the fact that Touchstone is the Fool in Shakespeare's play As
You Like It... tarot symbolism, the Fool... and
of the right era even!
the images with which I work are public domain (as the
artists have been dead for hundreds of years), the collages
are my own creation, new works in their own right, and thus
my copyright. They are formally registered as such with the
to give additional protections against copyright theft.
also something else very unusual about this deck. It's creation
was funded by a private benefactor, a Patron of the Arts
who wishes to remain anonymous. This person's generosity
meant that the deck can be created just as I intended, without
commercial pressure to make it yet another RWS clone.
you want to know more, or perhaps leave a message to the
Secret Benefactor, check out the early thread at Aeclectic
can hear a podcast interview where Kat discusses Touchstone
Tarot at TarotConnection.net -
or an earlier interview regarding the ealy development of
the deck can be bought on CD from TarotConnection.net.
get a lot of emails and messages about how to get published,
so here is my answer:
the risk of coming across as negative, I'm a "published
author" and while I wouldn't discourage you from giving
it a go if you'll enjoy the journey, my advice is to be realistic.
Warning... long rant coming, but you *did* ask...
It's hard to be positive about a new author's chances of getting
published at the best of times - the statistics of refusals
are staggering - but with the current GFC, that's even worse.
I've read that 0.03% of completed manuscripts submitted to
publishers in the US were published before the GFC, and even
the majority of books commercially published sold less than
100 copies. That's not to say don't give it a go, but to consider
other ways to get your content to consumers.
option worth considering, especially for niche non-fiction,
It no longer has the "vanity" stigma
attached. Some books have sold more copies on Lulu.com than
best selling technical books through major publishers. Apparently
there's a Lulu book that has sold over 50,000 copies. Of course
there are also a million Lulu books that haven't sold a dozen
copies, but at least they existed, and seeing your work in
print is a very exciting thing. If you want to do it, you CAN!
No up-front cost, completely inclusive. There are quite a few
of these now - including blurb.com and amazon.com
I have had two tarot
decks/books published. The first is one of the most popular
on the market, but still the royalties
I get are very small. My second deck was done through a different
publisher who gave me a much better deal, but then went bust
thanks to the GFC. The hardest issue facing publishers at the
moment is a business practice leftover from the last recession,
when publishers started to agree to take back unsold books
from retailers at any time. This was to stop the industry collapsing
at the coal face, so to speak. Unfortunately, now it's meant
collapse deeper in the mine. Apparently the returns rate since
the GFC has exceeded new sales across the board, as retailers
quit stock back to the publishers to stay afloat themselves.
I don't know how any publisher is surviving in these conditions.
My second publisher had won "independent publisher of
the year" at BEA, but still they went under. The rate
of returns killed them.
There are many good POD (Print on Demand) presses now, including
Amazon itself, and if you have the skills to DIY or a small
amount of money to invest in getting a good book designer and
editor, you can now create your own book that's every bit as
good as one made by a traditional publisher. Chances are a
publisher would be making your book POD anyway, most of the
Industry is going that way.
The upsides of doing it yourself are - you can make a lot
more per book sale; POD is better for the environment (less
transport and storage, and no unsold copies to be destroyed);
you have complete control of the book itself and it's marketing;
you can still sell it on Amazon, as well as your own website,
at Conferences, to universities etc. Also, it WILL happen,
which is a pretty big upside :)
The perceived downsides, although some of these don't hold
true any more: Status among peers (it's like a band being desperate
to be 'on a label' even though it often means they're shafted);
marketing (although publishers expect you to do a lot of this
yourself now); professional editing, layout etc.
If I was doing another book, as opposed to a tarot deck/book
kit which unfortunately isn't possible POD, self publishing
would be my first choice now, despite the fact that I'm a twice-published
'best seller' within my narrow field.
It's a bit of a
bug-bear of mine, but I think many of the resources being
marketed to would-be authors (eg creative writing
courses, self-help books on getting published, dodgy Literary
Agents with hundreds of authors on their books and very few
deals made) are a bit of a con. Like the weight-loss industry,
it's become a huge self-serving machine, where there is no
incentive for real solutions because it's the customer's unfulfilled
wishes that make them a profit. They all say "go for it" and
coach you on the best way to get an Agent, the best way to
write a pitch, etc, and stifle any talk about the reality that
the Industry is really suffering. It's like an author-eating
machine. They are profiting off peoples desires to get published,
making a living from selling a dream. I think it's only one
step up from selling real estate on the Moon, and just as exploitative.
Another bug-bear of mine is the emphasis (not yours, just
generally) on 'getting published', as opposed to being an author
for a living. It's like being fixated on the wedding, without
thinking that it's the lifelong marriage afterwards that's
the really important thing. If you just want to be published
as a personal achievement in it's own right, a publisher will
smell that a mile off. They need career authors, people who
will keep supplying them with new books, so that the publisher
gets better return on their very substantial investment in
marketing a new author. For this reason, a reasonably successful
self-published book or even a popular online resource is a
good firm step on the path of proving to a publisher that you
mean business, you're not one of the millions (literally) of
people who have written one book and want to have it published.
created my first tarot deck and put it online. I made it
for my own enjoyment, and
then I figured I may as well share it. It got commercially
pirated in Germany, which made me sad but I couldn't afford
to sue them since I'm in Australia. Then a fan in the US started
a campaign to get the deck published 'for real'. I received
hundreds of emails from fans, which I appreciated but politely
told them I didn't want to face repeated rejections from publishers
as I'd done when I was younger. The funny thing is, they also
all emailed the two major tarot publishers, who ended up approaching
me and asking for me to put in a proposal. The pirated version
proved there was demand, and the fan campaign (which I had
nothing to do with) showed them I had a following.
think that path, ie being popular on the internet and then
being approached by a publisher, is probably relatively common
now. eg, they know people will buy a book based on http://Regretsy.com
because it has such an active fanbase.
Perhaps that's another path to consider? Try writing for the
web and building up a fan base to prove you're saleable.
to have sounded like a negative-nancy, I know it's good to
be positive, but you *did* ask... :)
Best of luck with your project, and my strongest advice is
- write for yourself, because you love it. Share it, and see
where it goes.