Good news from Llewellyn. Great news. No, make that wonderful news.
First of all, they like the manuscript. They don't want any cuts, even though we went over the specified length. Instead they asked us to write more, to flesh out a few areas. All the additions make a lot of sense & will make the book better. I'm really happy about this.
The only thing they asked us to cut were some short quotes by W.B. Yeats we had used to introduce each suit. Apparently Yeat's descendants are quite possessive of his work, and permission is difficult to get, even for such a small quote (four lines from four different poems). It's a little disappointing, but not a big deal. It wasn't an integral part of the book (I don't think we even mentioned his name otherwise) so it's easy to let go of.
They really liked the "Notes on Sources" -- where possible, I've written down the original context of the source images I used in the collage. For instance, the three girls on the 3 of Cups were Javanese dancers who went to Paris for a "World's Fair" type of exhibition in the mid 1880s. That sort of thing. They asked if I could add these notes to all the cards, not just some. Unfortunately, if I got the image from a clip art book, then I have no idea where it came from. However, I went through the manuscript and realized that I had actually skipped the "Notes on Sources" for a handful of cards that I did have information about. So I will add notes for those cards. For the rest, I'll add an explanation to the introduction that sometimes the image origin is unknown.
I'm assuming that after we turn in the additional material for the book, we'll start on the more detailed editing -- line by line, grammar, spelling, good flow, that sort of thing. Or do they just do that themselves? I'm not sure, now that I think about it. I hope we're involved in copyediting, because I was reading through the manuscript yesterday and I saw a few typoes & things I'd like to fix.
In other big news, because the book is longer, they're going with the full "kit" size, rather than the "mini-kit" used for Nigel Jackson. At first glance this might seem like bad news, since the "mini-kit" is such nifty packaging. However, Barbara tells me that they've completely redesigned the "kit" size. No more giant tray to hold the cards. Instead, the cards have their own little box, so you don't have to provide your own container if you want to carry them around.
I went to the Llewellyn presentation at the last Chicago conference. They asked the audience to provide feedback or suggestions on their Tarot line. Immediately half the room shouted out, "We hate the big box with the tray!" It's nice to see that they've responded to consumer feedback.
You might think that alone qualifies as wonderful news. But it gets better. (I feel like I'm writing a Ronco ad for TV ... "but wait! there's more!") Not only are they giving us the book that we wanted, and the elimination of the big tray from the box. They're also including a black velvet bag in the package with Victoria Regina Tarot. I've never seen a mass produced Tarot deck that came with a bag (only small self-published decks like Transformational Tarot or Inner Vision Tarot), so this is fairly amazing to me.
Best of all, it puts to rest my worries about the printing quality of the cards themselves. I've talked with Barbara several times about their concern that the cards may not print well. The art has fine lines, and Llewellyn's usual printer had made rather grim statements about how badly it was likely to turn out. Last I heard, they had sent a few cards to a printer in Europe for testing. I was concerned that the European printer might be too expensive. But obviously they wouldn't go to the expense of adding velvet bags to the deck, if they were planning to do a "budget," lower quality printing of the cards.