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maxwell
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Glad to hear you enjoyed Chapter 1, Bart. I'll look forward to hearing what you think of the rest of the book. I hope chapter one hasn't discouraged you in any way. There is strong demand for great items. As long as you do things in a way that's respectful of the art and the community, it's a very positive experience.

Great magic products inspire thousands of magicians. It's an awesome thing to be a part of.
maxwell
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Zombie Magic - Yeah, Wayne is great. Thanks for pointing that out. Love what he's doing at magic.about.com.
barts185
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Maxwell - thanks for the reply. It hasn't discouraged me, but it did reinforce what I thought to be the case from my relatively short, so far, experience. If I say anymore, I'll likely get myself in trouble Smile
maxwell
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Have fielded some great questions in PM. Would be happy to help if you have a question. Lets do it here if possible so others can participate.
Don Dasher
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I have a question.

You made your money at Penguin Magic as a discounter and undercutter. Admittedly, you learned about ethics or at least decided to begin applying them along the way while wreaking some degree of havoc in the magic community and possibly lowering the standards across the board.

So you profited off other people's inventions and applied ethics as it suited you. Why should anyone take your advice when it comes to selling their own original inventions? Especially when in your book all roads seem to lead to Penguin Magic? Isn't this just another way of making money off those who actually do invent magic?

Also, your book just got dropped from your main distributor. Is there a chapter in there devoted to making sure that doesn't happen to us?


DD
Joe Roberts
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Quote:
On 2012-10-30 16:03, Don Dasher wrote:
I have a question.

You made your money at Penguin Magic as a discounter and undercutter. Admittedly, you learned about ethics or at least decided to begin applying them along the way while wreaking some degree of havoc in the magic community and possibly lowering the standards across the board.

DD


Is selling items at a discount considered unethical? I'm asking because I genuinely don't know. Wouldn't we expect an online retailer to sell things at a price that is cheaper than a brick and mortar place would?
Don Dasher
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Quote:
On 2012-10-30 16:19, Joe Roberts wrote:
Quote:
On 2012-10-30 16:03, Don Dasher wrote:
I have a question.

You made your money at Penguin Magic as a discounter and undercutter. Admittedly, you learned about ethics or at least decided to begin applying them along the way while wreaking some degree of havoc in the magic community and possibly lowering the standards across the board.

DD


Is selling items at a discount considered unethical? I'm asking because I genuinely don't know. Wouldn't we expect an online retailer to sell things at a price that is cheaper than a brick and mortar place would?



My understanding is that discounting in magic has always been frowned upon, long before the online retailers existed. I'm not 100% clear on the reasoning but it has something to do with it being a relatively limited market. An undercutter would be a dealer that offers a deep discount on a brand new item, often undercutting even the manufacturer. There are only a few dealers that operate like this. Penguin Magic would be the most extreme example I think. That's why it stood out to me.


DD
Joe Roberts
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On 2012-10-30 16:29, Don Dasher wrote:

My understanding is that discounting in magic has always been frowned upon, long before the online retailers existed. I'm not 100% clear on the reasoning but it has something to do with it being a relatively limited market. An undercutter would be a dealer that offers a deep discount on a brand new item, often undercutting even the manufacturer. There are only a few dealers that operate like this. Penguin Magic would be the most extreme example I think. That's why it stood out to me.


DD


Do you have any specific examples of what you're talking about? Their prices on products seems fairly consistent with what I see elsewhere.
maxwell
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Thanks for your post, Don!

You and I need to have beers (or waters) together sometime.

The argument against discounting is normally made by magic retailers. It makes perfect sense if your objective is to protect the interests of magic retailers (few things would be better for a retailer than to be able to raise prices and compete only on selection and service). However, there is another side to this tortilla. Competition among dealers is good for magic customers, manufacturers, and inventors. When a retailer discounts an item, he/she is voluntarily taking a smaller share of the profit in order to increase sales velocity or win new customers. Some manufacturers prefer not to have retailers discount their items, and there are legal ways for them to do so (Minimum Advertised Price agreements are common in many industries). However, price fixing is illegal in the US because competition is good for customers. There is no provision in the law making price fixing ok in small markets. Competition is good for customers, regardless of market size. Don't let the entrenched players convince you otherwise!

The observation I "profited off other people's inventions" would turn my face rouge... if generating profit with other people's inventions were a bad thing! In fact, the opposite is true! Magic producers get paid to generate maximal profit with a magic inventor's idea. That's why inventors seek out magic production companies, to turn their ideas into money! Of course inventors share a portion of the profit with the people who are helping them bring the item to life. It's the HELP magic producers get paid for... The value we add. I'm proud of the products I produced. Most of the inventors I have worked with are my friends, and all are people I deeply respect. There is a potential for magic companies to use their information advantage to negotiate deals that are unfair to uninformed inventors. This is why I wrote the book!

As for the "all roads lead to Penguin" comment, please don't misunderstand. I recommend working with many companies other than Penguin. In fact, I have included contact information for dozens of companies in my book, and I recommend working with all of them. My goal was to give readers a tour of the key players in the industry so they can work with anyone they want.

I know there are a lot of people who would agree with your points, Don, and I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts on these important subjects.
Maxwell
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Great post, Maxwell. I learn everytime you say (or write) something. Love it!

Regards,
Mike
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This is exactly what I can use right now, ill def be buying it.

Quick question:

I have this really amazing trick id like to release, the problem is that it requires some stuff to build the gimmick, mag wax, xacto knife and id say it would take 10 minutes to make it (for someone good with this stuff maybe 5 minutes).

Question, id prefer to really just sell the info (downloadable video) on how to do the trick a-z and how to make the gimmick, but will that mean few sales? Should I just offer to sell and ship the gimmick + a dvd?
Irishghost
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On 2012-10-31 20:07, MuscleMagic wrote:
This is exactly what I can use right now, ill def be buying it.

Quick question:

I have this really amazing trick id like to release, the problem is that it requires some stuff to build the gimmick, mag wax, xacto knife and id say it would take 10 minutes to make it (for someone good with this stuff maybe 5 minutes).

Question, id prefer to really just sell the info (downloadable video) on how to do the trick a-z and how to make the gimmick, but will that mean few sales? Should I just offer to sell and ship the gimmick + a dvd?


To be honest if you supply the gimmick you will make more, trust a card gaffer.

Jeremy Hanrahan
I get to gaff some cool stuff for some cool people
Irishghost
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I can honestly say after ready the pdf I could have saved $2100.00 with my first release Entity, so the cost of the book or pdf is well worth the price. As in the post above, this pdf that Maxwell put out, would give the creator many solutions to make and produce said gimmicks at a fraction of the cost if he made it himself. The legal section will save you a lot of headaches and the lingering question after you sign the contract "why didn't I think of this before I signed?"

As for a certain company dropping this book, should tell you that what is written in this book/pdf should tell you that the info in this book/pdf will put money in the pocket it belongs.....YOURS!!!!! I can honestly tell you I have been lucky to work with company's like T11, MJM Magic, Feather Touch Magic, Morrissey Magic and the Magic Place just to name a few. For someone that has been so at the cuff of magic, with running and operating a company that is the biggest retail magic site on the planet should make the choice simple. The section on production companies jousting for YOUR effect is refreshing and should really tell the reader who really is control. I have been waiting for a book/pdf like this for years.......... remember, without creators there is no magic. Take what you read within these pages and apply the lessons and most of all the experience, and apply it to your bottom line!

Remember search out the companies that are listed in this book/pdf and the ones I mentioned and apply the knowledge you learn in it!!!!!!


Don't rel;ease garbage, release the things that others will dye to have!!!!!!

Jeremy Hanrahan
I get to gaff some cool stuff for some cool people
maxwell
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MuscleMagic, Great question!

Jeremy makes GREAT suggestions, and, traditionally, inventors have made more money by manufacturing and selling the gimmick + instructional materials.

But, I have seen instant downloads sell in very high volume, and given the high royalties that are being offered by leading retailers these days, I think you're smart to (at least) consider a purely digital release.

It sounds like your item is very well suited to being an "instant download" video product.

In my experience, as long as the instructions are clear and easy to follow, customers are generally happy to spend some time making the gimmick themselves. Obviously, the better the trick, the more time people will spend. 5-10 minutes for a one-time construction is totally reasonable, and I'd be surprised if customers complained.

An instant download video is the lowest friction way to sell a product. It's easy to produce, and easy to consume. If the trick is fooling to magicians, it's likely to sell very well as an instant download.

The key is going to be getting a high-volume shop like Vanishing Inc, Ellusionist, Theory11, Dan and Dave, or Penguin to feature and push the download. I'd recommend asking for a 50% royalty and getting assurances from the retailer that they'll feature the product prominently on their site and include it in promotional emails. If it's a great item and you can produce the download yourself, you will likely be able to sell through multiple high-volume retailers. This is a powerful strategy for maximizing sales. Each company can only push so hard. Imagine if you had Ellusionist pushing the item for 2 months and then Penguin coming on board and pushing it for another 2-months, and then a couple more shops coming on and pushing it. You're looking for a wave of promotion that builds and builds, rather than a big pop that fizzles as the item gets lost in the sea of other new releases.

If the item sells well as a download, you can come out with the DVD+gimmick version later. That way physical shops can carry the item too. This may or may not be worth the production cost and effort. It's gonna be a judgement call. But, you'll be in a great position to make that call after you see how the download sells. In any case, I would recommend getting a quantity commitment from a distributor before you commit to producing the physical version. Contact high-volume shops/distributors and explore your options.

I wish you great success with the item, and I hope this helps!
Maxwell
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I agree with Maxwell in the instant gradification (spelling) with a download, I still feel the value with supplying gimmicks with a release. Hand crafted gimmicks by the creators sell way more then downloads that customers have to gaff imho

Jeremy
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Magicsquared
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Quote:
On 2012-10-31 22:18, Irishghost wrote:
I agree with Maxwell in the instant gradification (spelling) with a download, I still feel the value with supplying gimmicks with a release. Hand crafted gimmicks by the creators sell way more then downloads that customers have to gaff imho

Jeremy


I would be surprised if that's the case. I'd much rather just get a download and put the thing together myself (assuming it's something simple to construct). I truly wish most DVDs were available as downloads as well. (I have my eyes on the Doug Conn set and would have got it weeks ago if it was a download but I just have no desire to have more stuff in my house. Even less so if it's a one-trick DVD that came with a double-backed card or something). I'm sure younger magicians are even less enthralled with the DVD format. But I don't have the statistics to back that up, so you could be right.
maxwell
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I have seen both types of products sell extraordinarily well.

If we zoom out, the market is moving toward more and more customers enjoying the instant gratification and low friction of electronic products, apps, etc.. This is analogous to the shift from video to DVD. Magic customers in particular are proving willing to pay real money for informational products. Downloads don't need to cost $5. My ebook is $40. Two of the best selling Instant Downloads at Penguin have been at the $20 price point.

Inventors can work directly with retailers and get a big percentage of that price tag. This is very appealing. But as I mentioned earlier, I'd remain open to producing a physical version in order to service the brick and mortar shops, especially if you have a bestseller on your hands.

When producing at Penguin, I opted for purely electronic a number of times, and never regretted it.

In the case where the gimmick is difficult to make or represents some real value, of course you'd want to go physical.
maxwell
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While it's cheaper/faster to produce electronic products, it's extremely important to do two things:

1) Make your download absolutely rock. You DON'T want to produce a homemade quickie. Spend time figuring out how to make it a superior product/experience for the customer. In my book I talk about one of my favorite questions during production, "What would it take to make this a 5 star product?"

2) Spend time making the right deals and figuring out how you will market your download. Many people are producing low-quality, low-volume downloads. The payoff for producing a NEXT LEVEL download that shops can feature is so much bigger than if you produce something that's just ok. Keep pushing and make it awesome.
Irishghost
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Great point!

Jeremy
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rasmus
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This Book is by Far the Best Purchase I made this year. The Value that
you receive with this is incredible Smile

Thanks so much Maxwell for this wonderful Manuscript, that will help me
in the Future, to save a lot of Money.

Best Wishes

Kindly

Rasmus
A World without Magic is a World without Dreams and Hope:)



Creator of: STEEL (performed by Dynamo), X-RAY, Real Coin Bend (performed by Dynamo), Totally Crazy Bands, Rasmus Haunted Deck, MCF CARDS, Jawbreaker, POLTERGEIST
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