Freder's Avatar
Freder  Freder is offline
Join Date: 18 Dec 2012
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 314
An Update and an Info Query

Update: The Brownies Oracle is very close to being done. Really and for true! I have five cards left to design, and plenty of artwork to choose from; then it's a matter of getting the package together, uploading files and waiting on the proof copy. I'm pretty well confident that this deck will be completed and available at last by late August.

And the companion book to the PUNCH deck ought to be ready around the same time.

After that? I have three more projects that I've already started and am looking forward to working on them in earnest!


Now I need to ask for some advice on the ugly subject of marketing. It's my sense that I'm only reaching a small portion of the audience that's out there for my decks. But -- where to find them? I've done a small about of Google advertising, but other than that all my marketing efforts have been focussed here and on Facebook.

Where else is there? Is there anywhere else? Am I missing something? Deck creators, where do you market your work? Deck buyers -- where do you look? (As a deck collector myself, I tend to look here and at Amazon).

I especially want to get into retail stores, but so far, with just one exception, they are steadfastly Not Biting when I approach them direct via email. I know my decks are pricey, but that can't be helped as long as I have to produce them in small runs or POD.

Really, I wish that I could afford to hire a real marketing person, but that ain't happening anytime soon.

Any ideas or advice? I'll be happy to detail everything I've been doing in this area in the unlikely event that anyone is interested. Maybe I should start a thread on this subject. Or does one exist that I don't know about?

Many thanks, anyway, especially for the kind words folks have shared here.

Top   #71
Le Fanu's Avatar
Le Fanu  Le Fanu is offline
Join Date: 10 Feb 2008
Location: Somewhere Spooky
Posts: 17,258
Le Fanu 

As a deck buyer, I look here (not amazon) and instagram.

I've had enough of facebook and very rarely go there. But I love instagram - I check out #tarot and #tarotdecks etc etc and it brings up all kinds of things. I thought I was pretty ahead of things and aware of what was going on but I'm always finding extraordinary things posted on instagram. Cards can look so beautiful when photographed there, with filters and special effects and spreadcloths and crystals. I have been enabled endlessly there

I have to say though, I think that starting a holdall thread here - in deck creations - (and we have all ended up posting our impressions here) might have done you a little bit of a disservice. Most deck threads are in tarot decks. I only see this thread because I love your decks and I'm following it.

But seriously, 90% of the time I go to tarot decks, 5% tarot trading, 2% talking tarot, 1% Thoth, 1% Lenormand, 1% Oracle.

And nothing else.

If there are decks which are only in Tarot Creation, I simply don't see them. You started this thread and it might be that it has caused interest in your decks to languish here in a part of the forum which is less visited. Just an idea based on my movements around the forum. A thread in Tarot Decks gets people noticing and enabled. Unless I'm overestimating things...
Top   #72
Ballerina's Avatar
Ballerina  Ballerina is offline
Join Date: 19 Jun 2014
Location: out of time and place
Posts: 142
Greetings from Canada

Hi Freder. I love your stuff. Thanks for creating it all.

I know Canada isn't a very large market but you should contact Dempsey Distributing at They are pretty much it in English Canada for wholesale metaphysical books and tarot and oracle decks. They have a "Submission Information for Authors" page.

I have only dealt with them as a retailer but they were great to deal with.

Give it a shot and I wish you the best. Your decks and books deserve wide distribution.
Top   #73
Nemia  Nemia is offline
Join Date: 29 Sep 2013
Location: End of Nowhere
Posts: 2,492

What LeFanu said. And I see you active only here, not elsewhere on AT. You must have a deep understanding of tarot and can certainly contribute to many topics. Becoming more active on the boards and showing and sharing your knowledge might give you a higher "credibility" - most of your potential clients are probably right here on AT, and like LeFanu said, if they are interested in buying decks, they start their AT session over at the deck discussions, or discuss other aspects or questions of the tarot.

I don't know whether these things are done and acceptable, but you might think about offering review decks to some popular reviewers on Youtube, Tumblr, blogs or other platforms - of course openly declaring that they go the deck from you to review it. I'm certain that Benebell Wen's review of Dame Darcy's tarot contributed to its popularity; there was no resisting her enthusiasm. Probably Mary Greer's positive review of the Holy Light deck convinced many to buy it.

You run of course the risk that the reviews contain also criticism and find weak spots in your deck; the more knowledgeable the reviewer, the higher that risk becomes. But a discussion about a deck is interesting and might cause people to take a closer look. I think the risk is worth it, especially since you can learn from every competent criticism.

And is it worth to become a nine day's wonder? A sudden hype around a deck can backfire. I guess a good reputation, built slowly overtime, is better in the long run than the feeling, "wow, isn't that the deck that was wildly popular in the second half of February 2014?" :-)

I would also think about Etsy or some other platform that's easier to handle than your website. Just looking for how and where to order was a bit of a hassle, and Etsy is a great platform - or are you there already? I had an Etsy shop for years, and the percentage you pay is IMO worth the ease for seller and buyer.
Top   #74
Freder's Avatar
Freder  Freder is offline
Join Date: 18 Dec 2012
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 314

Many thanks, all, for your helpful comments!

Le Fanu -- your point is well taken. I guess the reason I've confined myself to promoting in this thread is that I thought it stood the least chance of making people angry. People get cheesed off so easily on the net these days -- even including the forum administrators. I was trying not to offend! But maybe I'll ... stick my toe in to other areas and hope that it doesn't get bitten off! Re: Instagram, for technical reasons, I haven't been able to post there much. That's changing now with a new service provider, so I ought to be able to follow up on that. Thanks for the suggestion!

Ballerina -- thanks for that and I will look into that. too!

Nemia -- I actually am at Etsy. It's been doing OK for me. You make a number of good points. I TOTALLY AGREE about the "nine day wonder" thing, and am trying to do everything with the long term in mind. I plan on sticking around a while, and nothing that I do or create is meant to be a "flash in the pan."

But review copies can be hit and miss, although not IMHO for the reasons you mention (I can take criticism, as long as it's not in the nature of a vendetta or hatchet job, as seems to be too often the case on the interwebs). I sent a review copy to two prominent entities in our field who shall remain nameless -- and nothing ever came of it. I get tired awfully easily of crap like that.

It's the Wild West out there and I'm socially inept. At the very least, as noted above, I seem to have the knack for pissing people off. That's why I've been keeping to myself, so to speak.

ANYWAY -- some good ideas here and I will start to follow through! Many thanks --
Top   #75
wooden-eye  wooden-eye is offline
Join Date: 18 Sep 2012
Location: NSW Australia
Posts: 464

I understand your plight only to well. It is damned near impossible to keep up the momentum. My own lack of social media bravado and general disinterest has worked against me from day one.
You and me Freda, we just wanna do the research and the art, but that is unfortunately a luxury reserved for no one I know.
As you know I have been lucky enough to have had my deck picked up by a publisher, and coincidently just sent in the full manuscript and images.
This is where one might reasonably (and wrongly) think the work is done.
Well it is not at all. MARKETING, MARKETING! AHHH!
I have also had to submit spreadsheets full of contacts and days worth of research and cold calling looking for info to add to these spreadsheets to be completed before the project Is proceeded.
Needless to say this was a miserable process, for which I am utterly unsuited, but what I will say is that it really spelled it out to me just what it takes to get your decks out there, to reach the hands that you know would love it if only they knew it existed. It really is pointed and relentless effort. Work you would surely pay someone else to do if you had the chance. From now until 2016 when I hope to see the deck published I will continue to add to this database and update the publishers frequently, and as the release date becomes closer efforts are exponentially multiplied.
I guess all this is more than us creatives ever signed up for or expect when we set out to make a tarot. I for one never realised I would be writing, editing
and formatting a full length book, but tarot creators must be the 'full package'.
Promoting and marketing are just two more strings we must have to our bows. And all this with a full time job, children and two more partially created decks.
I am just kicking off on Instagram. I like it so far, I see The Wild UNknown absolutely everywhere. In high street shops even here in Aus. While this is a bit sickening and makes me a bit envious, I both take my hat off to them and hope to take a leaf from their book. They prove it can be done, but dogged determination and tenacity are for sure key.
Okay, sorry if that came off as a rant. A bunch of stress is falling away right now, and it has left me feeling feisty and with an appetite for truth.
So don't lose the faith Freda, your decks are quite wonderful and utterly individual.
Top   #76
Freder's Avatar
Freder  Freder is offline
Join Date: 18 Dec 2012
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 314

Hey, Wooden-eye!

First -- don't call Freda. I'm not a girl! (I'm smiling as I type this, not angry at all... on the interwebs it is so hard to tell how people mean things sometime).

Actually, one and all can call me by my real name. I don't use the nom-de-plume to hide behind, I use it because it's hard to encourage word of mouth when no one can pronounce your name.

Now getting serious: why, wooden-eye, are YOU having to do all of Schiffer's damn work for them? The only reason to go to a mainstream publisher these days is presumably they know what they are doing because they've been doing it for a while. That, and because they can afford to print in quantities great enough so that the price can be kept down and the deck can reach that many more people. OK, and also because they have a dedicated sales staff that can get these things into the stores.

Those things are out of my reach -- at the moment, but not necessarily forever.

I could rant about mainstream publishers and how they treat artists and writers (which is considerably different today than how we were treated by them in the past)... but I don't want to waste my time being all negative and ranty. The bottom line is that I no longer believe in it as a path to success for writers and artists; and unless the established publishers change their business practices to fit into the modern age, they will all be going away soon, anyhow.

I think you misread my frustration: I am ready and willing to do the marketing work, but that is not my area of expertise and I feel that I am wearing out the resources that I have and know about. I need to broaden my scope, and I frankly don't know where to go with that. But, you know -- it's MY problem, not anyone else's.

I do believe that I will take Le Fanu's advice and venture out of my own little hole here on AT, tho... and risk the barbs. Eh, it's a start.


In better news, today I am working on the last card for The Brownies, and also on typesetting the PUNCH book. This latter is slow going, as I'm making revisions to the text as I go. It's shaping up: if nothing else, I think it will be a fun little book. And I think it will be available in both print and PDF versions.


Top   #77
prudence  prudence is offline
Join Date: 31 Jan 2005
Location: between two ferns
Posts: 10,202

Freder, you could also post this thread or a similar one in the Tarot Decks section here on the forum, it will get you a lot more attention, at least on Aeclectic.
Top   #78
nicky's Avatar
nicky  nicky is offline
Join Date: 20 Jul 2005
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 3,620

hey help - order of the majors?
Top   #79
Freder's Avatar
Freder  Freder is offline
Join Date: 18 Dec 2012
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 314

That's very easy. Go here:

Click on the Zirkus. You'll see buttons with several options. The Majors deck is your third option/ button down. Fourth if you're outside the US.


Top   #80
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