I have just started selling merch, such as mugs with the cover of my sci-fi books on them. I’m doing this to support my life as an author, of course, but also to give fans a way of owning a little bit more of my books and characters. I can’t print the images on mugs myself so I needed a platform to do all that for me. There are a huge number of these merch printers out there, but I decided to go through Society 6, because they have a clean and pleasant interface to search through when looking for nice things to buy.

The site says that selling artwork as a product on Society 6 is as simple as posting to a blog. In theory, all you have to do is post your artwork to make it immediately available for sale as a variety of products. When a reader buys a product, Society 6 produces it, packages it and ships it.

I already had a store on society six, with my name on it, so I didn’t have to sign up, all I had to do was start uploading my images. In the past I have often uploaded digital paintings done on an old computer in 2012 at quite low resolutions. They’re good for some products, like this mug with Mighty Cthulhu on it, but to enable all the different merch items, the images have to be uploaded at quite high resolutions. According to the page on Society 6 dedicated to details of upload sizes, they recommend that the file be at least 6500px x 6500px or larger to enable the most products with one file. But the file also has to be less than 150mb. The required resolutions for some of the products are as follows:

Stationery Cards, iPhone Cases, and Skins require 1300px x 2000px. Rugs, Pillows, and Laptop Sleeves require 4600px x 3000px. Hoodies, Tank Tops, and T-Shirts require 3300px x 5100px. Throw Pillows, and Tote Bags require 3500px x 3500px. Mugs require 4600px x 2000px.

But that’s not all, bedding, shower curtains, and wall tapestries are also available, but require even bigger file sizes. Wall Tapestries, for example, must be 6500px x 5525px. I thought that rendering a file of 10000 by 10000 pixels would be a good way to make sure the image was big enough for every product. I dutifully rendered my huge image, making my computer click and hum with the effort, but it refused to upload.

Chastened, I rendered a smaller image of 6500 by 6500 pixels, as the site recommends. It certainly rendered a lot quicker at that resolution. It only took a few minutes, rather than half an hour. Unfortunately, that refused to upload as well. I was about to give up on Society 6, after trying for a couple of hours (when you include the render times) to upload files of various sizes, and was about to go to one of their competitors, Redbubble, when the file upload finally completed.

I added a title and some tags and clicked to go to the next page. I was presented with a page of products and asked to decide which ones I wanted to enable for sale. I enabled the ones that looked good, but the square image I had uploaded didn’t work for, for example, the mug. I had to render the image again at the exact size for the mug and upload it again. I rendered the image and uploaded it, and the interface reported a successful upload… but it did not update the image on the mug. It is quite frustrating using the Society 6 back end, I have to say.

So I tried again, waiting the long minutes for the file to upload. I was watching TV at the same time - The Real T-Rex with Chris Packham - and writing this blog post, so I wasn’t wasting my time. The upload worked the second time around, and to my mind the most important product in my gallery of merch, the coffee mug, had a picture that fit it perfectly.

I also had to upload a special image for the T-shirts, and again the first upload failed. But, for the T-shirts, the second try failed, and the third try failed. Each time the replacement image would upload correctly, but the interface would refuse to transfer it onto the T-shirt. It simply refused to replace the old iamge. I had no option but to leave the T-shirts switched “off”. I guess I will have to investigate Redbubble after all, a merch section without T-shirts is a pretty sad thing.

I’ll be working more on the selection of merchandise available for my books in the near future, so keep an eye on my Society 6 page.

Galaxy Dog (Dark Galaxy) Start Reading the Dark Galaxy Trilogy

The first book in the Dark Galaxy Trilogy, always the best place to start, is Galaxy Dog. It’s a little more old-school and fun than a lot of the sci-fi that is around at the moment. It has spaceships, robots, battles, and brave warriors rebelling against an evil empire. Click the book cover and go to the storefront you prefer to buy it now, or follow this link.

This is a universal book link (UBL) and you will be greeted with a page displaying all the places the book is available online. Just select the storefront you prefer and, if you want, also make this your default bookseller. From then on, every time you click a UBL you will be taken directly to the book you are interested in, on the storefront you prefer. The UBL even allows you to go to the Amazon store that matches your region.