This month’s Thoughts on Shops takes a look at the amazing little corner of Etsy that writer and maker Jenn Flynn-Shon of Phoenix, Arizona calls Writesy. Jenn writes blogs, articles, zines, novels and prose and is finishing up her first full-length fiction book to be released this spring. YAY for Jenn!
Writesy’s banner totally works! It immediately makes me think of a writer sitting with her morning cup of coffee, pen in hand, stringing together some heartfelt words that will change the world. It is really great branding for a shop with that intention. The only change I would make is to add her tagline – novelist, poet, student of the world – to her banner in a smaller, lighter font.
This will also free up Jenn’s shop title (which is key to great SEO) to read something that a buyer would be searching for – example – Original Zine Books, Flip Books & More
I am not sure her banner imagery works as well as an avatar (I have a bias toward seeing our faces there – don’t be afraid to get personal, it’s what separates us from the big boys with the mass produced stuff and the ugly kissers) – I thought when I saw this avatar that Writesy was words on pottery – something to think about maybe!
The goods – Writesy creates these adorable mini flipbooks from salvaged paper and copies of her original acid-free marker artwork.
Typically flipbooks are more geared to imagery than words, so Writesy’s inspirational flipbooks are a very unique idea!
People always want to know what they are buying, so I would definitely add more pictures of the book’s pages. They can’t hold them in their hands and flip through them, so we have to figure out a way to create that experience for them in the virtual world!
I would want people to see how my flipbook looks when flipped – a youtube video of each flipbook in action would be a great link in each listing.
Youtube has excellent SEO (google almost anything and some of the first listings are videos) and Jenn could post the video on her blog and add the link to her listing.
Jenn’s flipbooks are super-inexpensive, so I would look for ways to add value to get the prices up (like she does with her sets), maybe create sets with the same books – it may be a hard sell to package the football book with the more general inspirational books – show people how cool they are when flipped, create books with targeted themes for specific occasions, etc to create a great add-on gift that could be way more amazing than a card, start thinking ‘niche’ so that a Day in Nine (a day in nine pages) becomes The Day I Aced My Test
(I am just thinking out loud …) – something a customer could put in a child’s lunchbox with inspiration about the big test, or The Day I Quit Smoking – for some pocket inspiration, etc – you can definitely come up with better themes than these which may be pretty lame, but you get the idea!
For writers you probably have to write what you have to write and then find the customer for that – for the flipbooks I would flip that around and make what the customer wants to buy of course always in line with your intention for your business and your life as a tragically misunderstood smoker who will one day have an illicit affair with a rock star!
I would take a look at your pricing – the bookmarks are more than the books, etc. The shipping doesn’t look like it would cover the packaging. I would probably add the shipping into the cost and just offer free shipping.
I love the small but scrappy life story zine (this one has the most pics of the inside, so customers can really know what they are getting and it looks amazing) – maybe adding a blank book to the same listing that the customer can use to tell their own story would create interest – people love personalized stuff and most people love to talk about themselves. It would also make a great gift to encourage a wannabe writer.
Pictures – On Etsy a picture really is worth a thousand words – our pics have to be amazing.
I would definitely work at creating more visual interest – a picture of someone flipping the book or holding out the book (model shots always get the most views in my shops) or reading the books would be great. Varying the angles and getting the camera really close to the subject for that first picture always helps. Re-cropping to make sure you get a great thumbnail ie the Trying for the Moon book first pic (I am not sure if the text is purposefully blurry for this listing, but I would definitely show some clear pics of the text and include some of your writing in the listing, too!) – the contrast between the dark wood and the light paper is a little harsh, so maybe something a little warmer and lighter for the background would be better. I would do an Etsy search and see how these pictures stand out on a page of similar items.
Marketing – Writesy has two great, active blogs. I would definitely look to blog some writing that is for sale – blog the first chapter and then link to the book (it is always a good idea to give away some “free” to build a fanbase and Jenn does a great job of offering her writing for free on her blogs), blog a poem and then link to the book that includes that poem and more.
Writing for other blogs is a great way to get your name out there and get people seeking out your writing.
Thinking about how people use the products (do they carry the flipbook with them – ie an inspirational flipbook about money to be carried in a wallet to attract more money, is it an add-on gift that replaces a card – ie an inspirational flipbook about change and growth for a birthday) –
her intention (if what Jenn really wants with her Etsy store is to promote her book writing, then who is reading that and what do they want? if her writing is more quirky, random lunacy then how do her shop offerings reflect that?) –
adding value to her makings to increase her price points, giving away some free sample writing and pics of the items for sale to attract customers to her writing (people need a taste of what they are buying) in each listing, etc are all things that could help Writesy’s shop sales increase!
Tags, Titles, Descriptions, Misc– Zines is a crowded category on Etsy, so tagging and titling is important.
Adding tags and titling with the words Art Zine or Drawing Zine or Zine Book (popular tags customers are searching) would be a good idea. For Jenn’s flipbooks – the flipbook category is not very crowded so it is less important to search common tags and more important to tag for the user. Adding some tags from Etsy’s monthly merchandising report as applicable is always a good idea and keeps things fresh.
Other suggestions would be – add more items for sale as Jenn can (work up to at least 2 full pages), offer a little bit of free (writing sample) with each listing so customers can connect with Jenn’s unique voice, ship outside the U.S. (30% of my sales leave the country). I would rethink the return policy since the items are reproducable and not expensive. I would just say 100% satisfaction guaranteed to assure the customer – people rarely, rarely, return anything at these price points (I totally guarantee this Jenn – of course my guarantees are always paid out in wine corks).
Writesy is a brand new shop and there are so many directions Jenn can go with it to support her writing and add value for her readers. Our businesses must evolve (they are living, breathing things after all) and no one ever opens a shop having it all together, well maybe someone has .. once … but that is not our goal! Our work is about the process which Jenn clearly loves. Cohesiveness will come with time as Jenn focuses like a laser beam on her intention for her business. Anything is possible for this multi-talented Eco-Etsian!
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