How to Self-Publish Your Tarot or Oracle Deck

$40

For what is a rough average cost of buying a tarot or oracle deck, you will get a comprehensive course pack, including a 245-page handbook and a fully customizable deck creator’s journal that will help you every step of the way through designing, printing, marketing, and selling your own tarot or oracle deck. You’ll be getting industry trade secrets that I haven’t seen shared anywhere else.

The objective of this course is not to tell you what to do. The objective is to first ask, what do you want to do and what is your plan? Okay, now that we’ve established that, let me share with you my insights on how you can make sure you achieve what you want to do, you can sell that idea and people will want to buy it, and how to fine-tune that plan of yours so you ensure your success.

Is there a formula for success? Yes, yes there is.

And step by step, variable by variable, I will take you through that formula. Run your own fact pattern into that formula and you will produce the best possible outcome for yourself. I’m going to share with you how you can maximize the marketability of your creative project.

No matter what your deck project is, we’ll nudge it farther along to bring you more marketing power, more sales, more visibility, and to make your project the best version it can possibly be.

The digital course files you’ll get, Part I

Self-Publish Your Tarot or Oracle Deck

e-dELIVERY OF dIGITAL pdf fILES oNLY
THE LESSONS LEARNED HANDBOOK
U.S. Letter (8.5″ x 11″), 245 pages

I wrote a thing. It started out as a working document I titled “Lessons Learned from Launching an Indie Deck,” which I kept adding to throughout my tarot deck creating journey. But see, this isn’t just about my firsthand experiences and lessons learned, though that’s what most of it is; it’s a compilation of all the copious, painstaking, obsessive-compulsive research I did into self-publishing decks, marketing and selling them, and everything in between.

Before long that working document became a 90,000-word handbook that will be your assist in achieving all of these objectives:

COURSE OBJECTIVES

  • Successfully branding your deck concept in a way that will spotlight its strengths, gifts, and powers, which then increases the marketability of your deck
  • Gaining valuable insights for writing a companion text for your deck, whether you need to, what to write and how much to write if you do include companion text, and for those self-publishing, the technical instructions for ensuring the highest quality formatting
  • Mastering technical and graphic design principles for formatting the digital files of your deck art and to optimize production value
  • Understanding production cost considerations for self-publishing a deck
  • Understanding the printing logistics and what you need to know before querying for a deck manufacturer
  • Number-crunch financial projections for either boot-strapping your deck production or for setting crowdfunding (i.e., Kickstarter or Indiegogo) campaign goals
  • Formulate a power-packed marketing strategy, understanding how to effectively promote your deck, increase visibility, and how to ensure the commercial success of your deck project
  • Understanding the nuts and bolts of packing, shipping, sales, and customer service when you’re an independent deck creator

The outer margin of each page is wider across so you can add your own notes. By adding notes in each of the categorized sections of the handbook, you’re integrating your insights with mine to create an indispensable go-to bible.

Click on the PDF link below and just scroll through the table of contents for a summary of everything that will be covered.

Table of Contents

Click For the PDF to Skim the Contents

Contents covered in this course:

ILLUSTRATING AND DESIGNING YOUR DECK
What is the defined theme of your deck?
What story does your deck tell?
Is your deck based on a comprehensive system or structure?
Consider the architecture of your deck
How many cards are in your deck and why it matters right now
How does your deck add value to existing canon?
Who is your deck’s target audience?
List three of your deck’s comparables
How marketable is your deck?
Your deck is accessible and gives access
Yes, the aesthetics matter
Caring about aesthetics isn’t superficial
Timing matters, unfortunately
Your deck presents a solution to a problem
Keywords on tarot or oracle decks
Renaming the card titles in a tarot deck
Assessing the learning curve for your deck
Collaborating with others on a deck
Cultural appropriation: avoiding that accusation
Inclusivity and diversity issues
Using public domain images
Can you trace copyrighted images?
Distinctions between copyright and trademark
Card back design matters
Keeping a deck design journal
How do you finish your deck project?
Testing the usability of your oracle deck

THE LITTLE WHITE BOOKLET
Do you have to include a little white booklet?
Should you go with a digital LWB or printed LWB?
Is it written for a beginner or a fluent reader?
Will it be in black and white or in full color?
Consider your font size
Allot for interior margin gutter
Does your LWB need to contain card meanings?
Typical content in an LWB

WRITING A COMPANION BOOK
Do you need both an LWB and a companion book?
Should you publish a companion book?
Writing the card meaning entries
Do you have to include card spreads?
What is the purpose of your companion book?
Offering digital books vs. printed books

FORMATTING THE DIGITAL FILES FOR PRODUCTION
General Tips
Scanning in your artwork
The 200% test for resolution
The DPI resolution of your digital image files
Customized vs. industry standard sizes
Follow the manufacturer’s templates to a tee
Considering CMYK vs. RGB
Borders versus borderless
Editions, print runs, and the difference

FORMATTING AND PRINTING THE DECK
Check the illustrations multiple times
Proofread the captions multiple times
Name image files 01, 02, 03, up to 78, etc.
Formatting and Printing the LWB
Format the digital manuscript in actual size of the booklet
Saddle stitch, perfect binding, and lock line binding
Page setup specifications
The mirror margins and gutter
Print-check the font size and font type
Watch out for too much blank space at the bottom of the pages
Total LWB page count is a multiple of four
PDF/A compliant files: embed the fonts

BOX AND PACKAGING DESIGN
What is your objective for the packaging design?
Clamshell box, top and bottom lid box, tuck box, etc.
Raised print, gold foil, and decorative elements
Printing ISBNs and country of origin
Keep total weight under one pound (sixteen ounces)

PRODUCTION COSTS FOR SELF-PUBLISHING A DECK
Running your overhead cost projections
A review of my actual production costs
The takeaway points from my disclosure of numbers
Setting a crowd funding campaign goal

PRINTING AND PRODUCING YOUR DECK
Cardstock GSM
Will your card design hold up to wear and tear?
Card cores
Your finish options
Print-on-demand self-publishing
Should you buy a sample from the manufacturer?
Hiring a go-between print service
Obtaining an ISBN number
Do you have to register a copyright?
Do you have to register a trademark?
Working with Chinese manufacturers
Having your manufacturer sign an NDA
Printing your decks in China
Intellectual property in China
Business culture tips for Chinese dealings
Deciding on your print run order quantity
How do you choose which printing company to go with?
Getting comparable price quotes (RFQs)
What are the exact shipping and delivery terms?
Negotiating a 3% contingency
Do not change your mind
Squeaky wheel gets the oil: requests for status updates
Video chat with your manufacturer’s sales contact
Average production lead time
The deck printing and production process
When the decks ship to you (U.S. import only)

MARKETING AND SALES TIPS
The best publicity tip ever
How will your deck amplify the reader?
How to generate buzz
SWOT: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
Querying for deck reviews
How about media kits?
You have to explain yourself and what you’ve done
Social media marketing tips and thoughts
Make your first print run special
Create a separate e-mail address for customer service
Be a communist or a capitalist, but don’t be nice
Set aside a reserve of decks in case shit happens
Order first then sell vs. order based on pre-order sales
Market with e-mail newsletters
Sample terms of purchase
Weekly and monthly sales check-ins
How to increase the profitability of your deck
Free giveaways are a terrible marketing strategy
Pitch how your deck will make a difference in people’s lives
Dealing with a sales slump
Wholesales and the indie deck creator
Consignments and the indie deck creator
How to deal with angry customers

PACKING AND SHIPPING YOUR DECK
What is the shipping manifest?
Give people 2 days to confirm the mailing address
International shipping considerations
Preparing customs declarations
Buyers pay the customs (import) fees
Buyer-seller codes of liability
Refunds and replacements
The dark side of handling customer service
A padded envelope isn’t enough
Including freebies and bonuses in the packaging

SUBMITTING TO TRADITIONAL PUBLISHERS

MISCELLANEOUS TIPS AND INSIGHTS
Fulfillment and distribution services
There will be people who hate your deck
Self-care and mental health
Dealing with bootlegged copies of your deck
Have an exit strategy ready
You are your brand

SO IN THE END, WAS IT WORTH IT?—FINAL LESSONS
Work Notes: Before Starting Your Deck
Work Notes: Funding and Financial Projections
Work Notes: Product Design and Print Order
Work Notes: Marketing Strategic Plan
Automatic Writing Exercise
Creative Visualization Exercise

Click for enlarged view

ACTUAL IMPORT-EXPORT LOGS OF DECK PRINTERS AROUND THE WORLD

By the way, did you know U.S. import and export logs are of public record? You just need to know where to find it and how to search for it. You’ll get 2018, 2019, and some 2020 Excel sheets of all U.S. imports of tarot and oracle decks and printed books.

Click for enlarged view

That means you’ll see who all the major publishing houses use to manufacture their decks and books, along with those exporting factories’ contact information.

DECK CREATOR’S JOURNAL
Trade Paperback (6″ x 9″), 220 pages

This is a blank journal with a Progress Diary section where you can date entries and log when you complete certain milestones, when you contacted certain manufacturers or prospective deck reviewers, etc. The Deck Creator’s Journal will help you stay organized with checklists and to-do lists so you stay on top of your project.

 

 

FOLDER FILE OF TEMPLATES, ETC.

You will also receive a file folder, zipped, with the following:

  • Companion Books Formatted Word Templates
    • Formatted Word Templates for an A5 Book (2 versions, 5.5″ x 8.5″ and 5.8″ x 8.3″)
    • Formatted Word Template for a Trade Paperback Book (6″ x 9″)
    • Formatted Word Template for a Tarot Card Size Little White Book (2.75″ x 4.75″)
    • Formatted Word Template for an Oracle Card Size Little White Book (3.46″ x 4.96″)
  • Copyright Infringement Form Letters
    • Letter Template for Claim of Copyright Infringement (Cease and Desist Demand Letter)
    • Letter Template for a Final Notice of Infringement (C&D Demand)
    • Letter Template for a Defending Response to an Erroneous Infringement Claim
  • Deck Creator’s Boilerplate Contracts
    • Collaboration and Joint Works Agreement
    • Copyright Licensing Agreement
    • Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA for Deck Creators to Manufacturers)
    • Work for Hire (Independent Contractor) Agreement
  • Deck Creator’s Journal Pages and Templates (both PDF and DOCX files are provided for each)
    • Strategic Planning & Writing Prompts
    • Progress Diary Page Template
    • Lined Notes Section Template
    • Grid Paper Template
    • Oracle Deck Structure Notes
    • Tarot Deck Structure Notes for a Tarot de Marseille
    • Tarot Deck Structure Notes for a Rider-Waite-Smith
    • Tarot Deck Structure Notes for Thoth
    • Tarot Key Title Correspondence Chart
    • Metaphysical Reference Tables
  • Journal Cover Designs
    • All Trade Paperback Size
    • Public Domain Art (with Source Citations and References)
    • Total: 105 Image Files, 1800 x 2700, 300 dpi
  • Shortlist of Deck Manufacturer Contacts
  • Shortlist of Public Domain Sources
  • Deck Creator’s Sales Intake Log (Excel Workbook Template)
  • Financial Worksheet: Crowd Funding Campaign Goal
  • Financial Worksheet: Projected Net Profit

E-Delivery

All files will be delivered to you electronically to your e-mail inbox. You will be given a hyperlink access to a zipped, compressed file.

Unzip the file and transfer everything in there to your computer drive.

Terms of Purchase

Non-Refundable Purchase. Please note that given the digital nature of your course materials, your purchase is non-refundable. Therefore, please do your due diligence when you consider the value of my courses and general expectations of content from me before you order.

Non-Transferable Purchase. This purchase is for rights of access to proprietary and confidential content for you and you alone. The purchase is non-transferable and non-assignable, meaning you cannot re-sell the course files to others or transfer the course files to others. Transferring course files or any part of the course content is unauthorized under your purchase rights.

How to Order

$40

I’m going to give step by step instructions on how to order the course and get access to download all the materials for yourself.

  1. Send $40 (Forty Dollars) USD via PayPal to the e-mail address abelldelivers@gmail.com. Yes, it’s going to say “James Zhang from Castro Valley.” That’s the Hubby. Also, this is the preferred method of payment. (~or~)
  2. Send $40 with your credit card through PayPal by following this link: https://www.paypal.me/benebell(~or~)
  3. Only if (1) and (2) are impracticable for you, send $40 by ordering me an Amazon Gift Card, sent to abelldelivers@gmail.com. Direct link to Amazon gift card orders here.
  4. When you send payment, please include:
    1. Your name or a name identifier for me to reference you by, (~and~)
    2. Your e-mail address, so I know where to send your ordered course materials to.

That’s it!

But if any of that sounds confusing or you just don’t know, no worries. Email me at abelldelivers@gmail.com to let me know you want to place an order. We’ll take it from there together.

Once I receive your payment for the purchase order, your course materials will be delivered to the e-mail address you specified within 2 business days.

Important E-Delivery Note: The e-mail we’re sending contains a lot of hyperlinks. Some e-mail service providers might assume it’s spam or a promotions e-mail, and so our e-delivery could end up in one of those folders. If 2 days has gone by and you haven’t received an e-mail from us with the subject line “Self-Publish Your Own Tarot or Oracle Deck,” then first check your other folders, like spam, junk, social, or promotions. If you still see nothing, then e-mail us so we can figure out what happened.

abelldelivers@gmail.com

DELIVERY NOTE: So far I’ve been good about getting the course materials to you in less than 48 hours from when I receive the PayPal payment, so if that time has gone by and you haven’t received anything from me, first check your Spam folder. Second, check to see the e-mail address associated with your PayPal account. I may have sent it to that account if no e-mail was provided in the notes section of the transfer. If still nothing, then something went wrong somewhere, so contact me at the above e-mail addy ASAP so we can get things squared away.

16 thoughts on “How to Self-Publish Your Tarot or Oracle Deck

  1. Ooo! This is Awesome!:D i’m Sharing in our fb group & forum & my web!^^
    & purchasing asap!^^ looking forward to read these pro materials!^^;D

    Big Thank You for Wonderful blog & All You Share for free!:D
    MyLuckyCard
    reall/Irena

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been looking forward to this! I do have one question to know if this is addressed as it’s my biggest question. I am terribly low-tech. I have a hard time using software as I have dyscalculia which is like dyslexia for math and so computer stuff is very difficult for me to learn (thinking Illustrator or Photoshop and such). Does this book address how to create a deck that isn’t in digital form and how to publish that? Like, what’s involved in creating a hard copy deck from art or stitchery and how to get that published, where to go, who can make that into cards? Hope this question isn’t too weird. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Allison: Great question! For my deck, it was entirely hand-drawn with no tech whatsoever, the old school way, just an ink pen, cardstock paper, protractor, ruler, and compass. =)

      However, I still needed tech to scan in the illustrations at high-resolution, and I still needed graphic design know-how to format those illustrations into tarot cards. And then you have to design your own product packaging, so in 2019, there may not be a way around learning computer stuff to publish a deck.

      This course, regrettably, does not address how to craft and publish a deck without some baseline knowledge of computers, graphic design, and graphic design software programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, or Paint Shop Pro (which is what I use). So sorry! =(

      Like

      1. Oh, thank you so much for answering. I suppose even if I could not figure out the tech side, although I would certainly like to try if that’s what’s needed, I’d bet I could hire or partner with a techie at that point. So you haven’t been discouraging at all. It is a stumbling block but certainly not insurmountable. Big, big help so thanks so much!

        Like

      2. Benebell, I love your work and mind! I have read and re-read “how to..” and it is so over my head that I find it very difficult to take it all in and follow, thus I think I will advertise for some college helper..who has graphic computer savvy to help me. Then we will either buy the book or buy a printer to print the great information you have shared with us all. Thank you! Jean Redman

        Like

  3. Carmen Dani'el Norman

    I have a question that is “similar” to the one above. When you drew your deck, on what size paper/cardstock did you draw it on? Does it matter the size if you are scanning it in?

    Thank you

    Like

    1. All of the hand-drawn images I drew were exactly 2.75″ x 4.75″ (which means, given that a tarot deck is that dimension and the printed version has borders, the dimension for the digital file for printing is just a smidge smaller than that, to account for the borders and captions).

      I then scanned each image in at 600 dpi. Most recommended printing resolution is only 300 dpi. So I think for my specific case, that helped keep the printed resolution quality pretty sharp and pristine.

      My recommendation is whatever actual size cards you anticipating printing your deck as, do not go smaller than that for the actual original art. So if you plan on printing 3″ x 5″ oracle cards, then for the original art, don’t go smaller than that. =)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The only thing I would say about this is if you foresee yourself wanting to create very large size art prints or even posters, then that’s something to consider before drawing an entire deck at a small size. After scanning and if you try to blow up a 2.75″ x 4.75″ original work of art up to a poster size to hang on a wall, that’s going to take some advanced level digital tinkering. =)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Carmen Dani'el Norman

        You are awesome!! Thank you so so much for the quick reply and all the exact info that I needed!! Thank you so much, I appreciate this very much 🙂

        Like

  4. Cat

    Hi Benebell,

    I stumbled onto your world a couple of weeks ago and have been devouring your content despite not knowing much about tarot. Your passion, attention to detail, and transparency are so refreshing and attractive. Anyway, I’m looking to self-publish a set of flash cards for educational purposes (so has nothing to do with tarot), and I’m wondering if you’d recommend this course? I understand that the course is geared towards tarot-creators, but I’m hoping that the broader topics on marketing, vendor outreach, financial forecast, etc. would still apply and be valuable for my case?

    Thanks!

    Like

    1. Hi Cat! Sorry for the late reply. Yes, most of what is covered in this course still pertains to self-publishing and then marketing a set of flash cards. Some of the specific sections that get into tarot deck architecture considerations won’t apply, obviously. =) But all the material on how to find a manufacturer, how to work with an overseas manufacturer, your publication options (print on demand, crowd-sourcing, etc.), and then how to market your deck still apply. Also, formatting your image files so they’re optimized for print production would also apply. Thank you.

      Like

  5. Feeling grateful for just finding this offer! and for your beautifully transparent blog 🙂
    After 7 years iterating a 52-card oracle/game deck, I’m nearly ready to print.
    Your course is tantalizing, but I wish I’d had at the start. Is it super helpful at this late stage of development, with final packaging, printing, marketing and distribution choices?
    As a former web producer, I tend to be organized 🙂 much research, maintained spreadsheets and Evernotes with many many details.

    I tried to purchase just the handbook, but do not find it at Lulu. Can I start with that?
    THANK you from my heart,

    Like

  6. Pingback: Show Me the Numbers: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing of a Tarot/Oracle Deck – benebell wen

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