When I wrote my 2022 bucket list, I put on ‘create an oracle deck’. I didn’t have a clue at the time what that oracle would look like or even if I’d be able to check that item off my list.
I finished creating a tarot deck in 2021 and successfully launched a Kickstarter. The campaign for Wisdom of the Depths tarot ended in October and I had the intention of sending out all decks to the people who pledged by Christmas.
As I’d never run a Kickstarter campaign before, I had no idea what I was doing. It was a very steep learning curve, particularly when it came to postage and packaging. My dining room was filled with boxes, and I spent almost as much time purchasing postage as I did creating the deck.
I’m sure the people at the Post Office groaned every time they saw me coming with my carrier bags full of packaged decks. But all the tarot decks went out before Christmas even if it did leave me feeling burnt out on the whole process.
Speaking of postage, one of the quirks of Kickstarter is that you have to produce a target figure that includes production costs, Kickstarter fees, credit card processing fees AND postage. This gave me a massive headache before I could launch. I assumed most of my backers would be in the US (they were) so I weighed my test deck and worked out the postage for one deck. Then I did a few calculations and hoped for the best. That’s been my formula this time too.
So fast forward a year and here I am, old but not necessarily any wiser, and just about to launch my second Kickstarter campaign for the Animal Spirits of the Sacred Isles.
It launches on 1st January 2023.
I don’t think most people appreciate how expensive it is to fund a print run of tarot or oracle decks (my test deck alone cost £66), especially if you choose not to get them mass-printed in China. Here in the UK, there are very few options to get your deck printed so you have to weigh up costs vs quality vs. environmental factors.
I use Ivory Graphics, based in Cambridge. The quality is excellent and I feel safer knowing that the printer is four-hour drive away rather than a flight halfway around the world. I want to support local businesses too.
Kickstarter is the lifeblood of many startup, creative projects – and while I wasn’t prepared last time for the complexities of running a campaign myself, I’m grateful for its existence. I wouldn’t have been able to afford to print my tarot decks without the backing I received.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be successful this time with the Animal Spirits of the Sacred Isles too.
I’ve kept things simple with this new Kickstarter campaign. Last time I offered art prints and exclusive tarot bags created by the awesome Auld Spaewife – I hadn’t taken into account how complicated that would make posting because I needed different size boxes (which meant pushing postage into a higher bracket – and I hadn’t factored that in so I absorbed the costs).
I lost count of how many hours I spent trying to get the right packaging. I ordered boxes, they didn’t arrive, new boxes arrived, old boxes arrived… and all while trying to make sure everything would be environmentally friendly and/or recyclable.
All in all, it was an experience.
One that I had absolutely no idea how stressful and demanding it would be. There are many moving parts to running a Kickstarter campaign, and so much that goes on behind the scenes.
If you support an indie oracle or tarot artist, you don’t see the hours that have already gone into the creation nor the countless hours it takes to make sure a finished product arrives where it’s meant to go.
From a creator’s point of view, it’s a labour of love but one that I’m excited (but a little nervous about) to be doing again.