Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thoughts on Etsy

If you publish comics, and you do not sell them on Etsy, I would highly encourage you to do so. Etsy has been a strange cat for me. Sometime I forget that I even have comics for sale on there until I get an order. I've never been big into the Etsy community. I tried once and didn't get much out of it. But I have done pretty well, in comparison to my other sales efforts.

I set up my Etsy shop on July 14, 2008. My first sale came July 18, 2008. Since then, I've had 147 sales, which averages out to about 5 sales a month. There have been just 4 months that I haven't sold anything, and I've only had a few items (about 5) ever expire.

In comparison to my web sales, this is great. I'd prefer people buy directly from me because Etsy charges a 20 cent listing fee, but I've received fewer than 10 unique sales from my web site and fewer than 20 sales total. So I figure more sales with higher fees are better than no sales with lower fees.

Every now and then a few weeks will pass before I get an Etsy sale, then I'll be surprised with an order. Just the other day, a guy in France purchased all 15 comics I have for sale. Last week, someone purchased six of the same issue, presumably as gifts.

Some people I know, such as Jim Coon, do really really well on Etsy. He's sold 1,017 items since September 2005. That's a lot of comics! I've asked him before how he gets so many sales and he told me that he participates in the Etsy community a lot. I think the fact that his comics are all a dollar and they are all "cute" and "funny" have a lot to do with it as well. The people who shop on Etsy tend to be the more "arsty" type, so stuff like self-published comics are more appealing to them than, say, average comic book fans.

Overall, Etsy is a positive asset in my comic making experience. I never envisioned it to by one of my primary sales channels. It is my second highest sales channel, behind selling directly to stores via Tony Shenton and my own efforts.

Etsy is also a great place to discover new comics. I try to purchase a new mini-comic on there at least once a month. It's nice because there are plenty of items from which to choose (currently 1,083 under the "comics" tab), and if you're broke, you can easily search for $1 comics, which I often do.

This last bit ties into a challenge, if you will, that I intend to develop and promote for 2011. I will have more information about this in the coming weeks. It loosely ties into the Revenge of Print challenge, but focuses more on promoting mini-comics. Details soon...


Daniel W. Taylor said...

Thanks for the information. I'll give Etsy a try. Have you set up an Ecrater site yet? I've done very well with mine.

Josh Blair said...

I've been on ecrater a few times, but never set one up. I should do that, though. I did set up a Storenvy account a few months ago, but I've yet to have a sale.

Colin Tedford said...

Interesting! I totally snubbed Etsy because of the listing fee (and having already set up Paypal buttons on my site), but maybe I should give it a try.

Tori said...

thanks josh! i was actually considering whether i should sell my comic on etsy or not and i think you swayed me into the yes column. (yeah, i'm in the midst of writing my own comic book right now...well, actually it's all written, it's just a matter of finishing/cleaning up the drawings and formatting it.if you've got time to look at comics of mine you can't put in c.o.m., i'd love to get your opinion, just email me or something.) by the way any news on the next issue?

Josh Blair said...

Colin, I'd definitely recommend selling there. The 20 cent listing fee (on top of the paypal fees) is a bummer, but I'm sure Trees and Hills and your comics would sell consistently well there.

Tori, I'd love to see them. Send them on over. The new issue will be out in January.

Anonymous said...

How can I sort Etsy to get just comics. The tag "comic" gets gazillion tangentially comic-related items.

Can you share any search mojo to help narrow it to comics/zines only?

-- MrJM

Josh Blair said...

Sure thing. Under Categories, click on "Books and Zines" then click on the "Comic" tag on the left.

Colin Tedford said...

Well, I finally did it:

Early retirement, here I come! :P

Josh Blair said...


Good luck. Just don't end up here: