Traditional vs. Independent Publishers of Books and Tarot Cards

temperencePart 1

You’ve got a great idea for a book or a deck of cards and you want to present it to the world.  The question most often asked at this point is, “do I travel the traditional publishing path or do I pull a ‘Christopher Columbus’ and go the independent publisher’s route?”

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.

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Typical questions a traditional publisher will ask you:

1- There are many books/decks out there. Why do we need yours?

2- What verification/certification do you have that you’re an expert at this?

3- Do you have confirmation from the experts in your field that your ideas/concepts are valid?

There are plusses and minus’ when you sign a contract with a traditional publisher.  Yes, your ego is stroked—“A big publisher thinks I’m valid!” and sometimes you’ll even be offered an advance, although it’s become a rare occurrence these days.  The advance is really an upfront loan that you’ll pay back with each copy of your work that’s sold before you get any royalties. And royalty amounts per unit are rarely more than a few cents each.

Traditional publishers will market your work to the widest audience possible.  This could be a good thing, but often it’s not.  By expecting buyers who have little or no knowledge of or interest in your field of expertise to purchase your work, they are often disappointed with you when this particular strategy fails.

Independent publishing encourages you to market your work specifically to your target audience, thus piquing the interest (and hopefully opening the wallets) of those who will actually want to benefit from your knowledge and buy your work.

Traditional publishing will give you about three weeks of promotional support for your book and/or deck; after that, the responsibility for making your work profitable for them (and hopefully, for you) falls on your shoulders.

A traditional publisher will want you to sign over your rights to how your work is edited, produced, promoted and sold. Although you will still own the work, they’ll own the right to use it as they see fit—or dis-continue it if it suits them.

Even though the beautiful Gaian Tarot is one of the most popular Tarot decks listed on, the publisher has decided to discontinue it. The creators of many books, decks and games have expressed frustration at their lack of control over how their project was handled by traditional publishers. The authors of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series were laughed out of traditional publisher’s offices because they were told that there was no market for or interest in that kind of book, so they published their first book themselves.  When their book became a best seller, they were inundated with offers from traditional publishers.

Traditional Publishers– contact them for more information and submission guidelines:

Llewellyn Publications –

U.S. Games –

Schiffer Publishing –

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There are many independent publishers.  My research and experience have led me to recommend Winslow Eliot’s WriteSpa Press,

Winslow Eliot, award winning author, editor and independent publisher, has created the answer to a writer’s prayer—an author services company that acknowledges YOU as the creator of your own vision and the rightful recipient of the rewards derived from the manifestation of that vision.

WriteSpa’s Mission: We offer a publishing alternative that encourages writers to manage and direct their own writing careers. WriteSpa’s Services: Editing, coaching, mentoring. Publishing: print-on-demand and ebook creation and Website development and promotion.

“We are an author services company. We take care of you and your book, helping you to become knowledgeable about the challenges and intricacies of publishing, including guiding you through the confusing web interfaces that are required to get your book published.

You own every part of your project. You keep 100% of all profits you make. Our publishing services include creating your print-on-demand softcover book. We use Lightning Source International for all of our clients’ print-on-demand projects. LSI (an Ingram Company) is the premier POD manufacturer and distributor to bookstores both domestic and abroad.

This means that your book can be ordered through libraries and major and small book retailers, both domestic and international. It’s also available on all major e-booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes&Noble.”

“The publishing world I’d grown up in— that of mysterious strangers having secret meetings to decide the fate of your beloved book—has been turned upside-down. A level playing field has opened to us and the people who matter most to us – our readers – can now decide for themselves if they like our books. So WriteSpa Press is part of a longing to empower writers to create their own destiny – to be brave and have fun with their Writing. Write what you love to read, have it professionally edited (every writer needs an editor), design it so it’s just as you imagine it, and voilà! a book that your friends and the whole world can enjoy. There’s nothing like that feeling! And I want as many writers as possible to have it.” Winslow Eliot

Next Week–  Part 2

Independent Publishing of Tarot, Lenormand and Divination Decks