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magicman344
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This is my first time trying to sell an original magic effect, and I have no idea what I am doing. I created a method for getting out of duct tape bonds and the like and I would like to look into selling it, but I don't even know where to begin. If anyone could offer any assistance, that would be great.
John C
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1. Write up a clear detailed manuscript and send it to some trusted Café members for their opinion.
2. Come back for additional advice
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Simon C
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First of all, congrats on putting something original together. That gets harder and harder everyday in this community, so well done.

As for creating a product and getting it out there, here's some advice that I found useful (I put out my first two manuscripts this year, so I am still new to the game, but so far it's been reasonably successful...)

1. Do your homework. Make sure no one else has come up with your method exactly. Now, I know there are endless numbers of books and downloads and variations on things, so you don't have to trawl back through years of magic / escapology history, but a worthwhile amount of research to make sure that someone hasn't beaten you to the punch is a good idea. If it does turn out that your method is strikingly similar to one that has come before, you have a few options: a) change your method entirely and start the process over. b) Reach out to the author of the original method. Tell them about yours and ask if they wouldn't mind you releasing it (after a few changes of course). Most people are reasonable about this.

2. So your method is unique. Now you need to make it worth reading. Type it up and put together a rough draft, then send it out to a few trusted people who know about the field. They will be able to proofread and road test your idea for you, see if it really does work, and offer extra advice and guidance about how to proceed. Basically, your manuscript needs to read well, be entirely informative (what might seem second nature to you, having done the routine a hundred times, is completely alien to everyone else. Break it down into the smallest pieces), diagrams / photos never hurt either. Now, repeat the process of sending out copies to a few people. Do this a few times, and you'll end up with a quality product.)

3. Now how do you sell the thing? Two choices, either let someone else do the work for you, or do it yourself. Both have their good and bad sides.

- Let someone else do it. Get into contact with retails who already sell downloads in the category you want yours to go in (I don't know much about escapology, so I apologise, I wouldn't know where to look for that stuff). Send them a copy of your finished pdf and ask if they could sell it. They will read it, and if they like it, may proceed in putting in up in their marketplace. A good place to start is Lybrary, it has a ton of categories, and Chris sends out a newsletter of new products each week, so if yours is good, it may end up hundreds of inboxes. Obviously the leg work here is easier, send a copy to a store, and sit back and wait for sales, but there are downsides.
First of all, you won't get all your royalties. Whatever price you put on your pdf, if you sell it through someone else, they will take anywhere between 50-70% of money raised. This depends on the agreement you come to with whomever is selling it for you. Generally, the more exclusivity they can claim on your product, the less of a cut they make. Eg. If you give your product to one website, and let them be the only place ever that can sell it, they may only charge 50%. If however, you intend on letting 4 places each sell your product, each will take a bigger cut, so you may only receive 30% (My honest advice, go non exclusive. Put it out into as many places as possible. Although each copy sold will net you less money, you stand a chance of selling it to more people, and getting more exposure.)

- The other option, do it yourself. You need a place to sell your product, so you need to build a website. Its not too difficult, my own website where I sell both of my products is just a Blogger page, which I paid to have a custom domain name (www.simonCmagic.co.uk lots a hell of a lot better to potential customers than http://www.blogger.co.uk/blogs/simonCmagic...). There are plenty of resources out there to help you with this part.
Then you need a shopping cart for your customers. I would wholly recommend research E-junkie. After setting up an account, they will let you host a number of files, and create a custom shopping cart button to place of your site page (again, check out my page for an example).

The benefit of this option is that you get to keep the majority of your royalties (E-junkie does charge a flat monthly subscription fee, but doesn't cut a cut off your sales), after transaction fees with Paypal etc.
Example: I sell a $15 e-book. Through a third party site, after everything else was skimmed off the top, I got $4 per copy sold, but I got $13 per copy for ones sold through my own site.
Also, it is way more satisfying to see your own hard work pay off.
The downsides though is that it is obviously more hard work, from building the websites, integrating a shopping cart and actually advertising and getting yourself out there. But it is worth it.

You could also just so both. Sell it yourself, and give it to other people to sell. The benefit of this is that the bigger places are effectively doing your advertising for you (make sure you include a link to your website somewhere in the pdf), so more people are likely to come looking for you the next time around.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, PM me.

S/C
Tom Jorgenson
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LULU.COM is also worth looking into. They host your PDF, will print it as a soft or hard bound book and/or offer it as a DL. Your choices. They take a minimum amount of cut but it's up to you to spread the good word. They are easy to work with, once you get all the little Epub requirements out of the way or down pat.

Lulu gives you your own Author's page to display your books. They take the orders, take care of the money, print and send the books or downloads, keeps a running tally of what's been sold and your cut (on your private page) and sends your loot to you once a month. Not a bad deal for 8%.

If your ebook is more 'public' oriented, you can give it a Barcode, and it shows and sells on dozens of other places as well as Lulu.

Good luck with your Ebook. The first one is the hardest one, I'm thinking.
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Chris
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The advice given above is pretty spot on. As somebody who is retailing magic ebooks for 14 years, which I guess makes me the one doing it for the longest time in magic, I will add a few comments based on what I have experienced over the years.

I am a DIY guy so I fully understand the non-monetary rewards you get from building your own website and directly selling your products to other magicians. If that is something that gets you excited definitely do it.

However, from a purely financial point of view it is for most not a wise decision. As has been pointed out there are setup and maintenance fees that you will have to pay. Setup fees are typically not that high, but monthly maintenance fees or service fees can get pesky particularly if revenue us small. I have seen cases where people have actually lost money because they were not able to generate enough revenue with their few products.

But the real challenge that many are not able to take by themselves is the marketing side - generating enough sales. Selling a few to family and friends doesn't count and will hardly pay for the fees mentioned above. Posting here on the Café and other forums will get you some sales, but they will also tend to dry up quickly. It is very hard for an individual, particularly a new-comer to compete with all the other hundreds and thousands of magic ebooks and other authors, many of them excellent and providing great value. Here is where a company like Lybrary.com can be very helpful with, assuming what you have is good. I have spent 14 years building a following and customer base. Many trust my judgement. So when I recommend a product - and I only recommend products I really like - then that can immediately lead to a good number of sales. It is very hard for an individual to drive that much traffic to his website to make a good amount of sales. While it is true that you will make 100% on your own sales, getting 50% from a lot more sales usually makes you more money. But keep in mind, this is purely the financial side. For some the financial side is not important and they simply love to do it.
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Simon C
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You hit the nail on the head Chris. Working with a place like Lybrary.com is such a great help as it puts your product out in front of thousands of people that you would otherwise not be able to reach, and has the potential to generate a lot more revenue. I all just depends on your own preference.

Personally, I would shy away creating any physical copies of your pdf via Lulu or anywhere else at this early stage with your first idea. It is (right now) an unnecessary complication and added moving part. See if the interest is there first by monitoring how your pdf does, and then take the plunge if you want.
Koolmagic114
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Now I have to agree with Simon C and Chris..

And 1 point they both left out...... Just because you build a web site unless you do TONS and I mean TONS of promotion on it and getting it's name out there.. with web site's.. you cannot use the age old addage "If you build it they will come"

My new magic web site is HUGE.. and I am still in the promoting stages and 'trying' to get the word out there about it..

Eddy
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Co-Creator of "TAGZ" / "Iced Over" / " TelePad" / "Penigma"
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magicman344
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Thanks for all that information, it will certainly be very useful! However, most of your advice has been on the marketing side of this. Can I get some more advice on how to put together the actual manuscript? Thanks again.
ljsviol
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Magicman344,
Among the excellent resources at lybrary.com, there is Tom Stone's book on Self-Publishing, listed on the free books page:
http://www.lybrary.com/free_ebooks.php

Here's the description:
"If you want to learn more about how to write your own ebook, then download the shareware ebook Self-Publishing (~4 MByte) by Tom Stone. This is specifically written for magicians but many of the desktop publishing techniques taught are valuable for any other genre you want to write for. Tom Stone is a top performer and very creative. His advice is excellent. You can download his ebook for free. And if you like it send Tom $5. Instructions on how to do that are in the ebook. "

I hope this helps you. I find Tom Stone's writing to be clear and full of ideas.

Larry S.
magicman344
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Wow, thanks ljsviol, this pdf is amazing.
Cliffg37
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Talk to Roslyn Walker (Here on the Café) he marketed a manuscript a couple of years ago. If I recall he had to find a way to deal with thieves and pirates.
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Ed_Millis
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As far as actually creating a PDF file, if you don't own a program that offers SaveAs a PDF, then you might want to look at the free program doPDF.

Ed
MrHyde
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I partnered with Chris at Lybrary many years ago.
He's great to work with and it's a great and easy way to get into the field.

The Tom Stone book is very good.

I also have another brilliant "How to Publish and Sell an eBook" resource that I read last week.
It's free and I'll be sharing it with MagicCoach subscribers next issue
charliecheckers
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Have you posted in the "Let There Be Magic" section of TMC yet?
dearwiseone
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MagicMan,
I think the easiest way is to assemble your book in Microsoft Word or better yet, Open Office. Open office is a free program very similar to Microsoft Word.

Open Office has a free, built-in, word to pdf extension so you can encode with one click! Just click the "PDF" button and your document is made into a PDF! It's super-easy, it's free, and it lets you lay everything out in a word processor, so it's easy to format.

Here's what you might include:

Cover
Title page
Copyright
Content

You'll probably want to include lots of photographs if it talks about a method. You'll want someone to design a front cover for the ebook. The final PDF can also have links to youtube videos (showing an demo, for example), additional instructions, etc.

This is how I've done most of the PDFs I offer on my website and they seem to work fine.

Does this help? PM me or reply if you have any other questions or need help.

- Kevin
magicman344
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Kevin- how would I set up the copyright?
dearwiseone
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What do you mean? All you have to do is write a copyright in the document, usually the page after the title page. Just write something like "All content copyright © Magicman334 2013"

You can distribute the PDF through someplace like Amazon that offers self-publishing with DRM (Digital rights management) if you're concerned about people re-distributing it. Also though, it's going to be done, so I wouldn't worry about it. It's just one of the cons of doing business like this in the digital age.

With a free wordpress plugin, you can sell your PDF download so that people who purchase the PDF are sent an encrypted link, valid for 48 hours (or whatever term you arrange). The same plugin (or many similar plugins) will allow you to put limits on the number of downloads per IP address, etc.

Hope that answers your question!
Kevin
magicman344
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All I have to do is write "All content copyright © Magicman334 2013"? I don't have to set it up officially with the government or something?
jlibby
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Technically, yes. But that may not be worth your time or money ... you will have to decide that. Honestly, if really wants to rip off your e-book, he'll find a way.

Another thing you can do is password protect the PDF. Lee Earle did that with some e-books I purchased from him. But I don't know the process so I don't know how much trouble it is.

Best of luck!
Joe Libby
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Quote:
On 2013-12-19 16:55, magicman344 wrote:
All I have to do is write "All content copyright © Magicman334 2013"? I don't have to set it up officially with the government or something?
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dearwiseone
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Actually, technically NO. If you are the original author, your work is already copyrighted the moment you type it up in Microsoft Word. Many people are mistaken about this. You don't even need to have the copyright symbol, that's just a formal representation and reminder.

Here it is word for word from the government website (www.copyright.gov):
When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration.”


If you assume that your work is going to be copied and the financial compensation is such that you feel the need to establish funds and set aside time to pursue lawsuits, you may with to register your document and secure a certificate of copyright that you may present in court when you built your case against any offender.

Magicman - please be aware that even if you register your copyright, prosecuting and enforcing it, not just domestically, but internationally, can be extremely costly, take years, and can be next to impossible to enforce. Consider if that is really worth your time for such a small, niche document that might be purchased by just a few thousand people at most.

Don't take legal advice from us though, you should do your own homework or consult a qualified legal advisor. A good place to start (for general advice on copyrighting) is http://www.copyright.gov


- Kevin
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