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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » Official Magic Café Book of the Year 2020 (14 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of Rspangl
Jeff. Thanks for organizing this. I enjoy seeing everyone's picks and I shall resolve to be more involved this year so I can actually cast my votes for 2021 book of the year. Christian, and others who did so, I appreciate the additional commentary on your votes. It is very helpful. I actually came to the same conclusions for #1,#2, and #3 (with a bit of a tie for #3). So just for the record...

1. Perform by Tim Hanning. I think this book has broad appeal for anyone who performs for an audience. Yes, Tim provides some very good advice on putting a show together. But, what I found enjoyable was the positive way Tim treats his clients. This is smart business so that he can set up an annuity of future business. An even bigger take away is how he teaches us how to be a decent human being. Yes, things will go wrong, and the client may not provide ideal conditions, but Tim has a great attitude and strategies to get clients on his side to help him work through those challenges. Great book to refer back to. My vote is also very much influenced by the fact that I've been able to see Tim perform for kids a few times, and so I know the ideas in the book are real world.

2. Rubenstein Coin Magic. I've been wanting to add a little coin magic skills. This book is a great reference book, and what I like even more is that Michael has video available for many moves (maybe all?) and items in his Penguin Magic lecture are in the book. I like being able to combine the reading with the visual. I'm working on a short routine using the Spellbound move; of course I feel like I already know the Spellbound move. But I like looking over some of the variations of the move that Michael provides. Now that I have a video studio set-up, I think it will be very helpful for me to try the different Spellbound moves on camera to see how they actually look in my hands.

3. This is a toss-up for me between Parlour Tricks by Morgan and West and The Darkest Corners by Ben Hart. There are three main reasons I mention these two books here: They are full of stand-up/parlor routines, I've seen both of these acts performed live, and there are good scripting ideas in both. Again, it is very helpful for me to read the book, and recall how I saw and experienced the effects when I saw them performed live. And, the books are just beautifully printed and bound.

I'm intrigued to research more about some of the other books mentioned to better understand what was special about them. Thanks to all who voted to help us all gain some perspective on the books released in 2020. Here's to great releases in 2021!
Ron Spangler
Tim Hannig
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On Feb 4, 2021, Ray Haining wrote:

Just out of curiosity, Perform by Tim Hannig is not offered by any of the major magic retailers (Vanishing Inc., Penguin, Hocus Pocus, etc.), yet a large number of people are voting for it. How did it come about that so many people even know about it, never mind bought and read it?

Good question! Since there is more than one way to answer it, I thought I'd try. Maybe this will help someone else who has a product to promote.

Here's how I think most people have heard of PERFORM:

1) Magi-Fest Performance & Lecture
This was where PERFORM was first talked about and pre-sold. After the response to my lecture & book announcement, I decided to go full-color, hardcover, add the QR codes, etc.
Joe Diamond and Danny Orleans ran the merch table that day... and they can tell you how crazy it was.

2) Feb 2020 -- for a full month I ran ads on SME Talk Magic and Surplus Magic Exchange to get the word out.

3) Four 2020 Virtual Lectures where the book was promoted:

Unconventional Convention (put on by Jonah Babins & Ben Train)
FCM International Conference
IBM International Lecture as part of their Monday night series
Kidabra Lecture

4) Magic Reviews on youtube from:
Magic Orthodoxy (David Kenney)
Erudite Magic (Jeff Kowalk)
both gave very positive reviews of PERFORM (Thanks guys!)

5) Podcasts interviews centered around the book launch
Discourse in Magic (Jonah Babins)
Chasing Wonder (Taylor Hughes)
Magicians Talking Magic (Graeme Reed)

you can listen to those episodes here:

6) My own social media:
I posted about the book for several years as I was working on it, and had quite a long list of interested magicians by the time the book was launched.
You know how facebook is... I probably have 2,500 magician friends there. Many of my readers have followed my career and know that I'm not releasing things every other week.
This book is my opus, as Josh Jay called it in the introduction.
You can watch the promo video for the book on the home page here:

7) word-of-mouth
By far, this has been the most effective. Read Christian Painter's post in this thread.

He didn't want the book, as he had me pegged as a family entertainer, and he's a mentalist.

But, his friends kept telling him to buy it. He asked them "why?" and was told... "Just get it. You'll see."
Christian shared that with me in a private message and it made me laugh.

Sometimes one person will buy the book, and then I'll get 4 more orders from their magic pals. It's happened more than once.
Jeff McBride bought the book, and I asked him how in the heck he heard about it. "Jon Armstrong told me to buy it." Thanks, Jon!

Not only that, after people buy the book, many of them have posted about it. That almost always generates sales.
You can see many of those posts on this page:

I was offered a publishing deal for PERFORM by a major magic publisher. If I had gone that route, you would probably have heard about the book in a more traditional way.

However, I was excited to take on the challenges of self-publishing, as I knew I would learn a ton.

I chose to spend the money up front, not skimping on things like graphic design or the best copy editor I could find. I think I have only found one mistake in the entire book, and there are over 100,000 words.

I now look at magic books in a whole new way, and have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who publishes a book that finds a spot on my shelf.
Author of PERFORM, the 2020 Magic Cafe Book of the Year

"I loved this book!" Ken Weber

"4 out of 4 stars!" Nick Lewin

"This will be a classic of magic!" Mark Pocan
Michael Rubinstein
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Hi, and thanks to all who participated. Honored to be one of the selections. For anyone interested, many of my routines (with older handlings) can be found on the Penguin and At the Table DVD/downloads and the New York Coin Magic Seminar DVD series. I did record some of the newer material and updated handlings found in the book, and it can be seen on my YouTube channel, Rubinstein Coin Magic. See the playlist of the same name. Thanks again to all, Michael Rubinstein
AT LAST - a NEW fun coins across!! MIGRATE is filled with laughs, magic, cool moves, lasts over 3 minutes, uses props, comes in a Poker Chip version or special Deluxe version with coins, and is about...BEARS! AT DEALERS EVERYWHERE!

ALSO...available at dealers EVERYWHERE - RUBINSTEIN COIN MAGIC- The biggest book on coin magic since Bobo's Modern Coin Magic, and the most important since David Roth's Expert Coin Magic! Hardbound, 500 pages, 20 chapters of state of the art coin magic illustrated with 930 crisp photos! A contribution chapter from over 20 of the world's top coin magicians! This will be the book against which all future books on coin magic will be measured! Already called a Modern Classic!!
I HAVE A LIMITED AMOUNT OF COPIES AVAILABLE TO BE SIGNED, AND COME WITH A SPECIAL FREE GIFT! If interested, shoot me an email at I also have some limited supplies of coins and props used in the book, let me know if you want a pricelist.
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