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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The T-Shirt Issue

The most recent attempt at opening an online merchandise store turned into a moderate waste of time. I did get a pretty high quality T-Shirt from Zazzle, as did a couple others, but we all paid twice to three times as much as we should have.

That's not outside the norm. After looking at third party providers I've discovered massive legal problems with some (Cafepress), and huge cost issues with others. This costly cloud has a silver lining, however.

Years ago I was involved in the local print and production industry and after contacting a few stale contacts I found a better way to do this. Long story short, I was able to find a way to produce the Triton T-Shirt for $20.00 including shipping to anywhere in North America.

So, the Triton Crew shirt will make another appearance along with a couple others. They'll be professionally screen printed, pre-shrunk, locally inspected and I'll have my own online store thanks to Paypal. In the next couple months the Spacer Wares shop will be open. If there's something you want that isn't there (and I mean absolutely anything), just tell me about it and I'll probably be able to have it made.

Why open a store or offer merchandise at all? The demand for T-Shirts is actually growing, in fact I already have an order from a squad from the US Army. I personally like the shirts, I think they look pretty good and I have some interesting ideas. It's a great way to spread the word, and that's why I'm not doing this for the money. In fact, Zazzle's minimum royalty was too high for my liking, which is another reason why I'm shutting down my store there.

After shipping I'll make an average of $1.00 per shirt or other item and I don't care to earn more on that end of things, simply because it's not what I do for a living. As I've said before, no one needs this stuff, but it's very cool to have it around just in case you want it, especially since this series will be around a long time and it's looking more and more likely that it'll spread to other entertainment mediums. It will be nice if some of the early adopters have the first T-Shirts to show that they were there first, they had a hand in supporting me and my little science fiction series before everyone else discovered it.

To the couple people who bought the Zazzle shirts (and I know who you are), you'll be getting a private message from me with a request for your address so I can send you something special before Christmas.

One thing I've discovered through this whole process is that the more hands on I get with the store, the less it costs everyone, and the better things turn out. I'm just glad it isn't taking much time day to day, or I would have had to scrap the entire idea. Anything that gets in the way of writing isn't worth the time, in my opinion.

I'll announce the grand opening of the Spacer Wares store as soon as it's ready. You'll find more than T-Shirts when it's up and running.

None of the eBook or printed edition listings will be affected by this stuff.

Now, back to work on Broadcast 7!


[Other than T-Shirts, what would you like to see in the Spacer Wares store? Signed books, loaded USB drives, posters, a Command and Control Unit?]


Calvin said...

Command and control unit? Sadly I'm not so sure your guys could make one. Not a functional one that is. (only kind I'd want :P) Not to mention it'd still be rather expensive. The pre-loaded jumpdrive /maybe/ but I think it may be a bit of a stretch, seeing how easy it is to get the books from smashwords.

What I'd like to see would be long-sleeve shirts with the 'proven' triton crew logo on the left chest like on the vacsuits in the books and an assortment of section and rank insignia on them.

And if you ever manage to get a decent artist to do a drawing of the triton/firstlight/samson/clever dream/uriel starfighter squad/main cast you have got to put shirts with those on them on the store. I'd likely buy one of each mentioned.

Randolph said...

The Command and Control unit was more of a joke than anything, even though there are some holographic combo cellphone / HD displays that are worn on the wrist coming out in the Orient right now. I don't think the translated demo software would really measure up. :P

The long sleeve idea is good, actually, and I'll make sure that happens.

The designs for a few of the ships are in the works, and we will have full 3D models sometime in the next year to two years. It takes a while to get these done at a cinema ready resolution, but I have a custom mould crafter who can do scale mock ups lined up when the digital model is done.

The USB drives would include the eBooks, final versions of the trailers in HD (one still in the works, the other hasn't been seen yet), as well as interview footage and other video content that I can't talk about yet.

I'm still looking for other ideas, even if they seem unlikely you never know where they'll lead.

Thanks for your input!

Shawn Gray said...

Yeah, if you ever get a CnC, let me know. ;)

Actually if you had a cycling sweat wicking top with the Triton logo, and a basic set of cycling shorts or pants with the a Spinward Fringe logo on them, that would be pretty cool. Probably way more advanced than what you're looking to go at the moment, but if the product line extends there, that'd be sweet.

Congrats on finding a route more to your liking! I know it was bothering you. :)

Randolph said...

Cycling sweats are certainly not out of range. The guys I'm starting this partnership with have been branding sports equipment for over 30 years, so I'm sure it's something I can do later on. It's just a matter of filling the minimum order.

The other group that will be partnering with me will be doing prototype model shop / art object stuff and they've worked for Vancouver prop houses as well as film production. One of the sculptors is a reader (hi!), and we're talking about some future plans.

So, really, anything is possible, from T-Shirts to a living room styled like the bridge of the Triton. The issue is narrowing it down to what people want.

Shawn Gray said...

Heh. Let me know what the minimum order would be and approximate price, and I'll see if I can't drum up a team. I totally had a vision of a dozen cyclists with black helmets, sunglasses, and cycling outfits with the Triton Skull emblazoned on them careening along on their carbon fibre bicycles. Imagine seeing that lining up at a stop light. I think my grandmother might have a heart attack!

David said...

I'd like to see the short sleeve (I'd go long sleeve, but I live in FL, its HOT here) shirt with the aforementioned 'proven' Triton logo on left breast, the assortment of section / rank insignia on left sleeve, and a picture of the Triton on the back with the spinward fringe web address on top of the picture. Black shirts are really hot, look nice, but hot. A dark gray or charcoal looks good and keeps small dirt / stains from being noticeable.

Nikki Hanna said...

Please tell me I'm not the only one who wants the scarf? You know... THE scarf. I think I really did just make myself a little sick that I find it a romantic notion in which I would immediately indulge, but there you have it.

Nikki Hanna said...

Oh, and a t-shirt that says "Alice" on the front and "Daddy's Little Girl" on the back. That would be excellent.

John Leach said...

I would like to see a calendar with both villains and heros. Maybe a couple of screen savers or backgrounds, too.

Sean said...

Actually, if you have an iPhone or other screen based smart phone you can turn it into a CCU with this

Or this

But not this


Fox_Dude said...

I agree with a number of these ideas. I would love a full outfit that matches what is in the books. And models of ships would be great. Spare bedroom or living room made out like areas on the Triton? Count me in lol!

Sean said...

It would be interesting to see something done with


Randolph said...

I actually hadn't thought of that, Nikki! After doing some research on getting a scarf that would perfectly match the silk accessory from the books and I'm going to be ordering a sample from a Mongolian silk garment producer.

As for the T-Shirts, I'll be talking to the silk screener in three weeks, but everything people want in long and short sleeve forms will be easy to do. The company I'm going to deal with has been doing sports and entertainment silkscreening for over 40 years, so I'm sure things are going to be pretty smooth.

The body suit and extra slogans and designs will have to wait a while, because the audience demand for them isn't high. I am going to be testing some other interesting items in 2011 though, so after the initial launch with shirts, signed books and a little more this November / early December there will be some interesting stuff, especially since I'm not afraid to import from other parts of the world if the price and quality are right.

Thank you for your ideas, don't be afraid to throw around a few more!

Nickolas said...

My suggestion would be for halloween costumes, maybe somewhere down the line when the program is more advanced. But I sure wouldn't mind being Jake for halloween

Randolph said...

Since I'm going to be developing the look of Spinward Fringe photographically and using 3D rendering for the next year or two, I'm sure costuming will be possible.

Considering what Jake wears is actually rather simple pre-Broadcast 5, I can see someone putting together a good Jake costume, but the more interesting armor post Broadcast 5 might take a bit of doing. I'm probably going to make bits of it myself for photographic reference, but I don't think anyone would pay for a replica / Hollywood prop quality costume, since it would probably be a few thousand dollars.

I'll ask my domestic clothier what a plain vacsuit would cost, however. Just don't expect me to model it! At least not until I've gotten back into shape!

Nikki Hanna said...

YAY! I'll buy a scarf!

2bresolute said...

Yeah, I can see I've got to buy the scarf. But what about a cool stainless steel ear cuff with a dangly Triton charm hanging from it? or maybe a unisex cuff bracelet with the Triton emblem cutout on the surface? But there are Samson things and (as Nikki says) Alice things. Don't only go with Triton stuff.

Anonymous said...

Do you go by Randolph, are do your friends just call you Sue? After u live for a billion years, experience every pain, joy, disappointment, exhilaration, etc... so many times that the are meaningless; then you are just beginning. A billion-billion years(just trying to put things in perspective) you have relived all of those things a billion times over. Now just realize that you are just getting started. Children, you just cant tell what they will put into their mouths. I am proud of u.

Randolph said...


Fantastic! Samples are still on their way from Mongolia, hopefully this silk producer has what I'm looking for.


You're right, there are a few people who want a Samson souvenir and other interesting items. The store isn't launching with much though, since I'm looking to keep things simple at first. RIght now I'm testing shipping standards, finishing a cost analysis and making sure that signed editions of Broadcast 0: Origins will be available.

Other items are going to be available, but everything is going to go through independent quality testing. Objects won't appear in the store quickly, but once they're up there it'll because they're ready and I've made sure they're the best they can be.


Most people call me Randy. I couldn't imagine what I would do with a billion years, but I'm willing to be the first human to live that long, even if it means I repeat myself a few times. It's kind of you to tell me you're proud of what I've done, but you ain't seen nothin' yet.