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Winning Products by Ben Harris

Posted: June 10th, 2012, 2:49 pm
by Tom Frame
Winning Products (PDF) by Ben Harris $39.95
112 pages, 11 photographs, 1 key-line
Available at:

If youre even thinking about producing and selling a magic product, please do us a favor and forget about it. Theres already too much crap out there. We dont need your contribution, Gomer. Find some other way to quench your insatiable narcissism.

But if you insist upon foisting your product upon us, before you whip out your cell phone or video camera and shoot your cheesy, regrettable video, please buy and study Ben Harriss Winning Products.

The author writes well in an enthusiastic, conversational voice, accented with dollops of humor. He provides valuable, detailed guidance on the care, feeding and marketing of your product.

The text contains a number of annoying typographical errors. I suspect that these errors are the result of the author ingesting one too many wombat placentas.

Im befuddled that Mr. Harris wrote a book about producing and selling a physical product, and chose to release it as a non-physical product. I hope that he appreciates the irony. Maybe he was just playing a private joke upon himself.

Product and Market Definitions

Mr. Harris begins by defining a product as a physical object. Its a tangible thing that you can actually fondle and nibble, such as a trick with written instructions, a book or a DVD.

The author expresses his dismay at the poor quality of most products offered as downloads or via streaming. Their creation and marketing are not part of his discussion.

Mr. Harris describes a winning product as one that generates industry and creative momentum; becomes a signpost for citation and creative evolution; and sells very well.

To be successful, a product should have a more amazing climax than previous versions; employ a better method; be original in effect or method or both; or be of historic importance.

He talks about how the magic marketplace has dramatically changed over the years. Indeed, it has. Back in the day, prohibitive costs, limited access to appropriate technology and some semblance of vetting prevented a lot of crap from hitting the marketplace.

Today, anyone with a pulse and a computer can produce and sell all manner of chaff. This calamitous cottage industry is sustained by a horde of hungry young magic enthusiasts who must possess every new product that hits the street. They whine that immediate gratification takes too long.

Product Realization

Mr. Harris describes how to best match your product to an appropriate format. He talks about determining a reasonable retail price and developing a budget that permits cost-effective production and advertising.

He stresses the importance of imputing. This term refers to incorporating subtle, pleasing design elements into your product to create an illusion of greater value.

Mr. Harris then provides detailed instructions on the production of trick instructions, soft bound booklets and hard bound books. He covers design, layout, fonts, photographs, illustrations, printing specifications, PDFs, bindings, packaging, the works.

He includes photographs of the cool design work that he has done for his and other peoples products. Mr. Harris is a gifted designer.

The author believes that a DVD is an ill chosen format for most magic content unless you are willing to spend serious money on production values. Were talking about two cameras, a lighting designer, a set designer, a sound engineer, a screen writer and a director.

He points out the grim reality that DVDs will eventually become obsolete, while my beloved ink on paper will endure.

For most products, he recommends producing a small booklet instead of a DVD. Amen, brother man!

If you insist upon releasing your product as a DVD, the author recommends teaming up with a niche production company who will take care of everything and pay you a royalty.

Servicing the Market

Here, Mr. Harris focuses on how to set up your business. He discusses selecting a business name, creating a web site, P.O. boxes, bank accounts, methods of payment, mailing labels, envelopes, boxes and shipping.

He describes the nuts and bolts of supplying retail, wholesale and jobber markets.

Advertising and Marketing

Mr. Harris stresses the importance of being honest in the wording of your advertisements. Over the years, he has been publicly slammed for allegedly writing misleading ad copy for several of his products. Not surprisingly, he warns us that despite our honorable intentions and the veracity of our claims, we will likely fall victim to the Tall Poppy Syndrome.

The moment you advertise or release your magic product people will jump from unexpected places and knife you.

The author is speaking from personal experience. Your results may vary.

Mr. Harris doesnt shy away from controversy. He embraces it because it causes people to talk about you and your product, which can lead to increased sales. He credits the robust sales of his book Silent Running to Bob Farmers very nasty online commentary.

The author describes how to announce your product to the world in a manner that engages the potential buyer and creates anticipation. He discusses sending out review copies and video demonstrations of your product. He covers advertising in magazines, on the internet and on mailing lists. He also talks about promoting your product through convention appearances and lectures.

If youre an established performer and youre happy with the look and the sales of your products, you may not need this book.

My greatest concern is that this book wont be purchased and studied by the demographic that could reap the greatest benefits from the authors tutelage. Im talking about the pimply, illiterate monkey mass who feel entitled to produce and sell whatever derivative product they like, without any regard for the historical record or for appropriate production standards.

I beseech them to study this book before they launch their latest version of the flavor of the week. They will thank Mr. Harris for providing them with the essential tools needed to present their product in the best possible light and avoid looking like clueless, knuckle-walking seekers.

Ben Harris has crafted a unique, invaluable book that guides the reader through the process of bringing their magical baby to the world, from conception to delivery. Buy it!

Highly Recommended

Re: Winning Products by Ben Harris

Posted: June 10th, 2012, 5:21 pm
by Bob Farmer
Gee, I didn't think my online commentary was "nasty," unless a negative opinion is always nasty. Anyway, to ensure that Ben gets maximum sales from his latest project, let me say that though I haven't read it, and I'd never pay that much money for this thing, I'm sure if I did read it and did buy it, I'd be really disappointed and would produce endless streams of "nasty commentary."

Re: Winning Products by Ben Harris

Posted: June 10th, 2012, 9:14 pm
by Don Hendrix
As usual, I agree with Bob. I have always been more impressed with Mr. Harris's sales ability than his products.

Re: Winning Products by Ben Harris

Posted: June 11th, 2012, 5:43 am
by mrgoat
Very funny review.

Re: Winning Products by Ben Harris

Posted: June 11th, 2012, 5:53 am
by Matthew Field
I prefer Bob Farmer's $39.95, 112 page e-book on how to construct a very nasty online commentary.

Matt Field

Re: Winning Products by Ben Harris

Posted: June 11th, 2012, 9:06 am
by Tom Gilbert
I'll never forget Hole in the Head. I learned a lot about pre-release hype, pre-ordering, and big name endorsements.
Guess I'll go with Bob Farmer's book, too.

Re: Winning Products by Ben Harris

Posted: June 11th, 2012, 9:25 am
by Bob Farmer
Matt, that book is 10 pages and it's $99.95.

To all purchasers of Ben's book: for a mere $25 I will produce a nasty commentary that will ensure maximum sales for your product. The basic price includes use of the words and expressions, "stupid," "wouldn't fool a goat," "overpriced drivel" and "mind numbing tedium wrapped in an intractable manuscript overflowing with typos and crediting errors."

However, for additional payments of $2.50, you get to choose additional phrases, such as "the author is a bloviating semi-human with no teeth," or "if you're a buffoon, this trick is for you."

Re: Winning Products by Ben Harris

Posted: June 11th, 2012, 9:46 am
by mrgoat
Bob Farmer wrote:"wouldn't fool a goat,"


Re: Winning Products by Ben Harris

Posted: June 11th, 2012, 11:03 am
by Tom Frame
Thanks Damian.

Bob, I love you! I want to make a baby with you.

Re: Winning Products by Ben Harris

Posted: June 11th, 2012, 11:41 am
by Bob Farmer
Tom, yiu need to read my e-book, "How To Tell A Man From A Woman."

Re: Winning Products by Ben Harris

Posted: June 11th, 2012, 12:12 pm
by Dustin Stinett
I need that one. How much? (And the least you could do is buy a banner ad for it on the Forum.)

Re: Winning Products by Ben Harris

Posted: June 11th, 2012, 12:59 pm
by Tom Frame
Bob Farmer wrote:Tom, yiu need to read my e-book, "How To Tell A Man From A Woman."

Bob, I live in San Francisco. Indeed, sometimes it's hard to tell heads from tails, so to speak. Happily, I am married to a smart, funny, beautiful, buxom blond of the female gender.

Thanks for your concern and support.

Sweaty, greasy, fragrant hugs,


Re: Winning Products by Ben Harris

Posted: June 11th, 2012, 1:12 pm
by mrgoat
Tom Frame wrote:Wet, sweaty, greasy, fragrant hugs,

Keep talking...

Re: Winning Products by Ben Harris

Posted: June 11th, 2012, 2:31 pm
by Tom Frame
Yes, I knew that remark would get your goat, Damian.