Merchandising and stuffff….

So one of  the interesting things that came out of the Master Publishing Class this year, at least for me, revolved around physical goods. Merchandise. Advertising given permanent form.

One of my next books to come out will be Uniforms of the Fleet, Volume One. This will be a series of color plates in a coffee table book, set in the Jessica Keller portion of the Alexandria Station universe. Shannon Marie helped me flesh out twelve of your favorite characters, and put them into a fashion show, detailing all the various looks that had only existed as words before now.

You’ll finally be able to see what Jessica Keller really looks like. And Moirrey. Denis is there, plus Navin, Nils, Petia, and even Dash and Goll.

In the process, I had to think about that patch that everyone wears on their left shoulder, indicating their unit. I’ve talked about it any number of times in the writing, but never (ever) once actually given it any thought. Similarly, I’ve described people, but couldn’t for the life of me tell you anybody’s hair color. I hear their voices, but could never see their faces.

So now, I had to have patches to go on those uniforms. Starting this last August, I had a first annual party/barbecue out at the farm. About 30 people joined me this year, heavy on artists. The goal with this gathering, beyond just seeing folks, is to metaphorically build a longer table. (“If the world gives you more, it is better to build a longer table than a higher fence…”) A chance for various people I know who don’t know each other to be able to connect. It was a smashing success, I think.

Along the way, Shannon Marie was asking me for descriptions of the Auberon patch that Jessica wears. And I had zero clue as to what it should look like. None. So I asked the Hive Mind at the table, and sat back and watched as Fabulous Publisher Babe ™ and several other artists bounced ideas off each other and came up with something utterly cool. You’ll see it soon. It is an homage to William Shakespeare, since that’s where Auberon (alternate spelling Oberon, both pronounced with the Oh sound) came from.

So I have Auberon’s logo/patch/badge.

Because First Centurion Petia Nauomov was also going to be in the book, I had Shannon Marie do me up a logo for Athena as well. Again, I had some rough ideas, and she turned them into awesome.

So now I have two shoulder patches for two of the Star Controllers that make up Jessica’s world. (And yes, I might move on and do SC Archimedes (First War Fleet), DN Concord (Second War Fleet), DN Warspite (Third War Fleet) and SC Amaravati (First Border Fleet) in the future, just because I can.)

We talked merchandising during the Workshop. I grew up with lunchboxes and action figures. (And sheets, t-shirts, and everything else George Lucas could slap a logo or character onto.) I’m building out a vast empire of Intellectual Property (IP) that I own, without having sold my book and all my rights to some male bimbo in Manhattan, never to be returned. I can do whatever I want with it.

And we have arrived at the beginnings of the maker culture civilization.

I added a new page and menu to the website today: the Marketplace. Right now, the only thing there are t-shirts for Knotted Road Press and the University of Ballard, but that’s going to change in the near future. I really want an Auberon coffee mug. And we can do that. Slap it on the side of the mug and ship, anywhere in the world.

How freaking awesome is that?

I have not (yet) gone looking to see if I could get lunch boxes made. Or Moirrey and Jessica Action Figures ™. But that’s a possibility. I probably don’t even have to drop a lot of money on the project. Most likely the cost of the 3D renderings in the right formats and scale, and then running them through a 3D printer and stand back. (Someone remind me to poke Joel and ask him, sometime soon. Or anyone else that does this sort of thing in the sound of my voice. Laren? Thoughts?)


The only limits to my career right now, and my revenue streams, according to Kris and Dean, are my imagination. Me, the guy who writes epic military space opera in the way distant future, spanning 14,000 year of human history (so far). Those are the limits?

Y’all are DOOMED…

T-shirt are easy. Coffee mugs are coming. I really want lunch boxes and action figures. And that’s just beginning to explore my options. Who knows what we could do, going forward?

When I did a contract with Shannon Marie for the art, it was very specifically work-for-hire, so that I retained the IP to everything, no questions asked. At the same time, I also made sure to sign a second contract with her granting her a non-exclusive license to produce art from the Jessica Keller universe, based on the pictures she had already done for me. That way, she could go to conventions on her own with art and get paid by people for pictures she did for them on commission.

That’s free advertising for me,  a revenue stream for her, and happy fans. Building a longer table. Hell, I’m already planning Volumes Two and Three, hoping I can interest her in working with me some more.

So here’s my question for you: the fan, the reader, the casual observer, the smart-ass walking by. What would you like to see? And we’re not limited to Jessica. There’s Javier, Doyle, Henri, Suvi/Summer. There’s Kai Di, Rick, and others. Maybe something from the fantasy worlds?

What is that piece of swag you have always wanted, sitting on the desk next to you? How do we get it delivered to your mailbox, just in time for you to do your happy dance?



shade and sweet water,


West of the Mountains, WA