Become a Better Magician
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Before you read this, I recommend reading the first story of this series on publishing magic, titled ‘Andi Gladwin on Why You Should Publish Magic’. It's a great read with valuable insights from the Vanishing Inc. co-founder, who is commanding the future of the magic product industry.
I have a secret checklist for spotting million-dollar magic products, and I’ve had quite a few successful magic producers say they’ve used this checklist or have similar lists of their own. David Penn had an interesting item he felt I was missing on my list — I won’t share it here. I did agree with him, and he does know a thing or two about hit products.
The industry is small, but it is possible to make a lot of money in magic.
What’s that? You’re an artist? You don’t care about money?
Well, you need to.
You see, the funny thing about niche industries is that if you follow the secret formula and get it right, you can hit big and make money for the rest of your life from just one great product. However, most magic releases are big fat flops that send people into debt.
I’m not just talking about the Mr Blonde drama we covered last year. I’m on about the everyday magician (usually young or new to magic) who put their life savings into manufacturing a product to send to Penguin or Murphy’s.
What these companies don’t tell you is that they’ll stock almost anything — especially if they’re selling it on consignment (the term magic companies use, which means they only pay you if someone buys your product from them). So, you need to tread carefully, don’t fall for too much encouragement and get your guiding principles sorted.
Part 1. What Counts as A Good Magic Product
When I was a teenager, Murphy’s Magic Supplies offered to fly me out to America to film a magic DVD with them. At the time (over ten years ago), I was politely informed that if the DVD sold any less than 3,000 copies, then the team would consider the project “not a success”.
Over the years, I’ve become friends with people at every level of the industry, and this number seems to ring true everywhere.
- 1,000 units is a good product
- 3,000 units is a great product
- 15,000 units is a hit product
Why the sudden leap from 3,000 units to 15,000 units sold? Well, that’s how it tends to go. Reaching 5,000 units seem to be an inflexion point that, if passed, rockets you towards 15,000 units sold.
But that’s just sales, which you cannot always predict before you launch. I’ve seen great-looking products flop left, right and centre — so what are some of the defining characteristics of a profitable product?
Remember — we’re looking purely from a business perspective.
In my previous checklist, I mentioned how things like a trick’s name and the type of object used in the trick could help predict if it will be a hit product. However, those things don’t weigh too heavily on whether a product is good on a profitability level.