Monday, April 13, 2015

It's Not That Much Longer Until Artful Gathering 2015

It's always delightful when you get an email that brings an immediate smile to your face, takes you a long time to read, and is saved to be read again.

Such was the case with the email from Zinnia Galliher with a link to the Artful Gathering 2015 Workshop Catalog.

This will be my 4th year taking online classes at Artful Gathering and I can hardy wait. I have loved each and every class I've taken there as the instructors are fantastic and the classes are always delightful. I've had a blast in each class learning something new and, best of all, making wonderful new friends.

Last year there were so many fabulous classes to choose from it was hard to decide. This year, based on the workshop catalog in my email, it will be nearly impossible to choose.  There are just SO MANY wonderful online classes that I want to take.

Truth be told, I want to take them all, but that is definitiely not possible. So, choose I must - but, oh, how difficult that will be.

So far I have my eye on the following:

Mary Jane Chadbourne - Session 2 - Tiny Topia & The Magic of Little Things
Rosemary Frew - Session 1 - Baby Carrot - Session 2 - Petit LaPin
Hally Levesque - Session 1- Bonnets & Bows: A Regency Doll Project
Joanna Grant - Session 2 - Mixed Media FX: The Hottest Techniques For The Coolest Effects
Judy Porter - Session 2 - Out On A Whim Art Doll
Susan Myers - Session 2 - Boite A Couture
David H. Everett - Session 1 - Making A Santa Advent Calendar
Lyn Belisle - Session 1 - The Magic Of Spirit Dolls

Session 1 runs from June 6 to July 17 and Session 2 runs from July 16 to August 16,  

Several months ago Zinnia also created a 2014 Artful Gathering yearbook of last years online retreat. It was filled with event highlights and wonderful pictures of student creations. 

I'm on the back cover (Page 56) with a page filled with pictures of the creations I have made over the last 3 years.

If you've always wanted to take an online art and/or craft class you won't be disappointed in any of the Artful Gathering classes.

Hope to see you there.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

I'm An Independent Crafts Pattern Designer - Where Can I Sell My E-Patterns?

I often get asked by independent crafts pattern designers where they can sell their e-patterns so I thought it might be helpful to create a blog post about this.

To give you a little background on me I'm a doll maker and doll pattern designer and have had websites for over 10 years.  I created two of my own websites that I updated to Godaddy via FTP and also managed and maintained two websites that were hosted through In A Pickle Web Design: one an instant download e-pattern, e-printable, and e-book website using MyCartToGo e-commerce software and Mals-E shopping cart and one selling handmade goods and crafts.

Now I have 1 consolidated Linda Walsh Originals Shop website at Go-Daddy that I maintain that uses a Quick Cart shopping which allows me to sell all my handmade goods and e-products on the same website.  Over the years I've created many, many, many selling and non-selling blogs.

I've been selling my doll and craft patterns and e-patterns online since 2004 and have designed over 350 e-patterns, over 30 e-books, over 20 e-printables, and several e-catalogs. To say I love instant download e-products might be an understatement. I've been in love with .pdf instant download e-products since they first came on the scene in 2004 and have tried all sorts of different venues.

Some I like, some I don't. Some have come and gone, some are free, some are very expensive, some are for specific types of patterns, some are commercial sellers websites, etc. Some are websites that do it all, some are websites that provide html code so you can sell your e-patterns on your website or your blog, some are handmade craft websites where you can list your e-patterns and then send them as an email attachment to your customer, some are websites that provide a download integration for your Etsy shoppe, some are social networking websites that allow for selling, etc. And, some are website designers and e-commerce carts that provide you with the capability of selling instant download e-patterns on your own website.

The online crafts e-pattern, e-printable, and e-book craft industry has been slowly developing over the last decade and, as far as I'm concerned, is still in it's infancy. There's plenty of room for growth and, I'm sure, plenty of room for change. Which venue is best for you is based on what you're selling, what your experience is, what your skill level is, and how much time you can devote to this. Selling e-patterns online as an independent pattern designer is a LONG SLOW process that requires nerves of steel and a lot of PATIENCE. It is not for the faint of heart or those hoping to make a quick buck. That just is not going to happen.

If you’re an artist or crafter who has created e-patterns you might be wondering how you go about selling them. Where do you store your e-patterns and how do you sell instant downloads? Whether its e-patterns or e-books you first need to create a .PDF (Portable Document Format) file which is your electronic product. Once you have created the .PDF file then with the e-patterns there are basically two ways to get the .pdf file to your customer.

1) You can send them yourself as attachments to an email once you have been notified of payment by the customer.

2) They can be sent automatically or available in one's account as "instant download e-patterns" once payment has been made.

So, what kind of online set-up do you need to accomplish this?

1) You can have your own website that has Paypal (or other payment processors) payment buttons capabilities. Once you have received notification from Paypal of payment you can send the e-pattern to your customer as an attachment to an e-mail.

2) You can have a blog that has HTML capabilities in the sidebar or posts that allow you to create Paypal (or other payment processors) payment buttons. Once you have received notification from Paypal of payment you can send the e-pattern to your customer as an attachment to an e-mail.

3) You can have your own website or blog that allows for HTML modules in the sidebar or posts whereby you can copy/paste the BUY NOW digital goods e-commerce shopping cart providers HTML code. In this instance they provide a service whereby they store your e-products on their servers and provide you with a BUY NOW (or similar) button link. When your customer clicks on that Buy Now link then the payment process would begin. Once payment has been made an email will automatically be sent to the customer with the e-pattern download link. They click on the link and follow the prompts to download your e-product. They charge you a fee for this service.

4) You can have your own website that has e-commerce instant download shopping cart capabilities that will send your customer the download link for their e-pattern via email once payment has been made to you.

5) You can have your own website that has e-commerce instant download shopping cart capabilities that will put the download link in the customer's account once payment has been made to you.

6) You can utilize a third-party website with an e-commerce shopping cart provider that has "instant download capabilities." Once payment has been made by the customer the software will automatically generate an email to the customer with the download link. Depending on their set-up you can either: a) upload your .PDF files onto their servers, b) transfer your .PDF files via FTP (file transfer protocol), or c) send them as attachments to an email to them. It all depends on how the e-pattern website is set up. The e-pattern website owners collect payment and then remit to you once they have been paid and have deducted their fee, or they may have a system in place to automatically pay you once the customer has paid. They may charge a monthly fee or charge a % of the sale price and/or both.

7) You can utilize a third-party handmade goods marketplace or community website to create a shop for you to sell your handmade goods and/or e-patterns. Once you have been notified of payment you can send the e-pattern to the customer as an attachment to an e-mail. Sometimes these third-party handmade goods marketplaces or communities have apps that can work in conjunction with your shop and automatically send the customer an email with the e-pattern download link once payment has been made.

If you're an independent crafts pattern designer and you want to sell your e-patterns online, but aren't quite ready for your own website you might want to check out the following websites: