Thursday, December 12, 2013

Honest Question!

Let's say you are a magic publisher. You publish books, DVDs and tricks. A creator gives you new material to sell. How should the revenue be split?

50/50, 40/60, 30/70 or 20/80? Who should get the most? The publisher who offers the framework for selling, and deals with the shipping, handling and advertisment, or the creator who actually came up with the idea that is being sold?

Tell me!


Louie Donovan said...

Both should get the revenue equally since they contributed both.

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anon said...

It's not easy to say what a "fair" split is without knowing the situation. It depends on the production costs of the publication versus the fame/marketability of the performer.

If the publisher has to sell a lot just to break even (and thus is taking a risk) then the share/royalty/advance might seem to be in favour of the publisher. If however it's a sure-fire moneymaker and the performer has a pile of offers - a bidding war from publishers - then it might work the other way.

In non-magic literature - where an author might spend a decade writing a book - an agent might secure EUR20,000 for a biograaphy. That's about EUR7/day for the first-time writer. Sure, it depends how long it took to write and research - but apart from the "big names" that is the reality. These days writing books pays hobby-money. (The JK Rowling exceptions excluded, obviously)

Creators these days have plenty of options for self-publishing. Print on demand services like Lulu enable you to print - or test print - books in whatever quantities you need. That might make much more sense. The upfront investment risk is all yours, and the distribution is your problem, but all (or any) profits are yours too.

For a very thorough overview of the business of magic sales I'd recommend Maxwell Murphy (one of the Penguin founders) "Everything I know about Marketing Magic". It's more about selling tricks than publishing, but it gives a good insight into the percentages that wholesalers take, and the size of the magic market.

My conclusion would be that unless the magician is already famous, publishing is something that may bring some pleasure, but is unlikely to ever be particularly lucrative.

Marplots said...

The split doesn't have to be the same throughout the sales life of the product. So, for example, you might take an 80:20 split (pub:creator) until the publisher recoups most of their costs and then move to a 50:50 split (or whatever).

Bizzaro. said...

I can tell you how it goes in the current market as I have WAY too much experience with it. You looking to produce something for someone or vice versa?

Gary Jones Magic said...

The problem with a 50/50 split is, everything has a shelf life and in magic that shelf life is getting shorter and shorter! If you have a utility prop then the it will have a much longer shelf life. I have many products out there and by far the best return was when I produced, filmed and sold it myself, I kept every penny but it's a risk as you have to invest thousands and not know if you will get your investment back, let alone make a profit. The most popular way it seems is, the dealer buys the effect off you for a one-off fee, you the also get ex amount of the fished product to sell yourself, you have no outlay and they do all the marketing and production for you. The obvious downside to this is, if you create a winner the dealer will make shed loads of money and you don't. There are other options like a pay-off and a partial profit share, again read the above to find out the pros and cons. if anyone would like more info please give me a shout!

Gary Jones Magic said...

Damn auto correct...then and finished and not the and fished!!

LokI Kross said...

FAX has grossed 75k this year. I have received 5k in royalties. (Originally 25%, sold or from under me without my approval for 10%, after paying for everything off top. I have made what I've made.

Through Murphy's I released two self produced products. They bought 500 each of two full 1,000 runs. I made 6k each, but after costs, only made 6k total on both.

They received great reviews, but since it is Murphy's, you get one push, if that.
So they sit, and I get annoyed every time someone says, "you should put that out". When I have.

I made a shortage product all on my own, no notice to Murphy's, no advance.

They bought every copy at 37.8% before I knew what I was doing with them.
I hyped it right, and my first run sold out in a day.
They dragged their legs on reorder, so when it was restocked 6 weeks later, no one cared.

So I made my own site, released two on it.
One had nothing but great feedback.
I've sold less than 20, @ 5$.

You need the advert push to sell.
But to get that you lose a large %, whether it is a company or your own money.

And magic buyers are contrary.
They complain about misleading demos, will praise you when you are honest; then only buy they controversial products anyways.

So self publish/distribute= 100% - advertising.
Murphy's = 37.89?% and a possible one week push. (Unless it's controversial, then a month or two.)
Boutique publisher = 10% +- , but if it is good, it can make your name.

It's ask up to what you are willing to accept/sacrifice.

LokI Kross said...

Phone :P

Roland Henning said...

So I guess the best way to get money from only a few items is to sell them yourself.

LokI Kross said...

The biggest issue is trying to figure out how popular something will be.

You have to be honest with yourself.
(Which seems to be the biggest hurdle with some creators.)

If it is small, or niche; then go solo.
If it is potentially huge, sell-out a bit.
(As companies will do what they can to obscure a good release if you choose to NOT use the aforementioned options of them.)

Knowing which, is the trick.

I was told during production that FAX would be niche, and very limited.

I stayed confident and took the royalty.
It has sold 2,500 so far, but that means jack all if they are not keeping up with your payments. :P

Marplots said...

Roland, you have some cred and some reach with this site. You can do a "test market" here and use the data to get a better deal if you sell it to one of the publishers, or, you can keep it here and work on word-of-mouth.

The nice thing is you'll learn a bunch just doing it.