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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Let there be magic! » » What to do with a killer? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

lesterkirad
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I have what I believe is a fairly good card trick. I really want to do something with it, but I am not sure where to go with it. How do I find out if it already exists? Can I give it to someone to publish? I am sure that many people are in the same situation that I am. Any information would be helpful.
Steve Brooks
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Though your question seems simple enough, the answer can be quite involved.

First, the creative process is a strange beast to tame. We often get excited over a move, flourish, count, etc. only to have the wind knocked out of our sails when we realize somebody else thought of the same idea twenty years before we were born! Smile

Thus, the first rule of creating any effect is research. Keeping a decent size magic library for reference is a start, as is reading and studying every magazine, booklet or phamplet you can get your hands on.
You can never read too much. Besides, better to do your homework now than look like a fool later. Smile

Regarding the selling of the effect, that in itself could easily fill a book. But I will at least try and give a few pointers.
Assuming you have done your research, and the effect is indeed original with you, you need to ask yourself several important questions.

First, does the trick use normal cards, requiring only special moves, or are the cards gaffed?

If only moves are involved, I would elect to include such an effect in a collection of other items you have created, then present them in some kind of booklet, or submit them to a magazine for publication. Either way, selling the effect as described only invites piracy and imitation.

If special cards are used (ie printed in a special way), it is harder for someone to duplicate, thus allowing for greater sales (if the effect rocks). Also, when purchasing a packet effect, folks want to get something special for their money. Sure they get the trick itself, but if they wanted only effects, most people would rather buy a book full of them, or purchase a dvd or video.
Just my opinion.

As for selling them, you have a couple options.

You can sell all the rights to a large publisher like L&L Publishing, Meir Yedid, Magic City, etc. In which case they pay you a one time fee, and take on the burden of advertising, manufacturing and or distributing the trick themselves. If the trick bombs, the publisher takes the loss.
If it's a good seller, you get good exposure which will help you when and if you create another in the future. Either way, you get something out of the deal.

Another route to take is selling the item yourself. This leads to even more questions.
How much do you charge? Whatever you think the market will bare...more research.
Do you have money to advertise? If so, how many tricks must you sell before you realize any kind of profit?

Remember, you have the special cards to have made (this is not cheap), if you make them yourself, your time is certainly worth something. And speaking of time...do you have the time? You'll need packaging, artwork for the package, instruction sheets.
Will you use photos or drawings? Again, unless you are an artist or good photographer, this is more money...and time!

Okay, you have your special cards, the instruction sheets and packaging, now you have to package these bad boys up...again, more time. How many to make up? More research on your part. If the trick is really good, I mean awsome, you may sell a couple thousand. If not?....

Now you must decide as to which sales route you wish to take. Selling direct to the public (You are the publisher), or selling large quanities to distributors, who will in turn sell them to magic shops. If you sell to distributors, they will generally want about a 60% discount off whatever the retail price is, so keep that in mind.

If you do decide to sell them yourself, are you prepared to accept credit cards? I'll do a little homework for you, my treat.
Research shows that at least half of all retail sales are by credit card. Now you need a credit card machine and bank account, or pay a firm to handle it for you. Again, more money. You will of course need a business license (Requirements vary from state to state, country to country).
In California for instance, if you sell any retail, you will need a Sellers Permit from the State Board of Equalization, because of the sales tax issue. Still with me?

Now another decision, should you submit the effect to magazines to be reviewed? If they like it, you'll sell more! But if they don't...ouch.

Let's assume you are selling them yourself.
Okay, your ads are in the magazine, you got the credit card problem worked out, now you wait. You must also realize, that the best you can hope for with mail order sales is to pay the cost of the ads, believe me.

The real profit will come from convention sales, and magic shops! But which shops?
Where are they? Can I afford to give them credit? You mean they want me to send them samples? More time...more money.

Gee, maybe selling to that distributor wasn't such a bad idea after all. But still, how many will I actually sell? Perhaps selling straight out to that publisher would be better? These and many more questions and problems await you in your quest.

The scenarios above are just a few of the many obstacles you will face in marketing your effect, nothing worthwhile ever comes easy.

I'm not trying to discourage you, I'm trying to prepare you for the reality of it all.
I wish you the best my friend. Good luck!
:wavey:
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
lesterkirad
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Sounds to me like selling to a publisher would be the best route to take for most everyone, unless they plan on selling more than one trick on their own.
Steve Brooks
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I'm glad to have been of some help in this area. As I said earlier, I only touched on the basics, and certainly there is more to marketing than I addressed, but you did ask.
Smile Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
omnibozo
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Boulder, CO
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I have been involved with the creating, manufacturing, writing, editing, printing, marketing, carrying, storing, repairing, burning, etc. of many magical items... both my own and those of others.

Steve has laid out some wonderful things for magical inventors to consider. The rewards often center more in the "contributions to the art" category than in the financial, but we all love to see new stuff come in... so good luck in your efforts... and keep us posted.
Bob LaRue
Paul
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Steve showed the reality of the situation, and Bob summed it up when he said;
The rewards often center more in the "contributions to the art" category than in the financial.

For every D'lite and Cardtoon that sell in the thousands, there are thousands of tricks that sell in the dozens, and less. Dealers do not pay much for the rights to effects, magic is a funny business, no-one can tell which effects will really sell well. For most, having a trick marketed is simply a way of getting your name out there and establishing that the effect IS yours.

I have bought the rights to a few effects I thought were great to find I sold less than a dozen! I know other dealers who have done the same. You never can tell.

Paul Hallas
lesterkirad
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Ok, I have decided what I am doing with my trick. I am going to get in touch with a few publishers and see if they want it or not. I am not interested in making a large amount of money, I am more in it for the experience and to see what happens. I will keep everyone posted on what happens. Maybe someone else can benefit through my experience.
poire
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Steve, thanks for the above info: it really puts things into perspective. One issue I'd like to take up is the "research" factor. There is more written material out there than I will be alive long enough to read and, moreover, who can afford to buy it all?!

I, like everyone else, have a killer effect. It rocks, kicks ass, ect., but I'm sure this is what Vernon et al thought when they possible stumbled across it 100 years ago.

Is it now just a question of me asking as many experienced magicians as I can approach if they have encountered it before?

Is there (and should there be) a central index of effects that one may consult? Needless to say, this index would exclude the method, merely describe the effect.

I'm afraid I don't have a massive hat...
Andy Leviss
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Yes, ask as many experienced magicians as you can, because no, unfortunately there isn't a central index to consult. The closest we've come so far to a central index is Max Maven Smile

Max has what is apparently a photographic memory, which can recall pretty much anything in his disturbingly massive library nearly instantaneously; you'll thus notice that he's named as a research source in most publications nowadays Smile

--Andy
Note: I have PMs turned off; if you want to reach me, please e-mail [email]Andy.MagicCafe@DucksEcho.com[/email]!
lesterkirad
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well, i am glad i researched. the effect that i came up with is already out there. there are a few differences, but it is hard to say which version is actually better. at any rate, it answered my question of marketing it or not. Smile
Bascomb Grecian
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Max is quite a facinating character!
Welcome to The Magic Cafe'!
Ron Giesecke
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Ok, I have a question, Steve. let's say that I have come up with what I believe to be a stunner, and I also believe that, even if it does not gain immediate momentum--will eventually become a reference point among a few other classics.

Okay, now, suppose I sell the rights to a dealer (L&L, Meir, MagicSmith, et. al.), and it not only becomes successful, but the demand for a video arises. By selling the rights, as it were, do I completely eliminate myself from the authoritive loop? Can they arbitrarily decide to have someone other than the progenitor make the video?

So I guess what I'm asking is, when I sell the rights, does that mean that "they get all of the money, and I get all of the credit?"

Pardon my ignorance here. I am somewhat familiar with "first serial rights" as a writer, but I have never published something as multi-dimensional as a magic effect before. And I truly believe I have a good one.

--Ron

Smile
Andy Leviss
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That depends on the specific contract you sign with them, Ron. Sometimes they only get certain rights, sometimes all the rights. Sometimes they get the rights for eternity, sometimes for a limited amount of time. It's all flexible.
Note: I have PMs turned off; if you want to reach me, please e-mail [email]Andy.MagicCafe@DucksEcho.com[/email]!
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