Review by

Melanie Harris

Tarot Reflections by Melanie Harris,
Tarot Reflections assistant editor

ATA interview_from the site

Steele Wizard Tarot, A masterfully illustrated 88-card tarot that provides a clear concise reading for the beginning or the master reader.
How she got involved with self-publishing:
I approached every tarot publisher on the planet and either they wanted to reduce the size of the cards, which a bit would be ok, but the suggested sizes would have made the details on the images nearly impossible to see. Or they wanted me to cut the number of cards to the standard 78, or both. There was one who actually wanted to print the deck as is, but they wanted to put it on a 3-year queue with option to print then, instead of committing to a sooner date. Besides, I'm the kinda gal who thinks if you really believe in yourself and what you've done, you should 'Put your money where your mouth is.'
Pam’s printing process: 
I searched the internet looking for publishers, then I finally contacted a custom playing card manufacturer out of Orlando, Florida. Wonderful folks!  They call themselves 'Cards-r-Us', it's a family business and I dealt with Charlie (a.k.a. Charles) via email,Customized Playing Cards INC
It was a total learning process, the cards had to be scanned, tweaked, the borders added, the text added, and converted to CMYK for print. There were times I would literally sit on my front porch and cry. It was so big. You first need to copyright your material through the U.S. copyright office. Then apply and obtain a barcode. Then notify the library of congress...and, and, and. But this way the creator retains total artistic control.  From start to finish. Expensive? Yes. I ended up selling my house and moving in with the love of my life to have the funds to do this. The total, including everything, was about $14,000. And I did all the Photoshop work myself. I also wrote the book and put it in the appropriate format, designed the box cover, and did all the layout work for the entire project.  
Where she sells it:
Once I had an arrival date for the 2000 copies I ordered (that was the minimum I could order through a manufacturer), I made a trip to Orlando and attended the INATS East show. There I introduced myself to the New Leaf Distributing people (they are lovely wonderful people) and was offered a distributing contract through them. I have advertised in their quarterly magazine, and their e-flyer program, and attended two INATS shows (east and west) with my tarot on display with New Leaf and did free sample readings for a few hours each day. I have a website, which people can order one or two decks from, but before I released the deck I had a small geocities site, and I contacted every available online tarot group I could find. I emailed artwork and information and managed to find several simply amazing tarot sites that did pre-release reviews. I contacted local stores and when I travel anywhere I search ahead and find as many outlets as possible. I have sent sample copies to anyone who would take them, and have a complete travel agenda in place for June....On the road again!
Best advice for the hopeful self-publisher: 

Don't give up. Believe in yourself and your work. When it's ready, the opportunity will present itself. I spent seven years, with many false starts, and broken promises, before I gave my head a shake and put my house up for sale. Not that I recommend becoming homeless, but it was an opportunity to move forward with something I sincerely believed in with all my heart...so I took that first step off the edge, trusting to either have the path materialize beneath my feet or grow wings.

 

 

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