Seven years ago, I was due to fly to the UK to start work on a new TV magic project when it was cancelled last minute. Suddenly, I had a three-month window with no work or income. I decided to quickly write a magic book for magicians with ideas I would usually sell to TV magicians.
In a rush, I compiled ideas from my iPhone notes. Andi Gladwin was smart enough to tell me there needed to be 100 ideas – not 50. Geraint Clarke was the clever guy who said I needed to add an intro sharing how magicians can be more unique.
The book was called Only Ideas: Your How-to Guide to Creating Magic + 100 Ideas to Get You Started. I decided to self-publish, and the dream was to sell 50 copies and cover at least one month of London rent.
I sold 1,700 copies in the first year.
I was in shock.
There's actually a video on my phone of my Brother and I reacting to the first twenty orders coming in, and I already sound so excited.
The process taught me that I could generate my own value and not always rely on others. I learned to trust my instincts/taste and embrace what makes me, well, me. The idea that people might buy a book that only included ideas seemed unlikely, but I knew it was a book I would have bought. This was life-changing for me.
I started to say no more often to projects, and I started to invest in myself more and more, like with this newsletter or my party game.
Magicians keep asking for a reprint of Only Ideas, and many more want the unreleased sequel (Only Methods). But the frustrating truth is that a pocketbook like this can only be priced at less than $20, and at that level, it's very hard to make it work without selling at scale via Murphy's (the big magic supplier), and I certainly don't want to do that again.
Below are seven new ideas for you to enjoy for the time being.
Oh, and yes – this is pretty much what TV magicians pay me to do...
Mind reading is easy, so let's make it hard and read your mind while giving yourself a brain freeze. I unwrap and chomp down on an ice cream on a stick – making myself wince in pain as I try to read your mind at the same time. And the end of the trick, there's a prediction on the ice cream stick that is bang on.
I place a small object into your closed hand. Then I ask you to roll a Monopoly die with the other hand as I look away. When you're happy with your roll, I ask you to think of different monopoly pieces for each number you could have rolled. The piece you end up with is the one I placed in your hand.
I'm using an electronic method to know the number you rolled and then forcing it: "If you rolled one, think of the tiny horse; if you rolled two, think of the top hat."