Digital Pattern Sales: etsy woes

I’m starting to think selling my patterns in my etsy store, The Yarn Office, was a bad idea. Ravelry is so great in how they handle patterns that I just somehow took for granted that etsy would behave in a similar way, but no, it doesn’t. Let me explain …

A good friend of is making my Pasithea Baby Blanket pattern as a gift for her nephew, who’s expecting his first child in August or September (I’m fuzzy on the details). She’s a fantastic writer and editor and found a few mistakes that my tech editor and I missed – I swear, no matter how many people carefully proof and edit, there are always a few niggling problems that escape into the wild. In this case, one was minor (two mislabeled subsections) and one was more serious (transposed instructions).

As soon as my friend pointed these out to me, I updated the source file (InDesign) and created a new PDF for revision 3 of the pattern. I asked my friend to let me know when Ravelry notified her of the update – Ravelry notifies pattern buyers when a pattern is updated so they can download the updated version – and discovered there was a catch: she didn’t buy it on Ravelry, she was super sweet and gave The Yarn Office some traffic & a sale.

The problem: etsy doesn’t have an easy way – or really, a way at all – to send an update or let purchasers know that one is available. I can go into the past orders for the shop and track down each buyer’s email address and, I suppose, email them an updated file. That’s fine for the moment since I have so few sales of that pattern, but what happens if/when I get more and it becomes more cumbersome and time consuming to send an update? I could add a note to my pattern template with my website, aka this blog, or Ravelry and start keeping track of corrections here/there. I could also just wash my hands of it and put a warning in the product description that the patterns won’t be updated, an option I really don’t like. Or I could just pull them all off of etsy and only offer them on Ravelry. And oh yeah, Craftsy.

I need to noodle this through and really decide what my goal is with the etsy shop. I’ve put far more money into it than I’ve gotten out of it. Perhaps it’s time to put it on vacation mode for a while and revisit it when I have more clarity (and better things to sell).

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Author: madgeface

I knit, crochet, spin, and have done some experimenting with weaving and natural dye. I’m also a technical writer, mom to 3 boys, and enjoy gardening.

3 thoughts on “Digital Pattern Sales: etsy woes”

  1. Recently removed all my patterns from etsy for similar reasons! The endless fees are annoying, plus as you say is not well designed for pattern sales, and I also had a lot of very weird, kind of attention-seeking questions on there for some reason. Love ravelry and craftsy for patterns (and I stick with eBay for selling handmade items for ease of use) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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