How Writers Can Make Money on Etsy

Writers make money on Etsy
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Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade goods, is known for its multitude of crafty creations. You can find handwoven scarves, crocheted hats, one-of-a-kind paintings — it’s a haven for anyone who loves custom-made goods, and anyone skilled enough to make and sell them.

While I’ve long-admired Etsy from afar and shopped there for personal gifts for my sisters and friends, as a writer, I never thought that I had anything to offer as a seller. But a chance encounter with an out-of-work architect who figured out a way to earn her living on the site opened my eyes to the opportunities for writers on Etsy — and there are a lot of them.

A surprise hit craft inspires a career change

Amy Stringer-Mowat started selling cutting boards in the shape of states on Etsy after she shared a few that she had made for her wedding. She soon found a huge demand for her invention, and began selling so many cutting boards that she had to enlist the help of her husband and others to fulfill the orders. Instead of looking for a new job in architecture, she settled into life as an entrepreneur and full-time Etsy-seller.

Amy’s story inspired me to take a closer look at how I, as a writer, could also figure out a way to earn some cash and build a business on the site.

Etsy includes more than just crafts

I quickly found a category called “paper goods,” which includes subcategories such as bookmarks, calendars, cards, and notebooks. These sounded closer to the kinds of items a writer could tackle. Further investigation revealed a “planner” category, and as soon as I saw the types of products listed there — digital guides, detailed calendars — I knew I had found my new virtual home.

Within two weeks, I created my “baby planner,” soon followed by a series of “money planners,” and I built my business from there. Over 200 sales later, my Etsy shop is one of my greatest sources of professional satisfaction. I make products with my words that help people, and people buy them – it’s hard to find better validation than that. (Click to tweet this idea).

Writers interested in supplementing their income with an Etsy shop should consider these three options.

1. Create products for fellow writers

Since you’re a writer, you already know what helps you write, and you can make things that do the same for others.

One of my favorite products currently listed is a novel-writing brainstorming template; there’s also a nonfiction version. Other shops offer inspiring quotes for writers in the form of artwork, such as a “just write one page” print, as well as beautiful notebooks that make you want to curl up and jot down all your ideas.

2.  Make writing-related accessories

Mugs with Jane Austen quotes, necklaces made from typewriter keys, and scarves decorated with text are just a few of the writing-related accessories that people sell on Etsy. It might not be directly related to your craft, but creating these kinds of goods allows you play with words and take your passion for writing onto the site.

There’s also endless possibility here; almost every category listed, from home goods to bath and beauty, includes writing-related options. Bed sheets decorated with poetry, anyone?

3. Design digital products

Etsy recently changed its policy to allow for automatic downloads at purchase for buyers. That makes it easier than ever to create digital products and sell them on Etsy. Indeed, ebooks are a growing category on the site. Currently listed ebooks range from crafting-related instructions to instructional guides.

While the site wasn’t designed with writers in mind, Etsy can help us earn extra money – and that’s always a good thing.

Would you ever consider selling on Etsy? If you already have, please share your strategy and shop name below!

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Comments

  1. Great ideas Kimberly! I’ve always thought of creating journals, diaries, mugs and grocery list pads. In fact, I would like to own a gifts and stationery store one day and design stationery. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Interesting! I have ideas for journals and binders specific to writers and getting organized. I’ll have to check it out! Thanks for sharing, Kimberly!

  3. So glad you like these ideas, and I love the idea of an organizational journal or notebook for writers! Keep us posted!

  4. This is a seriously great idea! I’ve long thought about creating a writing-related knitting pattern to sell, but your idea of creating helpful writing templates is pure genius. Can’t wait to share this gem of a post!

  5. I think this is great! I love to write and have dreamed of putting planners and fun creative stuff together for women. Can you recommend any resource that assists with creating the printables?

    • Hi Shashee!
      I like to keep it simple- I just use MS Word and then “save as a PDF,” and presto, my printable is created. Some people get fancier with design programs but I haven’t tried that yet. Good luck!

  6. Great article. I FB’d and tumblr’d it.

  7. Thank you for such a great tip, I’ve been thinking about some items for children and this site would be a way in……thanks again.

  8. Hmm. My Etsy shop, StitchWits, has been full from its start of wordy graphics executed in counted cross stitch. The problem has been customization and the need to design and execute a sample to offer. I’ve sold exactly one PDF pattern for a project without an actual sample to show. You gave me the idea of executing some of these ideas as simple graphics to print and frame, with options to convert them to patterns and execute them. Thanks!

  9. These are wonderful ideas Kimberly. I too, have thought over the years about how to further monetize my poems, writer quotes, and resources for writers versus just in an ebook. Getting them on Etsy seems like a clever route to go 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

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  12. What a great idea! I have always dreamed about doing different types of planners and selling them on esty. I’m just not sure where to start! There are so many things that go into making planners. I’ll definitely try to start putting together a few planners and see how they do on etsy. Thanks for sharing!

    -Lara

  13. Great article, i have been having thoughts along similar lines, i think you may have given me the push i have been inneed of!

  14. Wow, never would have thought of that. This is cool. Will definitely consider this.

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  20. Alex Wolf says:

    These are great ideas! I’ve been wanting to put together a writing template that helps fanfic writers on tumblr, but I have no idea where to start. Can anyone give me some tips on this, like how to make the notebook and the template?

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  28. This is a brilliant idea. I was just musing this morning about new ways to market my work. Thank you for opening my eyes. Now my creative juices are slamming!

  29. Thanks for this post! I had an Etsy shop selling handmade and vintage jewelry, but after a year of anemic sales I closed it. Now I’m inspired to open up again with a more diversified product line, as soon as I figure out what said products might be.

  30. To use my writing skills in my Etsy shop, I offer some printables with handwritten quotes or poetry 🙂

    -Sarah
    http://ittybittycelticwitch.etsy.com

  31. Great post! Can you address how you design your work? Do you do it yourself or outsource? Thanks!

  32. I love your story of filling a niche by doing something you enjoy and using your talents. I have an Etsy shop, Joyful Linens, but I also love to write, so writing the item descriptions and other material for the shop is as much fun as making my products.

  33. Thanks! Great info and good reminders for writers and the writers-inside all of us!

  34. I came here while researching selling e-books on Etsy and discovered some other interesting ideas. Thanks. 🙂

  35. Although my editing business, Epiclesis Consulting LLC, is a couple of years old, I just opened my Etsy shop last week, EpiclesisConsulting. I had to do some thinking to come up with things I could sell that are a “product” rather than a “service,” but I did, and I think over time, I will be able to add more and more things that would be useful to writers. Of course, my own website, epiclesisconsulting.com, is generally the best place to go if you want to learn about my business or request an estimate for editorial services, but on Etsy, I have some basic critique packages and creative writing aids. Pay my shop a visit! etsy.com/EpiclesisConsulting

  36. You’re welcome, Heather! Unfortunately, being new to Etsy, I was incorrect about how to form the url that goes directly to my shop. Try this instead:

    etsy.com/shop/epiclesisconsulting

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  1. […] online marketplaces like Etsy, you can list your product for just a $0.20 listing fee. You don’t need to know how to build a […]

  2. […] online marketplaces like Etsy, you can list your product for just a $0.20 listing fee. You don’t need to know how to build a […]

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