Publishing Tips


If you did want to get a deck considered for publication you generally have to have either completed the whole deck or have examples of trumps, court and minor cards. If you have done this you can submit them for consideration [agm, llewellyn, us games systems all have submission guides on web]

When submiting ask honestly what they will know fairly quickly if they are keen.


Submitting artwork

AmounrA said:
If you did want to get a deck considered for publication you generally have to have either completed the whole deck or have examples of trumps, court and minor cards. If you have done this you can submit them for consideration [agm, llewellyn, us games systems all have submission guides on web]

I contacted the publishers some time ago to find out more info but they only want to see a few cards as this saves you time if they don't like it or they may want you to make some changes.

I think I will go to a publishers when I've done some more work on my cards but I think it's best if it's your first time to go to a publishers than to self publish, it's another bigh thing when your on your own.
Also the publishers will take their cut but I am sure it's worth it as the publishers that you have mentioned are well known.



Remember that there are smaller publishers out there too, several of them in the US & more in Germany.

Check out a book called 'Artists Market 2002' and see what they list--it's a resource for artists & has a ton of info. Any bookstore should have it or can order it--or go down to any major library & look in their reference section (that's where they keep this one).

Self publishing has it's ups & downs, and is expensive. What you can do is a search online for artists who did self publish & see if they're willing to exchange info with you via e-mail. That's information right from the horse's mouth. They'll be up on all the pitfalls too.


Hush said:
well, im making a buffy deck...i think a tarot deck would fit in well with the kind of..theme of products (?)

I've been playing around with the idea of a Buffy deck myself! I'd love to see what you've come up with -- or even just talk over ideas.

So far I've only been trying to decide on associations, and I think I'll have to wait for the release of at least another season's worth of episodes on CD for source material.


I'm wondering, basing a deck on a tv show--what happens if it goes off the air? Would interest wane & the effort become moot? Very few shows go on to be like a Star Trek (that doesn't seem to ever die) or turn into solid cult type shows screened at midnight at movie theaters around the country.

(This is if you wanted to do a money making thing, of course, backed by the show's creator Josh W.)


Buffy has a cult following, even if it went off the air theyd still have quite a few fans

Me, I live in the town with digital cable and STILL no WB or UPN channels, stupid cable company



10 steps to getting published

Hi all,

My deck is going to be published by US Games, so I guess that puts me in some sort of position to offer relevant advice about getting published.

1. Do your deck for yourself. There are SO many decks on the market, that if you make the deck with the main intention of getting it published, you'll probably end up getting very despondant.

2. Stick to the formula. 78 cards, standard suits, common symbolism etc. Any deviation from that will require justification in commercial terms.

3. Ask yourself WHY you're doing it and don't lose sight of that. eg, My goal was a genuinely Renaissance deck with modern readability.

4. Enjoy the process, as that may well be all you get out of it. Even if it gets published, the joy of creating the deck may more important - it was to me.

5. Get it out there. I happen to be a web developer, so it was relatively easy for me to put my deck online, but even posting indivdual cards in forums etc will give you valuable feedback and exposure. If you can build a deck, you should be able to build a simple webpage.

6. Be willing to take criticism. If you can't, you'll never make it in any public endeavour. There are a lot of people out there who prefer to criticise rather than do a better job themself. Take advice, consider it, then reject or accept it. Don't take it personally.

7. Don't get paranoid about people stealing your work. It happened to me in the most extreme possible way - a German publisher actually printed & sold my original online deck, and I couldn't afford to sue them. Their piracy proved that the deck had commercial potential though, so if anything it *helped* me to get a publishing deal. Their deck was from screen-res cards stolen off my site, and looked ****e compared with what the real-thing will look like when USGS publish it. People sell the cruddy german deck as "pirate Golden Tarot" on eBay and they fetch up to US$100 - I'm quite flattered! Now that I have a real deal, I'm sure it won't happen again as USGS would sue anyone who tried. As they say with marketing, any publicity is good publicity. And every cloud has a silver lining (bleagh!).

8. Build your fan base until you can demonstrate commercial potential BEFORE approaching a publisher. Publishing a deck, especially in this very competitive field, involves a big investment by the publishers. And face it, they're in business to make money. They may well LOVE your deck, but they simply can't publish it unless it's commercial as they have their investors to consider. You must demonstrate to the publisher that it will SELL, not that it has exceptional artistic or spiritual merit. If you want to get it published, it HAS to be commercial. Unless you're rich enough to self-publish, in which case lucky you, go for it!

9. Value your fans/supporters. I answer emails whenever I can, even if it's just a standard response. If it weren't for lobbying by fans, I never would have published - I was quite happy to leave it at the online deck. I feel incredibly lucky to have got a deal with a major publisher, and that deal simply wouldn't have happened without the support of my small but very loyal bunch of fans.

10. Be patient. I've just finished the high-res and much-improved version of Golden Tarot and handed it over to US Games, but it won't be in the shops for about a year. Meanwhile, I'm happy with my mock-up version (printed on a good commercial printer and laminated).

Hope that helps....

Sorry I can't give anyone personal advice on publishing etc, as I'm very busy. It's not that I don't care, I just care more about my own projects! *grin*


Don't U.S games take the original artwork as theres?




I think your cards are really good and I know that they will do very well! :)

How long did it take??



It wouldn't make sense for US Games to start stealing art. They use copyright laws & 'buy' the rights to publish, from the author of the art. They don't steal it. They only have the rights to publish. The artist can retain the rights to sell images as rubber stamps, on mugs, on t-shirts, etc. unless he/she gave the publisher ALL rights (which would include releasing it outside the US, that's international rights). Even if they did sell all rights to the publisher, it's only for a specified time, not 'forever'. Rights come back to the artist after that specific time unless the publisher returns to renegotiate the contract.