I’ve posted quite a bit about using US-based The GameCrafter (TGC) to self-publish your boutique oracle deck. That is because I have used TGC to distribute a few decks, bought more than half a dozen others, and I really like the site. There are other card deck POD (Print On Demand) sites; I’ve not used any of them.
After 2 decades of opening and building Shops at too many Fine Art, apparel and general merchandise POD sites I prefer to be more focused. I have one specific site (Fine Art America) for frameable wall art, a Threadless shoppe for apparel and general merchandise, and TGC for card decks.
I haven’t blogged about publishing a deck through crowd-sourcing sites such as Kickstarter and Indie-Go-Go as I’ve not used them to publish. I have, of course, purchased through them.
Those sites do have plenty of information, tips & tricks, and success stories. Spread across a variety of posts and pages, and included within information on music, books, and other project types.
Going through all that takes time; and time (they say) is money. So a better way to use your time and money is to find resources aimed at publishing your deck through crowd-sourcing.
The #1 Investment To Make
A great single resource (with a ton of great deck-specific stuff) is Benebell Wen’s online course How to Self-Publish Your Tarot or Oracle Deck. For about the cost of a well-produced indie deck (US$40 as of today) you get 240 full-sized pages filled with her “Lessons Learned From Launching An Indie Tarot Deck“.
From purely practical advice on file production, finding your printer, and managing shipping (and import paperwork if required) to branding and marketing… but starting with aesthetic concerns on deck theme and purpose. Truly an in-depth course.
That’s not all- There’s More!!
A fully-customizable Deck Creator’s Journal to help you stay organized with checklists and to-do lists so you stay on top of your project.
Wait, wait- There’s More!!
Your purchase also includes actual import-export logs of deck printers across the globe.
Benebell And Print On Demand
While much of Benebell’s marketing & design information is applicable to using a POD partner, her view is that if you believe you can sell at least 300 copies of your deck, and you have the time and ability to run a Crowd-funding campaign, you should.
I don’t disagree- although just how much energy living that campaign on top of everything else will take isn’t always clear to new designers.
If you do decide to ‘go for it’ (either Crowd-funded or POD) do yourself an incredible act of self-care and invest in Benebell’s course.
Other Free and Nearly Free Resources
Benebell’s site has plenty of free info as blog posts, and about a dozen other online courses covering a variety of ‘mystical arts’ topics. Anyone who uses Oracle Cards professionally; as a deck creator, card reader, deck reviewer, etc. is also strongly advised to order her US$17 Copyright Law And Tarot online course as well.
The Self-Publishing course does discuss copyright from the designer viewpoint. This course is exhaustive – it’s not legal advice but gives you the information and language to understand when you should seek legal advice.
An Update: Printing Your Course Guides
All the independent study courses at Benebellwen.com are delivered electronically. I prefer to print out the study guides; screen time works best for searching specific terms, or reviewing a short section.
In order to spare my 20+ year old inkjet printer (the HP Deskjet 882C shown here) I had the combined 300 pages printed professionally. That added about US$25 to the US$57 course fees- probably not much more than the cost of ink, paper and electricity- or the risk of pushing that printer too far. I consider the $82 a small investment, although there have been times when that would’ve been beyond my resources.
None of the links to Benebell’s courses are affiliate links. Nor are the links to TGC, FAA and Threadless; although I do earn the Designer’s Royalty if you make a purchase of my designs.
As a deck collector I also love supporting an original deck that doesn’t appeal to the masses. Never been one to want to fit in, so if you or your boutique deck needs some warm fuzzies, let me know. I’ve supported a few projects (some behind the scenes) in exchange for minimal payment and/or a copy of the deck.