What makes a great book?

Post topics about the business side of magic.

Postby Guest » 11/25/07 10:00 AM

This is just for discussion not for definitive answers since I think the answers will somehow equal some multiple number of buyers and readers. I am simply posing the question of what would make you want/buy a particular magic book versus not?

This isn't a survey, per se, it is to help me with a bar book I am writing. The publisher and I are in discussion about what is popular, necessary and 'best' to incorporate into the book to enhance the appeal. As a bartender/writer I have my ideas and as a publisher of bar books he has his. We agree on some things because he liked my proposal to bring it to the next step which is supplying chapter samples.

In selecting these chapters I reflect on the many magic books I own that have been popular with others and/or/not with others but still consider them good books worth purchasing (although some I have regretted like anyone).

Some discussions we've had so far are on the scope of material to the size of the target audience - a marketing discussion. Another has been about the appearance of the book considering the current trends that use visuals over words to appeal to modern day readers. We talk about why people buy books in general and the differing reasons why people buy books of one type but don't apply those reasons to another. There are perplexing factors such as a good title with no-name author vs a celebrity author with a limited subject matter. Price can make a book appear worthwhile or not. Many have commented on the coincidence of magic books sharing the same price point no matter the size or the author's name value (i.e., what the market will bear..). So much to consider....

This might be a Zen Koan of sorts but since I think magic and bar books fall under the same category of non-fiction/technical the magic communities' responses would be beneficial. So all things considered or with some factors being equal..what makes you buy/not buy or choose one over the other?
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Postby Guest » 11/26/07 11:38 AM

I am happy to submit my opinion and my own experience both as a buyer and a seller.

FIRST:
Though it may sound obvious, the INFORMATION you plan to cover MUST BE WANTED (Dare I say coveted!) or there is really no point in spending the time, talent and treasure in the first place only find that no-one WANTS the information you are offering.

This valuable insights is waaaaaaaaaaaay too often NOT given its due! There are tomes and volumes of unwanted books floating around the universe for sure, PLEASE dont let that happen to you!

REALLY!

This is where market research, a marketing PLAN and a full due diligences is necessary! Certainly if you target audience is niche, (and small at the same time) you will want to KNOW THAT up-front as it will determine how you plan to publish including the format.

This is not a marketing and publishing your book lesson, so I will move on. I hope that first part makes sense to you.

SECOND:
MAKE SURE you have enough already SOLD (or well committed to!) before ink hits paper, unless you have more money and a lot less sense than The Donald himself! (See Point ONE!)

THIRD:
I am sort of an odd reader, and since you asked for opinions, What I look for is a book is something I REALLY (Even desperately) want to know usually to help me grow in some way!

Offer me (for me and my reading preferences) information that will help me to become a better person, performer, business owner, professional, husband, leader, community advocate, manger/steward of resources, listener, dispenser of wisdom, skill sets improved, mentor, mentee, student, teacher, friend etc. and I am YOURS as a buyer and reader! I have literally spent millions on my personal education and development, and I will continue to do so I am a junkie of sorts.

again, that is just me.

Thinking of YOU and Your Success!

I am at your service and In HIS Service,
Deano (loves to learn and share) in Reno

PS
I dont much care how fancy or slick it is its the INFORMATION I want! (TIP) And I will pay Good money for great information!
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Postby David Scollnik » 11/27/07 04:19 PM

The inclusion of a detailed index at the back is always nice.
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Postby Guest » 11/27/07 05:03 PM

A read where the author can vanish into the offering and the reader feels like they saw the sights.

Timely pertinent content that leaves the reader feeling enriched.

In the realm of our craft - a text where the writers brings the reader to being excited and wishing to try the material offered with a feeling of having been taught and sent out prepared to make magic for others and learn more in the process.
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Postby Guest » 11/27/07 07:06 PM

Part of what makes a book great is that you like it no matter what your mood is.

How many times have you read a book that you LOVED, later re-read it and HATED it?

--Or vice versa--as in high school? --Assigned some book you HATE when MADE to read it, but then you grow up a bit, give it another try, and POW! --It's one of your all-time favorites.

The book is the same, it's YOU that has changed...

spooky :eek:
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Postby Guest » 11/29/07 10:07 AM

thanks so far for the input. I look at my book shelf and think was it the formatting or content? Was it the exclusivity/detail of the material or handy generic angle? I don't expect to be the only book of this subject in someone's library but if I am competing for space it does pay to know what people desire over what they don't. I suppose the best (psychological) angle would be to say buy this book or you might die! or buy this book or you will be forced to speak in public! - I like the comments and look forward to any more that come...
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Postby Guest » 11/29/07 11:44 AM

I believe the single most important thing is to consider your target market and demographic and tailor to it. Magic in general is highly a niche market. And there are sub niches within.

There are many great magic books in my library, but for different reasons. Most of my faves are those that strictly write on theory and presentation, as these are the true secrets of magic. However, getting a trick 'fix' is satisfying.

Well written and entertaining books are a big plus. Unique, tactile feel of books is value added.

$$$: Pricing strategy is very important. A $30 book will target an entirely differnt market than a $75 unit. Or even a $50 unit.

Content: Of course, content in king. Uniqueness of material is important for me. Few want to read re-hashes of old material. What will a particular book offer that hasn't already been said? What novelty can I learn? Can you offer a HOOK to entice buyers? The previous posts are valuable, additionally.

Put me on the purchase list....I return to your video occasionally for inspiration.
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