Welcome to Day 28 of How to Earn $ From Sewing and Quilting! This week we are talking about Designing and Selling Patterns, and today I want to talk about How and Where to Format and Sell Patterns.
I think really this should be two posts…. but I am running out of days in October.. so I will squish this into one!! I can always go into more depth some other day… so let’s look at formatting patterns first and how to do that…
How and Where to Format Sewing and Quilting Patterns
Gone are the days of handwritten patterns… well, almost I guess.. I do have some handwritten crochet and knitting patterns.. and some scribbled quilt patterns.. but if you want to sell them, this won’t cut it 🙂
So by how and where to format patterns, I mean which programs to use to create the pattern and then which file format to save it in….
I use the following programs to write and format my patterns and ebooks:
- Word or the equivalent free Google Docs
- Publisher – this is my favorite for ebooks, so easy to move graphics and text boxes around
I have heard of some people using Powerpoint or the Google Slides equivalent, but I don’t have as much experience with Powerpoint as I do with the above programs.
Using Word or Google Docs to Format Patterns
I have been a long time user of Office and so am very familiar with Word. It is easy to use, easy to format text, add page numbers, tables, and other things you will need. I find adding graphics and getting the text to wrap around or beside not as easy as in Publisher, however.
Google Docs is a good free option. All you need is an account and the docs are on the web, so you can access them from any device. It’s also a great way to share with others who may be testing or proofreading. You can give them permission to access your document and they can then add comments to it. I have used this for a few projects where I have collaborated with others and I quite like it.
Once you have your pattern looking the way it is, you can convert it to a PDF file.
In Word you click File – Save As – then click on the drop down menu for the file type and select pdf
In Google Docs you click on File – Download as – PDF document
Using Publisher to Format Patterns
I have been using Publisher for… well… let me see over 20 years now! I have used it for making newsletters, ebooks, homeschooling materials and all sorts of things. Because I have used it for desktop publishing for so long, I am more comfortable with it than other programs, and it is my go to program to make printables, ebooks and patterns.
The best thing with Publisher is that it is much easier to insert and move graphics and pictures around. Since patterns can have a lot of both, I’d rather use this than Word.
Again, it is easy to turn the document into a PDF by clicking on File – Save as – and choosing pdf as the file type.
Why Use the PDF Format?
PDF stands for Portable Document Format and it is a file that is compatible across many platforms. Not everyone has bought a copy of Microsoft Office….. so if you are selling a pattern in a Word document format, they may not be able to open it. This is especially true of Publisher files, because Publisher doesn’t always come in the standard Office subscription. So using a pdf takes away the hassle of having to own the original program the file was made in.
PDFs are the most common way to sell patterns online, and should be able to be opened on any electronic device.
How and Where to Sell Sewing and Quilting Patterns
Once you have your patterns ready to sell, how and where do you sell them?
There are two ways you can do this:
- hard copy
- soft copy
Selling Patterns Hard Copy
Hard copy is where the pattern is printed out and you can hold it in your hands 🙂 A “real” book… where you can turn the pages…
Pros of Selling Hard Copy Patterns
- Many people still like the feel of a real book….
- You can open to the right page of the pattern and have it sitting next to you as you work…
- It looks nice on a bookshelf 🙂
Cons of Selling Hard Copy Patterns
- For the designer, it costs to print the books and patterns
- For the user, books and patterns take up space
Where Can You Sell Hard Copy Patterns?
If you choose to print out your patterns and ebooks you can sell them from your own website or from somewhere like Etsy. You can also go into quilt shops and ask them if they will stock your patterns. You may leave them there on consignment, or they might order wholesale from you.
Selling Patterns Soft Copy
Soft copy is where the pattern is digital and usually in a pdf format. Other ebook formats can be epub or specially made for kindle.
Pros of Selling Soft Copy Patterns
- There are no printing costs for the designer, so a very low cost setup
- Epatterns and ebooks are becoming more and more popular – it is the new “in” way to sell
- Soft copy patterns take up less physical space, so many people prefer to have their patterns as pdfs stored on their computers or other devices
- You can make backups of your soft copy patterns – less likely to lose them due to floods, fires or moving house too often 🙂
Cons of Selling Soft Copy Patterns
- It is easier for people to share the patterns and not buy them. However, this can also be done with hard copy by photocopying.
- Depending on where you sell your patterns, you may have charges for listing or selling
- While epatterns are popular, they are not as easy to have sitting next to your sewing machine…. usually the screen saver goes on and you have to touch the screen to get going again, so not as easy as just glancing at a printed pattern.
Where Can You Sell Soft Copy Patterns?
Can you sell Hard and Soft Copy Patterns?
Of course! And this is what I plan to do when I get …ahem… organized and get my patterns back up for sale!!!!! Ah.. time… anyone got some extra to give me?!
While I do like the look of hard copy patterns and books, I am now mostly buying soft copies. Because I move a lot it is so much handier to have all my patterns on my computer. I can save them to the cloud and open them on my tablet as well… so for me it works much better.
There is sooo much more to be said about this topic… but that is all for today… I’d love to know:
Do you prefer “real” patterns and books or digital ones?
Tomorrow we have a special guest! Come back tomorrow for Designing and Selling Patterns – Featuring Michelle Ridgway!
PS Please remember I am answering your comments in the comment section below and not via email like I usually do. Sorry for the hassle, but I am hoping this month we can share ideas!
PPS The main page of this series is here along with links to each post for this series.
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