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Writing a Book vs LWB


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Writing a Book vs LWB


Hey all! When you create a tarot (or oracle) deck, what makes you choose to write a big book to go with it vs a little white book? Do you think that it makes a difference to the buyer of the deck?

Personally I only buy decks that come with a big book. (I have been gifted a few decks that just have the little white book) Reason being 1) I am a book hoarder. Just laying that out there. And 2) I really like to read a little story about each card and image before jumping into the deck. Being an author, it is important to me to have this tangible extension of the deck.

That being said..... I am itching to write a tarot book. Any artists that either have a deck that would benefit from a book or in the process of making a deck want to possibly work together? (I say possibly because it is such a personal process for both the artist and the author that we would have to really try it out first and make sure that we mesh well before jumping into in)

Well in any case, I would love to hear thoughts about the benefit or lack of benefit of having a book with the deck. And you thoughts about buying decks with just the LWB.

Thanks
xoxox
Kat
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There's definitely a difference in the sheer amount of effort involved. IMO, big books are nice, but the images on the cards should stand on their own and be interpretable without a big book to give you all the details. (Or, indeed, even a LWB; not all people do intuitive readings but plenty of people do and so ignore even the LWB entirely. I'm about half intuitive and that's why I don't like extremely abstract decks like, say, the Orbifold.)

And, to be blunt... Lots of artists can't write. Writing is every bit as much of a skill as art is, but people think it's easy so they just produce an inferior product. And most Big Books don't give you a sample of the writing, only the visuals of the cards. As an amateur editor, I just can't help but turn up my nose at the quality of a lot of writing. There's not as much problem in LWBs because they're basically a list of keywords, but even some of the professionally published Tarot Big Books I own make me twitch.

(Incidentally, if anyone is working on a Big Book and wants an editor, drop me a line. Or even a LWB.)

As far as making a book to go with a deck... It's something I'd consider but not high on my priorities, unless I was doing a particularly nonstandard deck. If the deck is close to a standard (RWS usually, but also Thoth), then there's not as much need for explanation and a LWB is fine. But if there's big deviations (beyond suit associations), then I think a bigger book is kind of required?

As for oracle decks, again it depends on how straightforward the images are and how much you want it to be intuitive. The Earthbound Oracle is intended as an intuitive deck and it seems like it would work just fine without a big book. Lots of other decks have text on the cards (which I don't personally like but it doesn't seem to make a lot of difference to other people). It all depends on the purpose and also how in-depth you want to get, I think?
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agree! imo if you are making new oracle system with hi abstract card that require specific amount of information to work with you'll need a book?) but if you go*safe route* everyone knows i.e tarot it's enough to just state some basic info like idea inspiration and system it's based on and everyone can use it even with LWB!)
my fav was one with Manga Tarot! each card had one zen line that was fresh and original and in line with meaning I like!)

and my favorite book was The Big Book of Angel Tarot! imo big books on same topic/tarot tend to end up repeating?) I mean how many of us have fantastic big book we never read from cover to cover?XD XP )

I write a book for my Lenormand Oracle Meditation and Spell 54 card deck
and make it free download here http://fav.me/d9sqzk0 all feedbacks welcome!)
it takes me about half a year from draft to finish and then check proofreading!) good thing I had my notes from the moment I started this project!^^ and friend to help out as I'm not original English speaker lolz )
does it pay off? will someone buy a deck just because there is a big book with it? for now not sure it makes a big difference? at least until I find a publisher!XD )
but I hope someone will appreciate it and find it useful!^^

and for my future tarot projects I'll go with mini LWB!^^) at least for those not including some specific topic that require intro to understand!XD facepalm )
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I'm with witchofglass here! I'd rather not have a book if it's a poorly written one. I've read tarot books by people I'm sure are wonderful, talented, tarot readers with tons of knowledge BUT that just aren't good writers, and then the book just annoys me instead of helps me.

If I've read good reviews, or seen people here on AT loving a book, then I always get a set or buy the book too. This is the case with the Mary-El and the Tarot of Vampyres (though I haven't read them yet...). But if I hear a companion book is bad, then I don't bother. Personally as a reader I feel like I don't NEED a book, but if it's a good book, then I want it (Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore is great, imo!).
Top   #4
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Interesting thread!
I have personal experience to report. I made and self-published a deck, which came out in 2013. With it I produced a standard 48 page LWB. This LWB took around 2 days to write. A year or so later the deck was lucky enough to be picked up by a publisher. To be sold as a set it was required to have a full companion book, the publisher guideline was a book of 5000- I think 40000 words (short), any longer to be formally agreed upon. Mine ended up closer to 80000. It took all the spare time I could muster (I work) of 6 months in total. With formatting editing etc. This is all done by an artist, who is by now also a writer, who more often than not never claimed, nor wanted to be a writer/editor etc, but is deliriously grateful for the opportunity.
These were the facts in my case and I found the technical side of preparing the book an incredibly steep learning curve; I had never really ever cared or needed to write in anything but longhand. Thankfully being quite the journaler the content was no problem.
Still by the end I swore I would never again do my own book.
Realistically I am sure I will do the book again, for if deck is your creation, it is do much simpler to use your own words to tell its truths.
Sorry to be so lengthy. (This happened in my book)
Just going to add. Having made the deck I always kind of felt I owed it a book, but it is really hard to get round to, after the fact. So if you even suspect a full book is on the cards, write it as you make the cards.
Great news folks want to write books for decks, especially when they will likely have to listen to artists attempt to explain visual concepts. Or inversely if the deck has been formed in the mind of the writer, have them succeed in conveying their ideas to the artist. I have a mind to collaborate on my next project and I know who with, but whether we can make it work is anybody's guess.
I am sure she will write a better tarot book than I can, but can it fit the deck as completely as a book formed from the same brainbox of ideas?
Perhaps there will always be a difference in quality between a tarot book written to stand alone and a companion to deck. We strive to be consistent across the board, but naturally have strengths we prefer to play to.
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ha ha! I swore the same thing!) NEVER WRITING A BOOK AGAIN!) but that will probably happen again eventually facepalm
I would rather illustrate a deck for someone who I think would write fantastic book! if we find common topic!) imo it's better everyone do its job writer write and painter paint!) of course good communication is necessary but best not to dwell to much on whats not your thing!^^ lolz )
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wooden-eye View Post
Interesting thread!
I have personal experience to report. I made and self-published a deck, which came out in 2013. With it I produced a standard 48 page LWB. This LWB took around 2 days to write. A year or so later the deck was lucky enough to be picked up by a publisher. To be sold as a set it was required to have a full companion book, the publisher guideline was a book of 5000- I think 40000 words (short), any longer to be formally agreed upon. Mine ended up closer to 80000. It took all the spare time I could muster (I work) of 6 months in total. With formatting editing etc. This is all done by an artist, who is by now also a writer, who more often than not never claimed, nor wanted to be a writer/editor etc, but is deliriously grateful for the opportunity.
These were the facts in my case and I found the technical side of preparing the book an incredibly steep learning curve; I had never really ever cared or needed to write in anything but longhand. Thankfully being quite the journaler the content was no problem.
Still by the end I swore I would never again do my own book.
Realistically I am sure I will do the book again, for if deck is your creation, it is do much simpler to use your own words to tell its truths.
Sorry to be so lengthy. (This happened in my book)
Just going to add. Having made the deck I always kind of felt I owed it a book, but it is really hard to get round to, after the fact. So if you even suspect a full book is on the cards, write it as you make the cards.
Great news folks want to write books for decks, especially when they will likely have to listen to artists attempt to explain visual concepts. Or inversely if the deck has been formed in the mind of the writer, have them succeed in conveying their ideas to the artist. I have a mind to collaborate on my next project and I know who with, but whether we can make it work is anybody's guess.
I am sure she will write a better tarot book than I can, but can it fit the deck as completely as a book formed from the same brainbox of ideas?
Perhaps there will always be a difference in quality between a tarot book written to stand alone and a companion to deck. We strive to be consistent across the board, but naturally have strengths we prefer to play to.
Thank you for sharing your insight here. See I am the opposite. I am a writer trying to find an artist. While I can write a book (and have some published), I can't for the life of me draw to create the deck. But trying to find an artist to work with has been very hard. I think that two people can work together to create a seamless product with good communication back and forth.
Top   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by witchofglass View Post
There's definitely a difference in the sheer amount of effort involved. IMO, big books are nice, but the images on the cards should stand on their own and be interpretable without a big book to give you all the details. (Or, indeed, even a LWB; not all people do intuitive readings but plenty of people do and so ignore even the LWB entirely. I'm about half intuitive and that's why I don't like extremely abstract decks like, say, the Orbifold.)

And, to be blunt... Lots of artists can't write. Writing is every bit as much of a skill as art is, but people think it's easy so they just produce an inferior product. And most Big Books don't give you a sample of the writing, only the visuals of the cards. As an amateur editor, I just can't help but turn up my nose at the quality of a lot of writing. There's not as much problem in LWBs because they're basically a list of keywords, but even some of the professionally published Tarot Big Books I own make me twitch.

(Incidentally, if anyone is working on a Big Book and wants an editor, drop me a line. Or even a LWB.)

As far as making a book to go with a deck... It's something I'd consider but not high on my priorities, unless I was doing a particularly nonstandard deck. If the deck is close to a standard (RWS usually, but also Thoth), then there's not as much need for explanation and a LWB is fine. But if there's big deviations (beyond suit associations), then I think a bigger book is kind of required?

As for oracle decks, again it depends on how straightforward the images are and how much you want it to be intuitive. The Earthbound Oracle is intended as an intuitive deck and it seems like it would work just fine without a big book. Lots of other decks have text on the cards (which I don't personally like but it doesn't seem to make a lot of difference to other people). It all depends on the purpose and also how in-depth you want to get, I think?
This makes sense. Thanks for you thoughts. I am not an artist, but a writer. So I am trying to bring value to an artist by writing that book. (And when it happens, I will hit you up for the editor )
Top   #8
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This is an interesting topic as to me it speaks of the difference between the right and left brains, and integrating them. As it is said artists are more right brained, and writers more left brained, I can see how these tasks are so often divided.

I've done the art, and the books both full size and LWB for two decks now. And did most of the editing myself too. Which they say is a bad idea but I think I did not do too bad as while I have found a few of my own errors after printing (always a "doh!" moment), I have found more errors in many "professionally" published books with whole teams working on them!

I am a weird case in that I can toggle between right and left brain with relative ease. I am not claiming to use my "whole brain" (though it makes a good joke "I am still a half-wit" haha). I think it is my consolation prize for being forced to make a living in a left brain field for decades, when what I more easily related to was the right brained way. With a Mercury-Neptune conjunction, I am great at floating around in the aethers thinking about connections. Some good aspects from Saturn and Mars help anchor and direct that because otherwise it would be a bad thing.

I did have an affinity for both sides of the brain to begin with though, I just would have chosen the arts and instead got stuck with left brain work. A sad story, but maybe there was a reason. I lifted lots of weights with that left brain for a long time and it got stronger, then I rebelled and said f*** it and made my first deck and started pumping iron on the right brain.

The first deck I did I would paint every day after work, and on the weekends most of the day. When I got so tired I thought I'd get too sloppy to paint, I'd run a bath and take a pad of paper and a pen and a glass or three of mead and maybe a few favorite books and get in the tub and write about the card I was working on. Don't laugh, Mercury-Neptune thinks best around water and wine.

As a result I ended up with several waterlogged notebooks with cryptic notes on each card and a bunch of my favorite books ended up ruffled and waterlogged. I took those notebooks and made them into the text for each card and then wrote the introductory chapters on the various structures like astrology off the top of my head after transcribing the rest into something coherent. That part was easy as I was an odd child and started reading astrology texts at five, no kiddin'. I can spout off about that stuff at will, lol. (Though I don't in person.)

All that to say, I knew the book I'd written in Microsoft Word needed to be formatted in InDesign. I got an older copy of that program and after a few hours looking at it decided life was too short to do that part myself too and hired someone to format it. That book was maybe 60K in words, I forget now. The LWB for that deck I did in Word, and it was pretty crappy format wise but I did not know any better.

The second deck I did, I wrote the books after done with the deck. I did the LWB formatting in Publisher instead of Word, which was a so much better looking end result, and cranked it out in a frenzied, weirdly fueled (no comment) and obsessive 11 hour stretch off the top of my head.

The full size book I wrote in Word off the top of my head, just looking up the relevant quotes, and hired the same person again to do the InDesign thing as I maintain that life is too short for me to learn InDesign too.

I wrote that book, about 80K of words, in an odd frenzy after the deck art was done, over a 2-3 month period, during which I was also working a job (still am), doing a Kickstarter, and my only and close sibling died unexpectedly and I had to plan his funeral. The Kickstarter met its goal the day after he died, and I was in so much shock I could only pretend to the backers that all was well and thank them - I was not able to do the celebratory thing. But in spite of being in shock and grief I wrote the book, completed the Kickstarter, did the editing myself, got it all printed and shipped and on the exact day I promised too. I do not know how; I was a mess. This was my only brother and he up and had a seizure and croaked on "World Tarot Day" and the next day my stupid Kickstarter met its goal. Yeah. I have no idea how that book got written or how I got everything done and shipped on time. My house was torn apart and under construction too. It was a terrible time. And I work full time so it was not like I had my time to myself.

Here's to actual angels, who assist in mysterious ways.
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I forgot to say why a full size vs lwb size, though it seems obvious. It is just that unless a deck is just a clone, no one will 100 percent get your intention (if it is just a clone, there is no intention to get or explain with that many words). While the image should bs evocative without any words, a book can enhance things for people by letting them into your brain.
Top   #10

 

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