Last night, I was up at 4am reading a terrible book on how to be a successful Etsy seller. It was so badly written that I tried to find the author and offer them my services but they had no obvious social presence and I think the book was not something anyone had spent too much time on. It was one in a long line of marketing books that are priced low and designed for a quick sale.
I also read one or two very well written books by people who genuinely had experience in selling and wanted to share it with others. The well-written books inspired me to share with you some things I would have told the badly-written book’s author if they’d been around. If it helps anyone then it will have been worth it.
So here they are:
The seven things I learnt from badly written books
1. With a good / professional book cover, you’ll get some readers even if your book is terrible. If your book and cover are both good then you’ll have a much better chance of keeping those readers.
2. Make sure your chapters are numbered consecutively. The chapters of the bad book went from 12 to 14 with no 13. It didn’t inspire me with confidence and it wasn’t even the worst thing about it. There were also numbered sections interspersed throughout the book and not confined to the chapters. I was very confused.
3. Website names are proper nouns so you don’t need to use ‘the’ in front of them. The Facebook or the Etsy is just wrong.
4. If you’re going to copy and use text straight from a website you’re writing about, make sure you format it so that it’s obvious it is not your writing; indent and leave space above and below, or use quotation marks at the beginning and end of the text.
5. Use specific examples rather than general talk around an issue. For example, if you’re writing to tell people about how to promote their shops on etsy, give examples and directions.
Bad example from a book that shall remain nameless – I have not skipped any content, the following is the entirety of what was written in that section. I read the whole book and there was no better advice:
“The Etsy has millions of buyers and a variety of business stores with them; therefore, you will get lots of opportunities to sell your products. You can work without prior experience because the experts in the team and online labs will help you to grow your business.”
Good example from a helpful book:
“The Etsy Blogs should be your last stop, because it is going to be important to remember what you learn there. Under the Blogs tab are links to the Etsy Blog, Etsy News Blog and the Seller Handbook.
You may wish to scan the News Blog and see what is going on, but the Seller handbook is the real reason that we are looking at this tab. The handbook contains dozens of outstanding articles for both beginning and experienced Etsians. The articles are provided by the Etsy staff. They focus on providing tips to organize your business, price goods and develop your brand.
Before I built my shop, I read all of the applicable posts in the Handbook. There is a lot of information that can help you to develop a profitable business on Etsy. There are two final pages to visit: 1) Etsy Seller Guidelines at https:// www.etsy.com/ help/ article/ 4507 2) Etsy Seller FAQs at https:// www.etsy.com/ help/ topics? ref = help_faq_suggestion”
(From – Etsy Empire by Eric Michael)
6. Make sure your first page (at least!) makes sense. Get someone else to read your work for you. There’s a lot of talk about beta readers these days, which is just a way of saying people who will give you feedback. Don’t ask family and friends unless they like your genre or style of writing. They’re bound to be biased.
But who else can you ask because for most of us, we only know and stay in touch with family and friends? Maybe ask your friends then but try to ensure they like the kind of thing you are writing about and are able to provide useful feedback. If not completely unbiased, they could at least provide a sense check on your writing.
7. Remember to provide your contact details such as your social media accounts and any website details. Don’t use URL shortcuts because they might stop working.
I hope these are helpful in some way. It would be nice to think that my 4am frustrations with books that aren’t great, weren’t for nothing.
Some other helpful tips can be found in this Book Helpline ebook.