How do you deal with criticism to your baby


OK there are going to decks out there that you love to bits, find laughable and hate.

eg. Maud a dear friend of mine did have her cards on show for a short time due to sever problems and heavy workload...... Getting to the point she knows how I feel about her Arcanas thoth clone. However she doesn't care one bit of what my own personal thoughts and I don't think it would put her off.

So how do you deal with it if you get negitive feedback from publishers and friends
who don't like your cards.

To me it's just like babies, most of them are ulgly when they are first born but to the parents they are soooooo wonderful and other people wouldn't say that your baby has a big head........

Any thoughts on your "negitive" feedback on babies would be good :D


Negative feedback isn't feedback. Or at least, it's not useful feedback. As an engineer, that got drummed into me early. "I don't like it" or "it stinks" doesn't mean anything useful or relevant to the object under discussion. It tells you something about the person giving the comment, but nothing about the thing itself.

A good solid critique, on the other hand, no matter how uncomfortable it is, is positive feedback. That takes time and effort, and a lot of people, including editors, aren't willing to take the trouble to do it.

What about the stuff in the middle, like "I don't know what it is, but the colors you're using here give me an itch"? Usually worth checking out, because the person is giving you a specific response to a specific thing, and stating data rather than a conclusion.

Of course, all this doesn't mean it doesn't sting when somebody sits there trashing your deck, but it does let you get past it, eventually.


LOL - well you just accept that not everyone can love every deck!

We've had a good reception, but of course there have been a few "how can they say that?" moments. Some are just misunderstandings - early in the design process we didn't always make it clear enough that all the images in the cards were collaged from real art and places in Prague and are intended to show a kind of harmonious diversity over time, so we got some questions like "why isn't everything in the same style?". Fair enough question when you think about it - and as I say, it made us see that we weren't making the aim and design of the deck as clear as it needed to be - which was useful to realise.

So generally, we have found nearly all the comments we've had really useful. It's just a matter of listening rather than getting defensive (okay, this isn't always easy). I think here on AT most criticism as well as praise is meant in a positive and supportive way, so it's worth being open to it. Anyway, for most cards shown here the negative is far outweighed by the positive, so it isn't that much of an issue.

Feedback from publishers may feel different because in the end they have to be clear about their decision, and I can imagine that that can be disappointing. We decided right from the start that we wanted to self-publish so this is one process we didn't go through so I can only guess how it feels. However, I suppose with publishers you just have to remember that they have a lot of experience and have to run a business, so again, their remarks on the market are probably well-founded. It doesn't mean there is anything at all wrong with decks that get turned down - it probably just means that maybe the time isn't right, or something similar has already been published or whatever. I don't think you should let it worry you - just learn from any comments and keep going :)

Best of luck with it!


Rejection Question??

To Major Tom, baba-prague, Marie or any others out there
Did you submit your cards to any of the publishers and had your work turned down?

How did you deal with it ?

I should of made my first main question more clear rather than focus it on criticism, as I do think that some criticism can help to make you look at your work from another view.

If so I quess you most saw it as a negative response which you have now turned around.

but as Astra said
"I don't like it" or "it stinks" doesn't mean anything useful or relevant to the object under discussion. It tells you something about the person giving the comment, but nothing about the thing itself.

I never take things to heart. I was once told that what I was doing was cr@p!!!!!! I just had to look at the person and laugh :D This peron was such a deadbeat who was trapped in a deadend job and couldn't see a way out.


Re: Rejection Question??

Destiny said:
To Major Tom, baba-prague, Marie or any others out there
Did you submit your cards to any of the publishers and had your work turned down?

How did you deal with it ?

I guess I can talk about it since it is already public record, due to my big mouth!

I was rejected by Llewellyn and how I dealt with it was-after I stoped clawing at my throat, reinstalled my eyeballs back into their orbits, and climbed down off of the bridge railing...

Hee hee just joking!!!!

Actually I was a little sad because I thought they would do a nice job making the cards and promoting them but got over it quickly. I have to say it was the nicest rejection ever.

I don't take it personally, or as an insult, because they know their target market far better than I do and I am sure they have considerations beyond it just being a nice and/or good deck.

In the end its all about trying to put the puzzle peices of the right deck together with the right publisher.

I really do have faith that these things will work out for the best of all.




No we actually made a decision at the outset that we wouldn't submit the deck to any publisher. I've talked about this on other threads, but it was really because:

1. we are neurotic about print quality and wanted to have control over that (which isn't to say a "big" publisher wouldn't possibly have done the print well, just that we have seen some examples that aren't great.

2. At least a reasonable proportion of sales will be here in Prague, and we didn't think a big publisher would necessarily distribute here (e.g. Llewellyn don't)

So, for better or worse we decided to have the deck as the first of our own "small press" publications (more will follow :) )

Even though we didn't go through the experience of submitting, I agree with Marie. There is no point being upset or angry with a rejection because in the end the publishers know their market and you sort of have to accept that. I also agree that it is tough, though, to see them accept some things that seem like rubbish and reject some that seem much better - but then it just goes to show that not everyone applies the same judgement. As we know from the threads here, opinion and preference varies widely.


Here are my guesses why a publisher might turn down a good deck:

1. Budget
2. No spaces in printing schedule, already booked up for several years.
3. Similar to, and competes with another deck they are publishing.
4. Wouldn't appeal to their target audience ,for example teenagers.
5. Doesn't appeal to 2 or more markets, which they might need to make a prophit i.e. the tarot community and the pagan community.
6. Doesn't fit into a business plan they are adhering to.
For example 2 teen witch decks, 2 esoteric decks and 2 art decks, and all of those slots have already been filled.
7. Sometimes wonderful things just don't sell well, not having a wide enough audience, for example decks with deep esoteric, historical, or symbolic meaning, maybe not that many people are interested. They know this through experience, and maybe your deck is similar to one they lost a lot of money on in the past.
If anyone has ever worked retail, sometimes fabulous stuff gets all but ignored while total crap, even expensive crap, flies off the shelves. Who knows why these things happen?

Some reasons they might publish decks we think are crappy:

1. They have worked with that designer/artist before and made good sales.
2. The designer/artist is well known and already has an established market for their work.
3. The crappy deck appeals accross several markets.
4. The contract was signed for the deck in lean times when a better deck was not available <g>
5. The contract was signed before the crappy deck was finished, and did not appear as crappy as the completed product does.
6. Bad taste on the part of one or more decision makers in the company.
7. Demonstrated bad taste by the purchasers of tarot decks.
8. Maybe the company had a good idea for a 'gimmick' they thought would sell well, paid someone dearly to paint it up and now, since they have already sunk in so much effort and money, they will publish it no matter what.

Anyway, a lot of this stuff has nothing to do with you or how wonderful your deck is. It's business. If they don't make money they wont be publishing any decks, good or bad.

You need to be in the right place at the right time with the right product needed by the right publisher (which might be you).

To top it off, I wonder how many submissions they get?



"5. The contract was signed before the crappy deck was finished, and did not appear as crappy as the completed product does."

Hey, I love that one!

Could be that they also don't 'take theme decks/art decks'.


Marie, you've summarised it really well.

To throw in some personal experience, interestingly I had lunch with a publisher here yesterday (not a deck publisher - literature) and he was telling me that certain distributors - who he named - currently have a reputation of taking up NO new publishers, simply because quotas are filled. Although this may not be strictly relevant to the whole issue of getting a deck published, it does again show how much all of this - getting into publishers, distributors, shops or whatever - is about business, and sometimes luck. I think you need to remember that when you submit anything and not take it personally if it gets rejected.

By the way, another story may also be of interest. We asked one of the popular English language bookshops here to stock the Tarot of Prague and they said "no". We were very surprised as generally people are stocking it. Then later, we told this same shop that we were distributing through a local distributor and they said "great, we'll order some". We had thought they didn't like the deck (or had prejudices against tarot), but in fact the issue was they are under new ownership and now have a policy not to deal direct with publishers, only with distributors (less paperwork, so less cost). So again, it shows that the business decisions come first and foremost - as they must sadly. People may say yes or no based on all sorts of considerations, which may far outweigh the actual quality of your work.

It's hard, but it's also the way it is. I think with persistance you can win through - or why not consider self-publishing? Like I say, we chose it from the outset and so far haven't regretted it a bit, though it may mean we aren't in Barnes and Nobles for a year or two yet!


I really think Marie made some excellent points about publishers having to consider the entire market when red-lighting new tarot decks. Most of the folks on this site are ready to fork over cashola for every deck we see but well, we're addicts. Working in a New Age bookstore where we havve dozens of different decks I am often frustrated by the way that so many people are resistant to a lot of the new decks. I believe most people out there don't buy more than one or two decks and it's really hard to get them to buy a deck based on super-heroes, lusty renaissance Italians, or Etruscan wall paintings.

I was in a creative writing class recently where the teacher had published several novels and was having one hell of a time getting the students to make changes to their "masterpieces". If the deck is just for you and some friends to use then you should get to use whatever you want. But if you want to one day sell the deck and people say "I'm not sure about the expression on the Queen of swords", maybe you should change her expression. Of course if you listen to everybody the deck might start to lose its cohesiveness.