Web Serial Merch?

Has anyone else put out merch for their serial, and if so, what do you find sells the best? I've put some Antlers, Colorado merch up on my Redbubble store for the 100 reader giveaway I'm currently doing (if you're interested in that, check out the Antlers blog!) and I found that I'm selling more stickers than anything else. I'm curious how other people have gone about selling merch, though, and what websites you use to sell your stuff.

I'd be interested in any replies to this--it's really common in web comics to have merch as the primary source of income, but I haven't seen web serial merch at all (maybe because it's not easily visual i.e. can't just take a panel from the comic and slap it on a mug when everything's worrrrrrrrrrds).

Yeah it was actually pretty hard to think of what to put on merch at first, so I asked readers what they wanted to see! The stuff I have out there right now is mostly references to things that exist in the world of the story - fake Antlers, CO tourism shirts, fake band merch, an Antlers library tote bag. I do also have some stickers of the main characters up for sale though!

Marn, do you mind my asking what your readership numbers look like? I'm assuming the 100 reader giveaway is based on how many people are following the Tumblr, but I was wondering if you had any other metric by which to judge readership (or if perhaps my assumption was incorrect.) Given that Tumblr doesn't provide much in the way of stats, I can see it being difficult to keep track of an audience.

I mostly gauge from followers - Antlers has 110 followers currently, plus a handful of people who I know prefer to read it on Wattpad. It is pretty difficult to keep track of how many people actually read without following the Tumblr, but I've been thinking about putting a statcounter on the page to gauge how many hits I'm getting and how people are finding it. (I haven't done it yet because I'm great at letting it totally slip my mind.)

The two merch things that I've always considered to fit serials naturally are selling physical copies of the serial, (after heavy editing,) as well as using the serial as a platform to promote other works, like a Kindle ebook or the like.

Just my $0.02

Physical books are always good, even better if you can keep the cost down (shipping sucks).

I had good luck with teespring.com a few months back. Basically you put up a shirt of your design, and if enough people order it then the shirts are printed and shipped. If it falls short, no charges and no harm. Takes all the upfront cost of doing shirts off of you, which is what made it possible for me to try out. For those of us not looking to run full store out of our homes, it's a nice resource, and shirts are almost always solid merch.

@DrewHayes I actually use Redbubble, which lets you upload designs for t-shirts, stickers, mugs, and notebooks among other things, and doesn't require you to have a certain amount of buyers to keep the design in your store! They do get a certain percent of the profit, but I've made $60 just off of stickers in the past couple of months (mostly generic, non-serial related designs).

@JPV1000 I plan on printing Antlers books in the future! I will have to wait on that though because I want to publish the first four chapters as one book and the last four chapters as another, and I only just finished posting Chapter Two online.

@Marn That sounds pretty versatile, I'll check them out. Thanks for the referal!

No prob! I know Society6 is pretty much the same as Redbubble but possibly with more options of what to put your art on? I haven't checked them out yet though.

I know cafepress does merchandise as well. You can create your own online store. I'm not really sure if they take you off if you're not selling anything. I haven't really looked too deeply into it. I just know you can make shirts and stuff there.