Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Broke a News Story, and All I Got Was This Freaking T-Shirt

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

As readers of this blog know, I'm fascinated by the oddities that pop up at the fringes of the writing and publishing worlds. This qualifies as one of the odder things I've come across lately:

T-Post

The brainchild of a group of friends in Sweden, T-Post describes itself as "the world’s first wearable magazine." The concept: A news story. A graphic interpretation of the same. A T-shirt. The art is printed on the front, and the story is printed on the inside (yes, really, on the inside, where no one can see it)--and voila! News you can carry with you, if not very obviously.

Subscribers to T-Post get one T-shirt every five weeks, with a story chosen by T-Post's editors from news pieces submitted by participating writers. It costs 20 euros (per T-shirt or "issue") to subscribe, with a further 7 euros due for shipping and handling. Unlike book of the month clubs, you can't choose not to receive a T-shirt.

How do I know about this? I got an email invitation, presumably as a result of this blog.
T-post is tapping the writer community to create their editorial content. Writers will be able to publish as many stories as they like on T-post's website and create their own profile.

Creating the democratic editorial process tpostmag.com readers will have an opportunity to vote for the articles they'd like to see as future T-post issues with the simple click of a VOTE button. Based on the number of votes, article comments and the story topic, the T-post staff will then choose what will become their next issue. Winning entries will have their news story interpreted into a graphic T-shirt by an artist chosen by the T-post staff and receive $1,200 USD.
While I certainly wouldn't mind having $1,200, I can't say I'm keen on having my news story printed on the inside of a T-shirt. The idea, apparently, is that the art will inspire questions, which the T-shirt wearer can answer by describing the invisible news story that goes with it. I wear graphic T-shirts fairly often in the summer, and I can't remember the last time anyone asked me about the artwork.

Designating T-shirt wearers as news bearers is a pleasingly idealistic gimmick upon which to build a clothing company, though it strains the idea of a magazine. T-Post has gotten a fair amount of press coverage--not surprisingly, mainly about the artwork. Similarly, T-Post's blog features its artists, but little is said about the writers (after all, it's just "editorial content"), and I could find no writers' guidelines on the T-Post website.

15 comments:

Georganna Hancock M.S. said...

I received this "invitation" also. It was so complicated, I didn't take time to read all of it, but I seldom write others' content for free, even to win a contest. Kudos to you for being able to cobble a post out of the message/concept!

jphbr said...

" I wear graphic T-shirts fairly often in the summer, and I can't remember the last time anyone asked me about the artwork."

What about the story under it?

Rogue Mutt said...

Sounds like a weird idea. Though maybe I'd drum up more sales if I wore a T-shirt advertising my book. I'd certainly have plenty of fabric for text/pics!

S.M. Carrière said...

Hah hah hah! That's actually pretty awesome. I love this idea. Not quite sure how effective it'd be, but it's a fun idea.

Michael Capobianco said...

Is the news story written upside down on the inside front of the t-shirt, so you can pull it up for others to read?

Victoria Strauss said...

On the inside back, Michael. So the person behind you in line at the bank could pull it up and read it.

Liz said...

You can always wear the t-shirt inside out. I tend to do that when I'm less than half awake.

Lena Sledge said...

Sounds interesting, don't know if I'd buy into it. But odd concepts sometimes take off. I don't think I would be so keen as to pull up my shirt or ask someone to pull up theirs so I could read it.

Jennifer said...

Intriguing, but smells of 'free content scam' to me. If they're posting your article for public vote, then they're taking your first rights for nothing.

behlerblog.com said...

Hmmm. Stick to your purse, it's classier.

Frances Grimble said...

Go to www.dharmatrading.com and buy one or more of their inexpensive T-shirts, plus some photocopier or inkjet transfer paper. Print your text on the transfer paper and then, well, follow their directions. Voila, your shirt with your story on it. On the inside or outside as you prefer.

This is, actually, not a bad way to create a few garments with images of your book cover on them. Dharma sells lots of other kinds of dyeable clothing too, mostly for women but some are for men, also there are lots for kids. Dresses, tanks, skirts, even underwear.

Just stick to their cottons. The quality of their cottons is good; the quality of their rayons is not.

I do a lot of dyeing and personally, I like to dye clothes a light ecru before printing on them. Your mileage may vary.

But ecru or no ecru, with just a small expenditure of time and money and no real expertise, you can put any text or illustration you want on a T-shirt.

Jarvis said...

You can't buy that kind of exposure! hahahaha.

Wendy G. Ewurum said...

I also think it could be fun, perhaps that's what they want to achieve, fun with the news?
Anyway, I'd buy at least one just to have............

Anonymous said...

I just got a new tee that says "Miss Snark is a scum sucking scam agent."

Anonymous said...

Is Strauss Kahn a relative of yours?