Having said that you cannot beat a beautifully produced book that also has strong content (like The James File). But what do they say, you can't judge a book by it's cover? Smile

Paul Hallas.
Brad Jeffers
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I recently saw a panel discussion on C-SPAN on the topic of POD (print on demand) publishing. You submit your work (on a computer disk) to one of these companies and they will enter it in their system. You can then order as many copies as you like at any time you like.

The initial cost for the author was generally around $400. There are many benifits to this system. One, you are not stuck with 995 or so copies, if your book fails to sell. Another benefit, answers the concerns that Scott had with regards to proofreading - if you notice any misspellings or other grammatical goofs, you simply notify the POD company and they can make immediate changes, so all subsequent copies of the book are printed with the corrections.

All of the panelists had written novels, and the cover price on their books was around $12 to $18. At this, they were making a small amount of profit, but most were hoping that if they sold enough copies, a "mainstream" publishing house might take notice, and sign them to a lucritive deal.

It seems to me, that for a technical book (i.e. a magic book), POD is an excellent way to go. You could either have dealers order through you, or directly from the POD company (but be aware, that unlike major publishers these companies do not accept returns). There's a lot more to this, but if you are seriously interested in publishing a magic book, POD seems certainly worth investigating.
amagician
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I am just back from confirming that my book, one with magic tricks for the general public, will be published as an electronic book in the next couple of days.
That experience is going to be very educational for me.
Re proof-reading; I believe I am a good proof reader, despite my pposts to tthis forum Smile but I am not a professional proof reader. I just had to learn to pick up errors when I spent a lot of years as a computer operator. Now I can't help it Smile
If someone wants their Mss scanned, email me.
I am Australian but I did okay with Card Mondor's Americanisms and learnt British English real good when I was in school Smile
Three smilies - that's more than enough for one night.
Have a Magic day
John Williams
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Starry
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Quote:
.. one jobber has the resources and "where-with-all" to contact the world. Indeed you will make less through a jobber, but they take a lot larger quantity than the individual dealers.


All good advice. I'd like to ask Scott Wells if he has some jobbers to magic shops to recommend. If so, can you share them, Scott? I'd love to get my book into their hands. By the way, THE MAGIC LIFE was just mentioned in this month's Magic Magazine -- after months of prodding.

As for getting reviews, I'm not exactly certain what the secret is. Though my book is not the classic "how to" magic book, I found that in the "muggle" world, it is extrememly difficult to get reviews. Smile
Ace Starry - Author or THE MAGIC LIFE - A NOVEL PHILOSOPHY
http://www.starry.com/
amagician
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Starry, I will tell you what I did and maybe there is something in this ramble which will help you or someone else.

Now, this is a side thought and please don't take offense. Your sig makes me think that your book may not be the sort of book which magic magazine reviewers think their readers are most interested in. At best, this might mean that it moves down a point or two in the tough fight between, say, twenty books the reviewer reads and drafts a report on that month and the five or six that fit in his/her column.

You may want to send an excerpt, preferably with relative pictures, for possible inclusion in the editorial part of the magazine. You may find some interest in the New Age magazines too.

Back to my experience, based on one book out for over a year on CD Rom and one book which was published about 3am yesterday real (Australian) time.

I submitted the book to most reviewers cold except for sending a query email first to confirm the address to send it to. I gave a bit of information about the book and Card Mondor, and also offered an excerpt to one or more. I can't remember exactly.

I did not ask for guarantee of publication of a review or anything like that.
A couple of the Magazines asked for photos and I remember sitting up all night trying to get the requested files into one magazine's site which did not have the capacity to accept them (and it was the day before they went to press of course).
I also contacted the reviewer of a couple of major magic clubs on the basis of recommendations from Card's friends.
And I emailed a query, then submitted a copy to Bryan Dean for his Review Talk.

In every case, I was treated in a very professional manner and tried to do the same.
I think everyone reviewed the book but it had a few things going for it; Card had done so much in a variety of fields and countries, it was a novelty being only released on CD Rom and everyone said it was good. (I can say that because Card wrote it, I just converted and published it).
Hope this helps. Moderators will edit as they see fit and that is fine.

If anyone has any questions, I would appreciate if they email me direct because I am currently only getting to this, my favorite Forum, about once a week or so.
Oh, Starry, I almost forgot, Good Luck! Smile
Have a Magic day
John Williams
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Dr. TORA
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Hey Fellows,
This thread has been very beneficial to those like me who can not decide on writing a book. For me, all the ideas above are worth thinking over. Thanks to you all...
Smile Smile Smile
Magically Yours,

OZLEN TUNCER /Dr.TORA

Have you visited my new Website in English, yet?

www.magictora.com or www.torasmagic.com
ddyment
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Not sure that I can add a great deal to what has already been said here... but that has never stopped me before!

One issue that I think every prospective author needs to address is his/her reason(s) for creating the book in the first place, as this should have some effect on the choices for production and distribution methods. Be aware that very few magic books ever return much in the way of profit to their authors, and certainly they rank low on the scale of "return on time invested".

My own book was written primarily at the insistence of friends (and one in particular) who thought that certain items (and one in particular) should be published in order that (a) the world know about them, and (b) my "rights" to same be established. I never expected to make any significant money at it.

As it's turned out, I have done all right financially, due I believe to two things... first, I produced (wrote, edited, illustrated, and manufactured) the book myself, and sell it directly, so there are no "middle people" to swallow the majority of the profits (this also helps me to price it affordably, which undoubtedly increases sales); and (2) the book has been very well received, with lots of "endorsements" (see the Website in my signature line below). Obviously one cannot be assured of this second item, but it does help to do the best possible job you can of creating the book in the first place.

I echo the comments of others when I encourage you to remember that the real job of an author is *not* writing. It's rewriting! That (plus good proofreading) will lift your book head and shoulders above the vast number of books out there that are filled to the point of embarrassment with bad grammar, spelling mistakes, and unwieldy descriptions. Most magic books are intended to be teaching aids, so authors with little experience in writing training documents would be well advised to have their efforts reviewed by someone who does!

My 2+ cents. Smile

... Doug
"Calculated Thoughts" now at The Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
makeupguy
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A note on POD publishing..

It's vey diffcult (if not impossible) to make a POD book with illustrations.

Mike
amagician
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Mike, that really surprisesme.
Why would illustrations be a problem? I mean black and white ones - color (note the US spelling!) might be impractical with the equipment used but I cannot understand why b/w would be any sort of problem.
What format are documents for POD prepared in?
eBooks, which I am getting more involved with don't have any problem with illustrations (colour or color or black and white) or the length of the Mss. Smile
(still no parrot)
Have a Magic day
John Williams
http://www.ezymagic.com/
more tricks than you can shake a wand at
subscribe to our free ezine on site
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