Does every deck have to come with a book?

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Joan Marie

Does every deck have to come with a book?

Post by Joan Marie » 22 Jul 2017, 15:55

How do you feel about “Guidebooks”?

Producing a Tarot deck is one thing. But creating a whole guidebook to go along with it is quite another.
The thing is I think over the years there has been an expectation of some sort of “starter material” at least to be included with any tarot deck.

A book or even a booklet is a pretty tall order as it has to be written and printed (which ain’t cheap).
Alternatively, we often see small fold-out pamphlets of all kinds which are much more practical to produce.

The thing is, there are so many really good Tarot books out there, is it worthwhile to create something kind of basic that doesn’t really add so much to the “canon” just to satisfy a perceived expectation of accompanying material with your deck?

And for collectors, how many books do you really need with very similar information about what the Death Card means, etc? Is there some other kind of material besides a book that you’ve seen and liked, that was a nice little “bonus” with your deck?

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Michael Sternbach
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Re: Does every deck have to come with a book?

Post by Michael Sternbach » 22 Jul 2017, 16:48

Yes, there are loads of good books on Tarot, of course, but as every deck has its pecularities, personally, I appreciate getting at least a booklet that enlightens me on some of them. And I look back at nearly 30 years experience with a number of different decks...

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2dogs
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Re: Does every deck have to come with a book?

Post by 2dogs » 23 Jul 2017, 00:36

Some information on the theme of the deck, where it diverges from RWS, identity of characters, locations etc. or at least giving a URL for a web page might be appreciated.
If the Lord Almighty had consulted me before embarking on creation thus, I should have recommended something simpler. Alfonso X (the Wise)

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Joan Marie

Re: Does every deck have to come with a book?

Post by Joan Marie » 23 Jul 2017, 03:44

2dogs wrote:
23 Jul 2017, 00:36
Some information on the theme of the deck, where it diverges from RWS, identity of characters, locations etc. or at least giving a URL for a web page might be appreciated.
My deck is themed on 1920's Berlin and all the elements of the artwork are derived from actual photos, film stills and other artwork of the period. I made a website where you can, among other features, click on each card and get some details about what's in it, who the people are, where they are, etc.

I also made a little fold out pamphlet I send with the decks with a brief description of the meaning of each card as I see it. It's something close to standard meanings but with my own personal twist on it. This info is also on the website.

I also include a numbered certificate with my signature and recently I had some postcards and some, I think, pretty interesting looking, business cards made and I include some of those.

BTW- anybody out there who bought my deck before I included the postcards, let me know and I will send you some. :trans5:

In addition to what I mention above, there is also a page of links and some blog entries of mine about the period, etc. So my idea was to include some of the "bonus material" on the webpage as opposed to a book. Besides saving trees and postage, it allows me to constantly add more and update and expand.

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Nemia
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Re: Does every deck have to come with a book?

Post by Nemia » 23 Jul 2017, 04:40

I think the material you gave for your deck is perfect, and I don't need it in book form. I prefer e-books anyway, and a website is a good solution, too. The Idiosyncra comes with a short but concise pdf which is great, too. Tbe Blake tarot's slightly longer pdf is also very useful.

If a deck is part of a larger theoretical or historical effort, then a book is more than a welcome addition. Robert Place's books are excellent and help understand not only his decks, and I also like Brian Williams' book. I think without these books, the Saints, Alchemical or Renaissance tarots would be more difficult to understand.

If you try to read with the Thoth without reading Crowley's book about it, and instead use your own associations and ideas, you end up with books like Arrien or Ziegler - really no help at all, sometimes even totally wrong and against the intention of the author. I found to my relief, that after many years of working with the Thoth and reading other, Crowley-based books (Snuffin and DuQuette mainly), Crowley himself was no longer unsurmountable when I read him. It took time but I wouldn't dispense with that book.

Other books are nice to have but not necessary. I liked the Fey tarot book because it sketched the cooperation between an author and an illustrator who didn't know much about tarot when they started out but had good intuition. You can work with the deck perfectly fine without the book.

When I look at the meager lwb of the Epic and Universal Fantasy tarot, I'm sorry that these decks don't come with a nice book like the Shadowscapes, to make the narratives more transparent. I can work with both decks fine but sometimes I have questions which nobody can answer. i feel there are stories enacted which I can guess at - but maybe it's good that I'm not being spoon-fed? I can invent my own stories.

I'd say, no, not every deck has to come with a book. Not every deck re-invents tarot from the foundations, and many decks are easy to read from the box. I always try to get an impression of a new deck without looking at the book.

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Jo Ann
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Re: Does every deck have to come with a book?

Post by Jo Ann » 25 Jul 2017, 12:44

I have the steel wizard that doesn't cuz its says if you bought this deck then you are ready to read cards without a book.

Eventually I would like to do a deck without a book
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Re: Does every deck have to come with a book?

Post by Jo Ann » 25 Jul 2017, 12:46

I like to find out why the artist depicts the scenes as he/she did and where the person who wrote the book is coming from. Like the book Patrick did with DV
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Re: Does every deck have to come with a book?

Post by tarotbear » 16 Sep 2017, 15:24

No.

But I'll tell you this story: way back when, I was in contact with someone that did PC generated art - most of which would have been perfect for a Tarot deck... and he quoted me an extraordinarily cheap price to do the images. I thought: 'What good is having card images without them being published as a deck?' I contacted several publishers to get information. One listened to my spiel, and then asked 'Does it have a book?' When I asked why, their reply was that if you have a deck and a book (at the same publisher), that they can sell the two items separately, but also could put them together as a 'boxed set'. I immediately sat down to start writing what would become my first book.

End of story: that deck art never materialized, but I had a written a book - and got it published!

This aside - if you are creating basically another RWS clone, you probably don't have to think about writing a companion book. But if you are designing a themed deck, or your 6 of Cups card has a disembodied eyeball and a broken wagon wheel on it - you might consider that you will need a LWB - at least - to explain what the eye and wheel have to do with the interpretation of your card. I don't go for the concept - 'if you bought this deck you are ready to read and not need to have a book to go with it.'
There are three ways of looking at things; theirs, yours, and my Tarot cards.

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