Do you love, love, LOVE working with oracle cards? And you’ve been thinking about creating your own deck for a while now? And … you’ve been wondering how to go about getting your oracle card deck published once it’s ready? If so, this article is for you!
I remember when I created my first oracle card deck back in 2012/2013, I spent quite a bit of time researching all my options before finding the perfect solution for myself at the time. While it’s relatively easy to self-publish a book or audio product these days (thanks to companies like Amazon, IngramSpark, or CD Baby), publishing an oracle card deck is a bit more complex.
Depending on the specific requirements of your project, your resources, budget, and so on, there can be quite a few things to consider. And having to put all of the pieces together on your own can feel rather overwhelming.
However, with the right tools, resources, and strategy, (self-)publishing your own oracle card deck is absolutely doable—and it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Here are 3 basic ways to create and publish your own deck of oracle or tarot cards:
(Self-)Publishing Your Own Oracle Card Deck: 3 Best Ways
1. Self-Publishing Your Oracle Deck Without an ISBN Number (Print on Demand)
If you want to keep things simple for a start, an easy way to self-publish your deck is to get it printed on demand and promote it directly to your community without publishing it as an official book product.
This works great if you’d like to sell your deck on your own website or on an external platform like Etsy. Some of the print-on-demand companies such as MPC or The Game Crafter also offer their own storefronts, which means that your audience can purchase your cards directly from your printing company, and you won’t have to worry about doing your own packaging and shipping.
On the downside, this is also the least profitable option. When getting your deck printed in small batches, your printing costs per deck can be comparatively high, and your profit per sale will be lower than with some of the other options.
2. Self-Publishing Your Deck with an ISBN Number (Print Runs Starting at 500 Decks)
The second option is to get your oracle card deck printed in larger quantities (usually starting at about 500 decks) and self-publish it with an ISBN number.
This way, you’ll be able to distribute your deck to many storefronts all over the world.
Ideally, you’ll want to work with a distributor that can warehouse and distribute your product for you. Or, if you prefer a more simple option, you can begin by selling your deck on Amazon only and using Amazon FBA for warehousing and order fulfillment.
If you do want your deck to be available for purchase in bookstores and through online storefronts all over the world, you’ll need to purchase an ISBN number from your national (or an international) ISBN agency. In most countries, you’ll have to pay a small fee to obtain your ISBN number, in some countries (such as Canada), this service is free.
(Note: In order to get an ISBN number for your oracle or tarot deck, you may be required to publish it with a booklet. Officially, ISBN numbers aren’t available for playing cards. However, there are exceptions. If in doubt, contact your ISBN agency for more information.)
3. Finding a Traditional Publishing Company for Your Oracle Card Deck
Lastly, you may want to consider submitting your deck to a publishing house that can produce, distribute, and sell your oracle cards for you.
The advantage of taking this route is that you won’t have to worry about printing, publishing, and selling your deck yourself. Many companies will also take care of the graphic design for you, and you won’t have to source your own artwork unless you want to. As a bonus, you’ll be able to utilize your publisher’s existing network of distributors and booksellers, which will make it easier for you to reach a much larger audience with your work.
On the downside, finding a publisher can be long process that can take some patience, and there’s no guarantee of success. Also, you won’t have as much control over the production of your deck. And yes—you will still be expected to do your own promotional work even though your publisher will do part of your marketing for you.
To sum things up …
There are quite a few different ways to go about producing, printing, and publishing your own oracle card deck. There’s no one-size-fits-all model that will work for everyone! Depending on your unique goals, resources, and preferences, self-publishing can be the perfect route for you—or you may be better off working with a traditional publisher who can handle the entire process for you.
If you prefer to self-publish your oracle deck (or if you’d like to submit a finished physical product to a traditional publisher), here’s what I typically recommend:
- Begin by outlining your vision for your project. What will the theme of your deck be? What’s the overall feel and energy of your cards? What do you want your visuals to look like? Will you create your own artwork, or would you rather collaborate with an artist (or use royalty free images)? How many cards will your deck include? What’s your preferred card size? Will you need a box and booklet for your deck? And so on …
- Work with a print-on-demand company to produce a first prototype of your oracle deck. Two of my favourite suppliers include makeplayingcards.com and The Game Crafter. (Either one of these can work for you depending on your requirements. MPC is more flexible in terms of card stock and finishing options, TGC is more cost-effective in some cases.)
- Once you’re happy with your finished product, begin sharing it with your audience. You may want to print your deck on demand for a start, or run a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds for your first larger print run. If you’d rather find a traditional publisher for your deck, you can send your prototype to publishing houses along with your proposal.
- Go bigger. Invest in the systems and services you’ll need to expand your reach and market your product to a larger audience. This could include finding a suitable warehousing and distribution solution for your deck, setting up Amazon FBA, publishing your deck with an ISBN number, growing your mailing list and social media following so you can reach a larger audience with your work, and so on. The sky is the limit!