Both options are viable and promise their own type of satisfaction and both require your committing to a steep learning curb. There are projects that are suited to the independent publishing process and there are those that are better manifested via the traditional publishing route.
How you go about presenting your new ‘baby’ to the world will make a big difference in how much control you have over your projects future and your peace of mind. Use this blog post as a guideline as you weigh your options and make your choice.
This post focuses on publishing and producing your own card decks, especially, Tarot, Lenormand and divination decks. Though much of the information about publishing your own books applies to publishing your own card decks, too, there are some differences in information and sources.
Remember, there are plusses and minus’ when you sign a contract with a traditional publisher. It’s a great stroke for the ego if it’s your first book or deck and sometimes they’ll even offer an advance. And for a time, they’ll actively promote your work. Read the fine print in the contract and always make sure you’re clear about your royalty agreement with them.
Independent publishing does require more of a ‘hands on’ participation from you because part of the process requires you to step outside of the box and learn all you can about printing, packaging and distribution, as well as promotion and sales. It may seem daunting at first, but once you get into it, you’ll realize that the knowledge and experience you acquire are priceless and can be used in other aspects of your life.
The independent publishing process leaves you with ownership of all of the rights to your work and you’ll retain the power to do whatever you want with it. With a traditional publisher, you’ll have to sign over your rights to how your work is edited, produced, promoted and sold. Although you’ll still own the work, they’ll own the right to use it as they see fit—or dis-continue it if it suits them. (The beautiful Gaian Tarot is one of the most popular Tarot decks listed on www.aeclectic.net, yet the publisher has decided to discontinue it. Historically, many creators have expressed frustration at their lack of control over how their project is handled by traditional publishers.)
A Most Important Reminder
Whether you choose to publish independently or traditionally, you should ALWAYS protect your work by copyrighting it—ALWAYS. You can do it via U.S. mail or less expensively and more expediently, online. www.copyright.gov. Whichever option you choose, they also have a phone help line if you need them to talk you through the process.
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Excellent Tarot Card Design information Source:
On Facebook type in Tarot Deck Creators. This fathomless source of invaluable information and support is truly a gift. The creators of this page should have a star named after them.
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Excellent Reference Book:
How I Sold 1 Million e-Books in 5 Months by New York Times best-selling author, John Locke. The title says it all. Read it and learn how he made the system serve his independent publishing aims. Amazon.com carries it.
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Independent Tarot Card Printer Sources & Options
Many thanks to Jill Scott, creator of the Peaceful Path Tarot deck and Helena Domenic, creator of The Fellowship of The Fool Tarot deck for sharing their experiences & information.
Printer’s Studio – PrinterStudio.com – based in China
User friendly. Although they have a phone number listed on their site, you get a recorded message telling you they’ll ‘get back to you.’
$15.99 per deck
10 days or less turn-around time
No physical or hard copy proof—on-line proof only; actual card colors can be less vibrant than the proof colors.
Because they’re based in China, you have a lack of control over the process.
Boxes—must be purchased elsewhere. Boxes for your decks can be playing card boxes or small gift boxes. Google and contact small box manufacturers for information and price quotes.
Satisfaction level—on a 10 out of 10 scale = 9
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Customized Playing Cards – CustomizedPlayingCards.com – based in US
User friendly—although, you must submit ‘press ready’ artwork, they provide templates for the size of the cards and they provide phone assistance at no extra cost.
18 deck minimum
Choice of card stock finishes
Costs – start @ 13.99 per deck
Fast turn-around time—from the day of your final approval to delivery of your cards—1½ – 2 weeks.
Physical proof (hard copy)—add one extra week to delivery time. Digital (on-line) proof option is within the turn-around time estimate of 1½ – 2 week delivery estimate. The proofs are an accurate sample of the finished product—the actual card colors are the same as proof colors.
Boxes—cards come shrink wrapped. E-mail for custom price estimate because their standard boxes fit decks with 54 playing cards. They do offer a ‘double hard clear case’ box for $0.65 per box which would hold a deck of Tarot cards.
***For larger quantities—1000 decks or more—the US based printing cost is more expensive than China based printing cost, but you have more direct control over the process.
Satisfaction level—on a 10 out of 10 scale = 10
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Traditional Card (and Book) Publishers
Llewellyn Publications – www.llewellyn.com
U.S. Games – www.usgamesinc.com
Schiffer Publishing – schifferbooks.com