Tarot cards have been around since the mid-15th Century; initially designed to play games, tarot decks later became used for divination and occult purposes. Today, the tarot is designed to help navigate problems by encouraging the reader to question and think through the use of symbols. It’s common for a tarot reader to become attached to a specific deck, even going as far as to design and sell their own cards.
When selling your tarot cards, it’s important to look at the method of publishing and the various avenues used to sell them. It’s as much about making a great product as it’s about reaching your audience—setting up your own website, utilizing an established marketplace, or even going to local markets.
If you are looking into creating your own deck for publication, this guide will help you on your journey. We will look at the options for publishing and how to create your own brand to begin selling, as well as the advantages of using your own website over a global marketplace. We will also look at the importance of marketing and how you can use social media effectively.
A traditional tarot deck has 78 cards and is approximately 7cm x 12cm (2.7 x 4.7 inches). The designs on the cards can change with each deck, but the suits and their meanings should always stay the same.
When designing your own deck, you have the freedom to express the cards and their meanings as you see them. It is open to interpretation and part of the symbolism involved in reading tarot. For example, the traditional image of gender representation may be something you choose to alter to fit your spirit better.
The only thing that is important is to make your design consistent. The cards should fit together as a unit, while still displaying the traditional cards, like the Hanged Man or the Fool. As the designer, you can take their name and recreate them in your own way. Their design can change, but they need to be present.
Once you have created your deck – spending countless hours ensuring your cards of the highest quality – it is time to look at publishing. Much like publishing a book, this is not something that can typically be done at home. Materials and consistency are key to a solid product, and it is likely that you will look to a printing house to ensure your deck is clean and professional.
Self Publishing – Small Batch
Unlike self-publishing for an author, there are few online services available to help with publishing your tarot deck in the same way. Unless you have the money for it, chances are you are looking to self-publish in a small batch.
There are a few websites that allow you to upload your design and order prints, such as MakingPlayingCards.com. They offer full-color decks with your choice of finishes, and the more decks you order, the cheaper the cost per deck will be.
This is a great option if you are just starting out. You can have your deck professionally published without having to invest thousands of dollars. Of course, it will be more expensive per deck than if you were to print in larger batches. But for a first-time batch, when you may not have an established customer base, it makes sense. The downside of this option is that your deck will not come with an ISBN.
Self Publishing – Large Batch
An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is issued to book products in order for them to be sold in bookstores and online. If this is your goal, you should look into printing in larger quantities (usually starting at 500 decks) with an established printing house, such as Amazon FBA. Though this would require a larger investment, it will open you up to a larger market, including book stores worldwide.
Of course, there are printing houses that will publish in slightly smaller batches. You will just need to purchase the ISBN on your own. Here you can find information about how to buy an ISBN in your country.
The dream option would be to have your tarot deck professionally published. As with traditional book publishing, this requires submitting your proposal and hoping you can find an agent that feels as strongly about your product as you do. Of course, there is no guarantee here, and you could be left waiting for an answer for months.
But don’t be discouraged. A quick google search will show you a number of high profile publishing houses that have published tarot decks. Once you have selected a few potential options, check out their submission guidelines.
Per their website, “Llewellyn is the world’s oldest and largest independent publisher of books for body, mind, and spirit.” They have published works relating to astrology, wellness, spirituality, and tarot. You can find their tarot submission guidelines here.
If you are lucky enough to find a publisher that is interested, they will handle the printing and distribution. Of course, you will need to work with them in terms of marketing, but you will not be out of pocket.
Once you have your deck designed and printed, regardless of how you had them published, it is time to look at how to sell that deck. Now is the time to create a brand and online presence in order to reach customers.
The idea of a global marketplace is to create an online space in which people from all over the world can exchange goods, ideas, and services. From Amazon and eBay to Etsy, these are established market places that take the guesswork away for sellers.
When considering selling tarot cards, Etsy is a great place to start. Their focus is on handmade, vintage, and craft items. They sell everything from jewelry to clothing to home decor, and as of December 2019, they had over 60 million items available in their marketplace.
It is free to start a shop on Etsy, though you will have to pay a fee of $0.20 per item listed, in addition to 5% of the final sale price. But the beauty of using Etsy is the ease of setting up the shop and the fact that they have millions of users already using their site. For a new business, finding customers is key, and Etsy has already established a large consumer base.
You may not think it, but Amazon does have their own version of a marketplace. Much like Etsy, there is a fee to sell, but they also have an established consumer base and trust built around the world. Many of the options available through a traditional amazon search will include products from the marketplace, rather than their own products.
This would especially be a great option if you chose to use Amazon FBA to print your deck. Amazon will print, pack, and distribute your product for you. It is a little more expensive than Etsy, but it is far easier in terms of what is required by you.
Building Your Own Store
Having your own website gives you the freedom to sell whenever and however you choose. You won’t be stuck in a design template of an established site, and can really create your own brand. And it is not as difficult as it once was. Wix, SquareSpace, and WordPress all provide templates and design help to make your store your own.
Whether you use one of the services mentioned above or seek out a professional to build your website, you will find much more freedom in this option. By creating something that is yours, you will stand out and be able to create a brand for your work.
There is something to be said for using your own website and having your own domain name:
- It presents a level of professionalism and gives your customers confidence in your product
- You are not competing for customers in a large marketplace
- The consumer is not drawn into another seller’s page by a discount
- You are not sharing space
Though it may be slow in the beginning, once you become more established, it will be easier to add to your brand. You can create new products to go alongside your tarot deck, for example, crystals, candles, or even a new deck altogether.
Another excellent reason to create your own website is the option to start up a blog. Though it may seem daunting, having a blog with posts containing relevant information can:
- Improve your ranking on google
- Establish yourself as an authority in a specific subject
- Help to create opportunities beyond your own website
When done right, your blog post will help drive traffic to your website by using words and phrases to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Blog posts add content and substance to your website, and by using keywords in the copy, it will help to get your page in front of users who are searching those keywords on google.
Per their website, “Shopify is one platform that lets you sell wherever your customers are—online, in‑person, and everywhere in‑between.” Shopify will help you to create a website and give you the tools you need to start selling. They take away the guesswork and make it easy to scale your business up, should you need to.
The biggest drawback of using a service like Shopify, over Esty, for example, is the lack of traffic. Just like with a personal website, there is no built-in consumer base, and you will need to work to find your customers.
However, a huge pro with choosing Shopify is their point of sale (POS) feature. With this option, you can sell your tarot cards in person, for example, at a market or craft fair. The app is designed for both iOS and Android and lets you process and take orders in person.
Markets and Craft Fairs
If you have created your own tarot deck, it stands to reason that you can read tarot cards for other people. You understand the symbolism and can interpret the meanings in a way the average person cannot. So what better than to display your deck at a market or fair and use them for readings?
Whether you search for local craft fairs, traveling medieval fairs, or even just the local flea market, many people are drawn into tarot readings when it is available to them. When you have a booth and a table, people are more likely to stop and have fun with a reading—especially those at a medieval fair, who have come for the experience more than then shopping.
In offering readings and showing the quality of your cards, you might find this translates into sales. Whether from reading customers or other people in the trade. If your product is good, they will want to support you. Either way, you are getting your cards in front of people and establishing yourself as a seller.
Regardless of where you choose to sell your tarot cards, marketing will be vital in terms of finding customers. From Facebook and Instagram to create your own blog, growing your online presence will encourage consumers to buy your products and potentially recommend and review them.
When we talk about social media, there are quite a few options. These include, but are not limited to:
Establishing an online presence is essential in today’s market. Consumers like to visit web stores and browse before buying, and an aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed can encourage those users to want to follow you and your work. Let’s take a look at the biggest platforms and see how they can help you in selling your product.
Having a Facebook page is essential in this day and age. You can’t argue with their numbers or their reach. As of 2020, Facebook has 2.7 billion active users monthly and is the largest social media platform in the world.
With Facebook Marketing, you can create promotions and ads to reach more customers, using pictures, videos, and targeted audience statistics. For example, when wanting to sell tarot cards, you may want to look at potential customers in your own country, for ease of shipping. You might also want to target people who have expressed interest in tarot, crystals, or astrology. Finding relatable characteristics will help you target the right audience for your ad.
Instagram may only have 1 billion active monthly users, but it is still one of the most used social media platforms. The photo and video sharing app is considered less cluttered than Facebook and used by a younger consumer base.
It is far easier to gain followers on Instagram, with the use of hashtags and marketing campaigns. The algorithm in place offers consumers posts and products it determines they would enjoy. For example, a user searching for cooking videos will begin to see similar videos appear in their ‘Explore’ feed. This feed is of suggested videos based on the users’ activity.
Much like with Facebook, you can create ads using target marketing, focusing only on users that have expressed interest in your product or similar products. These ads contain links to a website of your choosing, allowing users to tap and be taken to your product.
You might not think about using Twitter as a way of driving sales, but it can’t be overlooked. With over 150 million worldwide users, it would be silly not to consider the platform. However, unlike the direct advertising you see on Facebook and Instagram, Twitter needs to be used differently.
With Twitter, it is about engaging people and making connections. Maybe those connections never leave the app, but maybe they lead to a sale. Their idea of Social Selling is to engage your audience in a dialogue. Your content should show off your knowledge and allow people to look to you for help. With that in mind, you might find your name popping up in a buyer’s mind somewhere down the line.
TikTok launched in 2017, making it the youngest of our options here, but it is by no means small. As of 2019, TikTok has been downloaded a massive 738 million times, and though it may not be the space for traditional advertising, it can be a unique way to connect with your customers.
Without actively pushing your product, it is possible to gain a following on Tiktok, using trending videos. One particular success story shows how a simple TikTok video can lead to real-life results.
User Emily Shaw began posting simple DIY videos when redecorating her parent’s house. Almost overnight, she reached more than a million followers and had requests for interviews from various media outlets. Currently, she has 3.4 million followers on TikTok and has received a number of paid projects as a direct result of her TikToks.
When asking the question of how to sell your tarot cards, there are a few things you need to consider in order to be successful. From the initial design and printing of your deck to deciding how best to reach your customers, it is not going to be easy.
However, if you consider the following, you will find the process more approachable:
- Create a great product
- Decide if you want to mass produce or print a smaller batch to start out
- Look into global marketplaces and decide if they are right for you
- Consider creating your own website to build up your personal brand
- Attend fairs and meet people
- Establish a social media presence to further reach your target audience