Selling Books on Etsy

Today’s guest post come from Fantasy Fiction author Melissa Herold, whose new series is launching this fall. She is an expert on all things Etsy with her business, Nightblooming, so we asked her to share with all she knows about selling books on that platform. We are totally inspired to use Etsy more, thanks to her!

And in case you’re interested in her fiction, don’t miss her incredible book trailer, here!

Etsy is a fantastic marketplace where its customers believe in supporting independent artists--this makes it a great fit for self and indie published authors. The key thing to keep in mind when selling books on Etsy is that it is not a book marketplace, it is a gift-purchasing and self-indulgence marketplace, which means that you can reach buyers you never might have otherwise, but it also means you need to come to market differently.

Optimizing your Listing

This, more than anything, means killer photos because when an Etsy buyer is scrolling through search results, that’s what’s going to get them to stop on your book. Look at pictures of books on Etsy and Pinterest, evaluate which ones you stop on, and try to recreate what is effective.

Etsy gives you up to 10 photos, so once you get a few good ones of your book, use the remaining ones to promote your brand and your story as an independent author.

Screen Shot 2019-06-11 at 9.16.32 AM.png

Tags and Categories

Etsy SEO is its own monster, but the easiest way to get started is to think of search phrases that you can use for your book. “Coworker gift” “Mother’s Day Gift” “Retro Hardcover Book” “Geek gift” These phrases become your tags, and you should repeat the most important ones in the body text of your listing.

Using Ads Strategically

There are three ad types you can utilize right from Etsy: Facebook ads, Google Shopping ads, and Promoted listings. By far, I see the best returns from Promoted Listings.

Screen Shot 2019-06-11 at 9.22.34 AM.png

Promoted listings are the first line of returned search results on Etsy. You can set a daily promotional limit and a CPC (cost per click) limit and, in turn, get to make sure that your book is seen at the top of Etsy’s search results.

Package like Etsy Buyers Expect

Focus on the idea that your book is a gift, even if the person bought it for themselves. Etsy buyers appreciate (and some expect) their book to be packaged in a thoughtful, artistic way.

Screen Shot 2019-06-11 at 9.23.42 AM.png

Consider inexpensive, beautiful elements to make your buyer smile when they open their package, and don’t pass up on this opportunity to include printed inserts further promoting your books and your brand!

Save Your Sanity on Logistics

The great news is that Etsy makes dealing with order fulfillment super-simple. Box up a sample of your book and weigh it, and Etsy will use this to automatically both bill the customer for shipping AND generate a printable shipping label for you.

Screen Shot 2019-06-11 at 9.24.56 AM.png

But don’t rush to fill every order as it comes in. Batch-processing all your orders once a day, or a couple times a week, will reduce the overall time you spend on it.

Pricing Your Products Well

The great news is that you’ll likely make more per book on Etsy than on other marketplaces, but make sure you’re rolling the cost of all those pretty packaging extra, Etsy fees, etc. into your pricing. Some authors may choose to keep their pricing consistent across all sites, while others may keep the same profit margin per book, and adjust their prices based on what that means in each marketplace.

That’s a pretty good start! The cost of giving Etsy a spin is really low (just 20 cents for one listing that lasts 4 months), so it’s worth exploring to see if it’s a good marketplace for your book!