I have no plans to write an article in Genii on Knack Magic Tricks. Having mentioned it several times in Genii Speaks, I've probably used up the patience of my readers on the subject.
Thanks for posting that note about amazon sending you a delivery date of February 12. That's more information than I've been able to get. :)
The 100 extra books I ordered arrived on Wednesday. The books I'm contractually owed as part of my contract have not arrived. Odd the way publishing works. We'll start shipping out the copies ordered from me directly on Monday.
I thought the task of picking the material and writing the book would be far easier than it was. The Knack format is a given: look at some of their other books on amazon where you can see sample pages. I had to work within that format, which meant a lot of tinkering with the writing just to get it to fit. Some of the photos are not strictly necessary, but had to be used just to plug a hole so I could get to the next page. I gave a copy to our publishing partner in Genii, Jane Solomon, yesterday and flipping through it she commented that it seemed very "inviting." This is what the Knack format is all about--to give you the feeling through design that you can learn the material.
I think it's a pretty good book. It's difficult to select items for a project like this, and the 19 chapter format for Knack also predetermined certain things. I originally had 30% more tricks selected for the book, but it became obvious that because of the format, they simply wouldn't fit. Would it have been a more interesting book for magicians if I had been able to put that extra material in? Yes. It would have made no difference whatsoever for laymen, none of whom (if they buy the book) will master all the tricks it actually does contain.
As to the particular tricks I chose, I looked at older magic books for the public, particularly those by Bruce Elliott, John Mulholland and also Harry Lorayne's "The Magic Book," as well as going back over all the material I'd written over the years. I've always felt that the best two books written for the public are Elliott's "Classic Secrets of Magic" and Lorayne's "The Magic Book." Both of them presented material that had never been explained to the public before. However, the do have one flaw--some of the material is too difficult. Paradoxically, that's the reason the Elliott book is still such a great resource for magicians.
The tricks I selected for Knack Magic Tricks are, for the most part, incredibly simple to do. In coming up with versions of already established items, my goal was to simplify them without diluting them to the point of stupidity. There's only one item that, in retrospect, seems like a poor combination of ways to accomplish something. But it's important to remember that it is a book written for laymen, and the idea was to not only provide a good general book, but give them a percentage of tricks which aren't in every other book for the public, and also to give them simpler methods to accomplish things than other books might do. The simpler the method, the more likely a layman is to actually try it and successfully perform it. Every successful performance reinforces confidence and leads a person to do more.
I picked tricks that would seem to have a wide variety of effects, tricks I myself would not be embarrassed to perform, tricks I had done myself at one time or another (going all the way back to my youth), and so on. I didn't "gut" the methods of any tricks like "Matrix" in order to explain them, but certain tricks I simplified out of necessity (like "Coins Through the Table"). My feeling about most magic books written for the public is that a good deal of the tricks are simply too difficult. Any card trick in which you ask someone who's just learning to hold a break is not something I would include.
Matrix is among the more difficult tricks in the book because of the initial steal of the coin. Al's Pickup Move isn't hard--just takes a bit of practice. As for the other coin tricks, I have yet to see a layman master a decent coin vanish from a book written for the public. So, how to teach tricks where a coin has to be vanished? Well, I picked one simple vanish--so simple that I could teach it to my 7 year old daughter, and used that in every trick. I worked out a new version of Coins through Table where the vanish of the coins on the table was achieved using the Pickup Move. Lots of stuff like that.