What I Wrote on November 11
Passing the torch . . .
As some of you know, I’m very attached to the numbers 11 and 22. So when I sat down to write a post for 11/11, I saw this as an important turning point in the life of Tarot | An Exploration Project. (EP, for short!)
Here’s what I wrote:
If I stick to the current plan, which would make posts on the 11th and 22nd for paid subscribers only, very few people will see whatever I write for 11/11. Very few.
On the other hand, if I send it out to everyone, the kindly folk who did become paid subscribers won’t be getting what I promised—expanded access. They might be okay with that, but I’m not.
I introduced the paid option because I really wanted to spend more time writing about Tarot. And without feeling stressed about taking time away from other projects. Having a little EP revenue would make a significant difference—but not just in monetary terms. There really aren’t many other ways to know whether your work is making a valuable contribution.
And here’s the series of thoughts I went through next.
Because I’ve attended quite a few webinars on this topic, I know what “converts” free readers to paid subscribers. Here are the the main things:
Putting a nice request at the very beginning of every post.
Putting a nice request at the end of every post.
Putting a nice request in the middle of every post.
Sending posts that start (preview) the story, and then say something like “become a subscriber to read the rest.”
Doing several or all of those things.
I don’t want to do any of that, for a couple of reasons—but even if I did, it would take quite a while to nudge/guilt enough people into becoming paid subscribers. Or putting it another way, to provide enough ongoing value that new readers eventually feel like becoming paid subscribers. That’s because almost no one reads the archived posts, so the whole mechanism runs on “consistently” putting out new posts.
At this point I considered whether and why people spend money on any particular type of newsletter. I myself subscribe to a lot of them, most of which just get briefly scanned. A few I often look at more substantively—but even fewer always get read. No idea where in that hierarchy EP falls for individual readers. Point is: there really are a lot of good newsletters competing for readers and subscribers.
Okay. So my next thought exercise was to look over all the notes and topics I had in mind for future EP posts. Everything on the list seemed interesting, occasionally even fascinating. Yet . . . I had to ask myself whether any of my planned posts would be important. In the great scheme of things, no. But in terms of offering an alternative (I think valuable) perspective on Tarot—I’d have to say yes.
At that point, I considered whether this is the best format for offering alternative perspectives in future. And here’s what I decided.
Passing the Torch
I don’t want that subheading to sound melodramatic—though it sort of does. I have in mind two things:
First, I’m going to share some of the ideas and topics I intended to pursue, so anyone who wants to can research and write about them.
Second, I’m going to say a little more about other resources I think EP readers would find worthwhile.
I plan to do this in short daily bursts over the days between now and 11/22. That just seems like a fitting exit strategy!
Which brings us to a couple of housekeeping notes. Paid subscribers will receive a full refund—but that takes a bit of time, due to the way Stripe functions (or doesn’t). I’ll check back to make sure everything gets resolved.
I will leave all the archived material available on EP until November 22. After that, the Substack site will offer only a few items, which I’ll list in another post. I plan to send out an occasional free Notebook Page—but not on any regular schedule. I just want to keep in touch with anyone who’s interested in hearing from me.
Between now and 11/22, I’ll also be letting you know about some of my other projects—and if you choose to have a look at them, I’ll be honored.
In the Tarot category, I’ve decided to seek a traditional publisher for two books:
The revised and expanded version of my first book, to be called (probably) The Tarot: More History, Deeper Mysteries, and New Lore
So it will be a while before those become real. But in the meantime, I’m also republishing some Tarot content on Medium, so if you read “over there,” follow me.
My other projects range very far afield, but (basically) everything I think/write about is in some way “Tarot-adjacent” or “Tarot-inflected.” So I’ll share some notes over this transitional period
I’ll also be sending a special “Highlights” email to folks who have arrived at EP in the past month.
I never want to leave off without something unexpected—so here’s a little lore about the scent known as Tarocco Orange.
I’d never heard of the Tarocco Orange before, but it’s a variant of the blood orange, and here’s what I learned on the Specialty Produce website:
Tarocco blood oranges are the most popular citrus variety in their native home of Italy. In one legend, the name Tarocco is believed to have been derived from the exclamation of the farmer upon seeing the new variety. "Tarocco" is a colloquial term used in Italy as a reference to a fake or fraud.
I will leave that for everyone to ponder. And will plan to follow up this post tomorrow.
As always, thanks for reading! C