I started reading tarot sometime around 1974, when Santa left a Rider-Waite deck in my stocking. I learned the 10-card Celtic Cross spread first, and then put it aside, poking at it every now and again, but not really seriously. After I got married in 1990, I started working with my tarot cards again, and saw some lovely decks in a local book store. I picked up one illustrated by Mary Hanson-Roberts, and used that almost exclusively for several years, before I got the Robin Wood tarot, which I felt a stronger connection to. Now, I work with the Universal Waite deck, the Housewives Tarot, the Tarot of Pagan Cats, and the Robin Wood tarot.
No, really, it did. As part of Wulfenbahr Arts, I attended CaliFur 2015. This year's theme was "Manga & Anime" and it was cute and fun, but when CaliFur announced the theme for 2016, "High Fantasy & Renaissance Faire," one of my first thoughts was, "OMG, I need new garb! OMG, I could totally do a peasant fortune teller! OMG, I need to brush up on palmistry and do a whole booth as a furry fortune teller!" My husband, the Wulf of Wulfenbahr Arts (I'm the Bahr), suggested one of his Reaper miniatures, "Madame Gorgonzola" the fortune teller. So, I'm building my whole furry fortune-telling schtick around an anthropomorphic mouse. I will be cosplaying "Madame Provalone, Teller of Fortunes!" This got me thinking about how much fun I've had in the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire.
For this, I need a deck. For this, I need a mouse deck. For this, I need Tarot Of The Mice! For this, I need to design it!
80 cards, actually... 52 Minor Arcana cards (4 suits, 13 cards apiece), 22 Major Arcana cards, and the 2 end cards (credits and blurb), as well as the design for the back. I'll need to make at least 4 cards per week, in order to have them done in time for the printers to print out the decks and package them. Samples will be posted as they get complete (but might not be the final versions used in the deck itself). At this early stage of the game, I'm focusing on getting the linework down - I'll worry about color once all the illustrations are complete. I'll be doing the linework by hand, then scanning it into InkScape to turn into vector graphics.
And the "LWB" (Little White Booklet)! That has to get written, too! And typeset!
As I type this, I have 28 weeks to January 1, 2016. I want to have the art finished and start the production process on Monday, January 4, 2016, so that we will have 21 weeks to play the Print Proof game, get notification back from the Office of Copyright (I will be honest, I know zip about Copyright Law, and part of the funds are for having a copyright lawyer do their magic on my behalf), and hopefully have enough time to iron out any wrinkles that are sure to arise.
Printing (which includes collating and packaging), copyrighting, bar-coding, storage, and distribution. This is the number I came up with after reading several other peoples' discussions about publishing their own decks. I'm still waiting on responses from several print houses regarding rates. Fees from Kickstarter, Amazon Payments, local taxes, supplies to ship all this out, and yes, at least one cup of coffee.
My objective is to have these done, printed, packaged, and ready to distribute at CaliFur 2016, at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel in Pomona, California. Wulfenbahr Arts is planning on having a booth in the Dealer's Den, but if this project gets stupidly successful, I'll see about reserving a panel so as not to clog the Dealers' Den. Details will be hammered out before Christmas 2015, because, by then, the actual date of the convention will be scheduled. I'm planning for June 1, 2016, since CaliFur 2015 was the last weekend of May/First day of June.
Ideally, the PDF will release the week before the deck releases. Email distribution will be many rounds of BCCs staggered out, most likely. Physical decks will be distributed starting at CaliFur 2016, and those that don't get picked up at the convention will be mailed out during the week following, via Priority Flat Rate (Small Box). The signed cards will be sent at the same time, First Class Mail.
The custom readings take about 20 minutes each. 3 shuffles to clear the deck of the previous reading, 3 shuffles concentrating on the Seeker, laying out the spread, photographing the spread, editing the photo, and typing out the reading. If you want to see a sample of my 5-Card Reading, check out this entry on my Tumblr. If you want a sample of my reading for yourself, that's where you can request a 3-card reading (and yes, tips are totally appreciated).
Risks and challenges
After doing some math, the biggest challenge will be fulfilling the tarot reading rewards. I do those personally, and they take about 20 minutes each. I can't start doing the readings until the deck is complete and back from the printer. The readings will be sent out as they're done, after the deck itself releases. I might go ahead and start getting readings prepped once I have the Mouse Deck in-hand, just to get a head-start, but I figure I'll be reading for at least two months straight, just to satisfy the rewards, as well as any regular readings requested through my Fiverr, Etsy, and Square Marketplace storefronts (I'll be putting the PWYWTarot tumblr on request haitus while I satisfy the Kickstarter rewards, but still be doing a general reading a day, likely with the new deck, to help promote it).
Other possible risks involve delays in printing, or getting the copyright info once I send that to get registered, or delivery-to-me issues. I'm confident that the US Post Office can supply me with the quantity of Flat Rate Small Boxes I'll need, once I get the final tally, and we can dedicate one of our laser printers to printing address stickers with postage.
- (30 days)