Misconception #1: You Have to Sell Your Soul to Big Name Publishers and Mass Produce Your Baby
Do you think the only way to get your Tarot deck published is by signing lengthy contracts with big name publishers who are hell bent on compromising your artistic vision? I’m not surprised you think this way.
Think back to just 10 years ago. The industry standard protocol was to send your design concept into a publisher and pray that they don’t rip off your idea. If they did like your idea, they would then send a contract out to you to sign with a small advance (not always, but sometimes) in good faith that you’ll keep creating.
Once your artwork has been commissioned and you finish your work, your baby heads off to the publisher’s team of editors and graphic designers, where they put the final touches on the deck — which may not entirely be in alignment with your vision, but in their experience, is good for sales and mass production.
And then you’d make a nickel or two for every dollar you make them, if you were lucky. You’d definitely become well known and have a huge marketing firm backing your deck, but you might feel like you had to sell your soul just to get your deck out into the Universe.
Obviously big publishers have teams to pay and quotas to meet, and by the time they pay everyone else, there just isn’t much left for you except a bit of fame and some royalty checks. There’s no right or wrong in this, just simply what is. They are running a business after all, and profit is their main objective.
Everyone has a different experience and value system for their art, and while publishing with the big names might be something that works for certain individuals, it is no longer the only way to get published.
You have options. You no longer have to compromise your artist integrity and vision for your Tarot deck.
With companies like GameCrafter and Make Playing Cards, more and more artists and creators are turning to self publishing their own Tarot decks so that they maintain control of their passion project without “selling out.”
GameCrafter makes it so easy to self publish. They even offer templates and the ability to proof your card fronts, backs, and boxes all online before ever ordering any samples.
Super awesome, right?
Misconception #2: Self Publishing Your Own Tarot Deck Takes Years and Thousands of Dollars
Now that you’ve learned self publishing a widely accepted method to publishing your own Tarot deck, I’m sure you have even more misconceptions, like:
- It takes YEARS to publish a Tarot deck
- I’m artistically challenged, so it will costs thousands of dollars to hire artists and designers
- Marketing is a full time job
And while all of those statements can be true, they don’t have to be true for you and your vision.
When Heather Woodward from the Divine Wild Woman approached me as creative coordinator for her deck, The Archetypes of the Divine Wild Woman, it was about one year from concept to print, with about 2 to 3 months of actually putting the deck together in Photoshop.
It didn’t take years — it barely took a few months and we had a beautiful oracle deck in front of us. GameCrafter made it super simple for me to create her cards through their templates and proofing system.
After all of the design on my part was said and done, it cost less than $400 to hire me as a designer to make her cards come to life. And if you have a little bit of Photoshop or Canva experience, you can do it all yourself for free.
Photoshop no longer costs $700 to purchase outright, like it did for me back in 2009, which was a very steep price. Again, times have changed and 10 years has made a big difference in technology. You can now pay as little as $10 a month to have full access to Lightroom and Photoshop.
With a little elbow grease and a few Photoshop or Canva tutorials on Youtube, you too can create your Tarot deck for next to nothing, monetarily speaking.
Remember: It’s often a choice between your time or your money. If you don’t have a lot of money but have a lot of time, this method will work great for you! And who knows, maybe you’ll gain some great experience and be able to moonlight as a creative coordinator for someone else’s deck to assist with their vision for their Tarot deck into reality with your help (and maybe it’ll make you a bit of money on the side, like it did for me!).
If you need some more inspiration on creating on a budget, I highly recommend checking out Susan Moore’s (of Healing Effects Tarot) latest blog about creating your passion projects with little to no money.
As for the marketing apprehension, you can always hire someone later to help you out with that. There’s also platforms like Etsy that cater to artists who sell handmade goods, and the platform even comes with it’s own market base and storefront ability. What this basically means is that you can get your deck in front of thousands of buyers with little to no effort, and then invest in a social media manager later on if you want to aggressively pursue sales. Even GameCrafter allows you to sell your decks right there on their site for a commission.
And that’s not all. Crowdfunding is a very popular way to raise funds for your Tarot deck to keep production on track. Kickstarter and IndieGoGo were created specifically for funding artists and creatives.
Misconception #3: You Have to Be a Tarot Guru and Know Everything About the System BEFORE You Can Create a Tarot Deck.
We all know Doreen Virtue’s famous story of where she was so frightened by Tarot’s traditional symbolism that she threw out all but a few cards originally before using the deck, and this ultimately lead her to create her very popular safe and positive deck lineup.
Another superstar in the field, Colette Baron-Reid is gaining traction as a deck creator with her brand new deck, The Good Tarot, which also veers off from the traditional symbolism we have come to be familiar with in part due to the overwhelmingly popular Rider Waite Smith tarot.
I’m a big fan of Doreen and Colette for one main reason: They give zero cares about what’s traditional and they are creating in their new vision. Love them or hate them, it doesn’t really matter because they followed their passion and created a Tarot deck with their value and belief system in mind. And that is a very brave and courageous act.
Of course, both ladies I’m referring to are with big name publishers and while I’ve discussed previously you do not have to go that route, I feel it is advantageous to see such a public display of pursuing creating a Tarot deck that isn’t just yet another copy or clone of the Rider Waite Smith system.
Doreen and Colette take artistic liberty to a whole new level, and it’s paving the way for other artists and creatives to do the same.
If you feel like…
- You have to know everything about Tarot before you’re qualified to create a deck, or…
- Why even bother trying, because there’s no way anyone can compete with the superstars of publishing, or…
- You’re afraid nobody will like your deck, and you’ll have spent all that time for nothing…
I have news for you. You have the power to create in whatever dreamscape you can imagine.
I’ll be honest. It is uncomfortable to put your heart and soul out there for all of the world to see. Being vulnerable in your art will stretch you, grow you, evolve you… and the truth is, there will always be people out there who fail to see your vision.
People who feel entitled to judge art, instead of feel art.
Believe that even Superstar deck creators deal with an onslaught of critics. But does it slow them down?
Absolutely not! Because… they are focused on the fans who connect with their vision, and the rest? Well, the rest can go create their own deck in their own image if their opinion is that strong against.
Isn’t it more important to pursue your dream of creating your own Tarot or Oracle deck
Isn’t it more important to see what you’re really made of, and to watch your creation come to life?
Isn’t it more important to not wait another 1 year, or 5 years, or 10 years wondering what if you took the leap of faith and differently your life might have been if you had only been brave enough to take the chance?
“If we wait until we are ready, we will be waiting the rest of our lives.” — Lemony Snicket, penname of American writer Daniel Handler, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events.
HEY, TAROT AND ORACLE CARD READERS!
Is it your dream to one day create your very own custom Tarot or Oracle card deck?
- have a great idea for a deck and would love to see your vision come to fruition?
- feel all of the decks you own are either too cold or too hot, and none of them feel just right?
- read using multiple systems, and never feel that you can use your current decks to their fullest potential, and you need a deck just as exclusive as you are?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had access to the right questions to ask designers, a basic introduction to what it takes to create a deck from start to finish, and insider information regarding the nuances and technicalities of creating a deck?
Join us for a 2-hour webinar where Heather Woodward (creator, author, and genius behind the Archetypes of the Divine Wild Woman Oracle card deck) and Christina Quick (graphic design goddess and creative coordinator) will discuss the very first steps and actions needed to consider creating your very own Tarot or Oracle card deck!
Simply input your name and email address, and the support fairies will send you a link for a private viewing of the webinar, along with our notes so you can follow along in real time.