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Topic: Book Publishing
Message: Posted by: cloneman (May 31, 2004 09:42PM)
Does anybody have any experience publishing books for the magic industry? As many of you know, I've written an article, appearing in the June issue of Magic Magazine, which focuses on legal protections for magic tricks. I'm considering expanding the article into a book which would provide answers to common legal situations (not just trick protection) faced by magic entertainers.

Does anyone know of any similar books on the market (written by attorneys)?

Can anyone recommend a publisher to approach with such an idea?
Message: Posted by: TheDean (Jun 1, 2004 12:16AM)
Hi Allen,

I have really enjoyed your contributions here and would LOVE to see such an effort made on behalf of the arts!

I say Go for it brother!

I have real-world experience in this very arena (as do others here at the Café’ – Steve Hart, Jim Snack etc) and the answer you seek is not just that obvious.

The answer you are after will depend on your interests, skills, and resources (Time, Talent, Treasures) to discern the correct and true answer that is just right for you and your situation.

Some have chosen to self publish with amazing results, and others have outsourced part or parts of the solution for the beast, most desired results for them.

What is your time worth?
What is your experience in this arena?
Once it’s done, how do you plan to market/distribute it?
…and so on.

If it's alright, based on my experiences, I would love to take a moment or two and chat with you over the phone, as I am somewhat "typographically impaired" for the sake of expediency to discern the real and correct solution for you and your desired outcomes...

That is up to you, though I'm willing to share what I know… no strings, brother to brother.

What ever I can do to support, encourage and assist you and your success in this arena is fine by me!

I am at your service and In His Service,
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Jun 1, 2004 05:37AM)
I think that it would be an important contribution to the field. I suspect, however, that the market for such a book would be very limited. You might have difficulty finding a publisher. The other alternative is to self publish using a POD (print on demand) short run publisher.

For more information on publishing see:


Scroll down to the section on "Creating Books and Products."
Message: Posted by: TheDean (Jun 1, 2004 10:12AM)
See, Jim is the best!
Message: Posted by: cloneman (Jun 2, 2004 10:08PM)
Thank you both; I will take a look at your sites. As in any media or sales situation, the key is distribution. Even a self-published work would require a working distribution model. I suppose what I am asking is a research question: is there a book on the market, written by an attorney, which speaks to the specific legal and business issues faced by magicians?

Incidentally, I don’t see myself offering a course, so I don’t see myself in direct competition with you guys.
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Jun 3, 2004 05:35AM)
I did a quick search om Amazon for "performing arts law" and came up with the following book written by a ventriloquist:

The Performing Arts Business Encyclopedia
by Leonard D. Duboff



There are others, but this looks interesting.

I also searched "entertainment law" and had 53,000 hits.
Message: Posted by: MikeJRogers (Jun 3, 2004 06:17AM)
The only book that I know of, which could possible be difficult to obtain now, is 'Protection of Magicians Secrets' published by Abb Dickson and the WAM.

Good luck in your persuit,

Message: Posted by: cloneman (Jun 3, 2004 07:34AM)
Jim - thanks. There certainly are a lot of "entertainment law" books out there...and I think I have most of them in my personal library! :)

What I'm talking about is a book tailored to the needs of magicians, a subject on which I've found nothing except the WAM book - which may be out of print.

Mike - as to the WAM book. I do, indeed, have a copy. With all due respect to the authors, I don't beleive it is written in a style easy for the layperson to follow. It also deals exclusively with the issue of intellectual property protection for magic tricks, and does not delve into other issues like service contracts, liability, funds collection, etc., which my book would.
Message: Posted by: MikeJRogers (Jun 3, 2004 05:43PM)

I'm sure there would be a market for your book, so by all means go ahead. I look forward to seeing the result.

Good luck,

Message: Posted by: magiker (Jun 3, 2004 08:13PM)
Have you thought about making it an e-book?
No publishing costs as such and quick delivery.
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Jun 3, 2004 08:58PM)
I'm in the middle of your article and I would probably buy such a book. I don't know of any but hey, I'm new here.
Message: Posted by: cloneman (Jun 3, 2004 10:34PM)
Wizardofsorts - Are you reading it in Magic Magazine? I look forward to your feedback.

magiker - an e-book does sound workable. I notice you're in Sweden. My proposed book would focus on US law (I know a little about EU copyright, but not enough to feel comfortable teaching others). Do you have any thoughts as to the interest for such a book in Europe given that constraint?
Message: Posted by: 7th_Son (Jun 4, 2004 04:41AM)
On 2004-06-03 21:13, magiker wrote:
Have you thought about making it an e-book?
No publishing costs as such and quick delivery.

The problem with ebooks is that people email them to each other.

While you can certainly photocopy or scan a physical book, and then pass it on, there's much more time and effort required. Most people can't he bothered.

Also, some people associate ebooks with poor quality information. I've certainly bought some marketing type ebooks that I would consider total and utter junk. This is not to say that all ebooks are junk..it's a perception thing.
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Jun 4, 2004 06:20AM)
There is a relatively inexpensive solution to the problem of people making unauthorized copies of e-books to share with friends. It's called E-Book Pro, and you can read all about it at:


Although I do not use it, I am considereing going this route with my Success in Magic course.
Message: Posted by: cloneman (Jun 4, 2004 08:30AM)
One of the advantages of digital distribution (either e-book or cd accompanying the printed book)is that you can include forms and contracts that are instantly accessable. Since I plan on including copyright and trademark registration forms, I will look into this.

On the other hand, even if ebook pro has good anti-piracy controls, I do agree with 7th_Son about the perception of e-books.
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Jun 4, 2004 08:32AM)

You can always make it available in both versions - printed and ebook forms.
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Jun 4, 2004 12:04PM)
Yes I'm reading it in Magic Magazine and when I finish it I will give you my somewhat informed opinion. Frankly, I think we need more Business, Legal, Marketing, etc talk in all of our publications. But I also realize that the full time pros are in the minority in the magic world. So, it's a matter of market.
Message: Posted by: Blitzen (Jun 5, 2004 09:31PM)
I find ebooks very annoying and, with rare exception, they just don't "feel" right. I guess that's why the ebook readers that were pushed a few years ago died out. I'd write the book and then shop it around and then self-publish (any print shop can make books) a small run if there aren't any takers...then shop it around again for a publisher.
I liked your article and I think you have a great idea for a book. There are plenty of topics unrelated to IP protection for you to cover. As far as forms go...I know you've glanced at the form books sold at Office Max and know that they are too basic to be of much use. Copyright forms are easy and can be done by anyone pro se. Trademark is a bit more tricky and patents aren't something I'd recommend anyone doing pro se for anything (although there are plenty of books on the subject I've yet to hear of anyone making money on a pro se patent). Other forms are similar, it's a rare case where a form contract fits the client's needs, although I guess you could write a skeletal contract and add a number of clauses that could be inserted. I'm not sure how that would fly across jurisdictions, you might run into state-specific problems with the contracts and maybe even unlicensed practice problems.
If you do start on the book lemme know and feel free to bounce stuff off me.
Message: Posted by: Ricky B (Jun 24, 2004 01:39AM)
If you take on this project, it will truly be a labor of love. I can't see how you would make any money at it.

Is there a market? Of course. You could easily sell dozens of copies. Will that make it worth your while? Not by conventional standards. There is a reason why there are no books in this field, and it's not because there aren't enough lawyers around to write them.

Keep in mind that there are already general purpose books on contracts and so on.

Typical of laymen, the focus seems to be on how cheaply you could print the book. That should be the least of your concerns. The real cost is your time and effort.

That said, I have a friend who has written a legal guide for musicians, and while I don't know how much he has earned in royalties, I can say that it was worthwhile enough for him to revise it. Of course, there are far more musicians than magicians.

At one point, I thought about teaming up with him to write a guide for magicians, but I quickly came to my senses.

Message: Posted by: Paul Romhany (Jun 24, 2004 09:44AM)
The book sounds like a great idea and much needed. I started self publishing my ventriloquist books about fifteen years ago and they are still selling! Over the years I have sold about 500 copies. You can still produce a nice quality book this way and if it needs updating you can revise it.
I was fortunate that one of my books (non-magic) was picked up by Penguin and Ten Speed Press and is published in USA, England, Canada and Australia.
Message: Posted by: MagicalPirate (Jul 2, 2004 08:30PM)
Another possiblity is to do what CJ Johnson and Doc Dazzal do. Whenever someone buys a copy, print it out on your Laser printer and GBC Bind it (comb binding) and voila you have your book. There are many software packages to choose from to write your book in, so that will be the easy part.

Martin :pirate: