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!