As a buyer, you will find tons of free and low priced resources that you can download today to use tomorrow. I would much rather support a teacher in the trenches than a big publishing company. There are resources that range from one page to over a hundred pages. Every subject, every type of resource you can imagine. Everyday, teachers across the globe add to this growing site.
If you are the creative type, rest assured, you can make money selling your original work on TPT. There are sellers making everything from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. It doesn't cost anything to join and get started. As a Basic Seller, you earn 60% of the price you set for your product. TPT takes 40% + .30 cents per transaction. You can also sign up as a Premium Seller (which I highly recommend). As a Premium Seller you pay a yearly membership of $59.95. You earn an 85% royalty on your sales with no transaction fee. It is definitely worth it!
You can create your products in many different formats. Most sellers create products in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, and change their files to PDF format before uploading to TPT. You can also upload zip files if you have more than one file type, or a large file. Once you've created your product you go to your "Manage My Account" tab and click on the "Post a New Item" button. You will enter a title, description, price, and other information. You can add up to four pictures and a preview of your product as well. The motto at TPT is "create and wait". Once your products are up for sale, you just sit back and watch your sales roll in. You are paid once per quarter by Paypal (if you earn less than $500) or by check (if you earn more than $500).
3. Join Teacher 2 Teacher. T2T is a collaborative blog featuring TPT sellers. It's totally free too! You can add your TPT store and if you blog or have a website, you can add that too. You can contribute articles and participate in the Thursday Round-Up.
4. Create and wait. The summer (June & July) is the slowest time on TPT. This is a time that a lot of sellers spend creating new products. The magic begins in August and continues through May (when things begin to slow down). It may take a little time for your products to get noticed, but believe me, they will get noticed! Things tend to start happening very quickly on TPT. Don't feel discouraged if your sales do not match a veteran seller. You need time to build up your name and repeat customers.
5. Learn everything you can about marketing. Marketing can kick your sales up several notches. It takes time and patience to build up a following, but once you do, you will not regret the time spent promoting your store.
Tips for Creating and Selling Your Products
1. Your original work is automatically protected by copyright law as soon as you type it up. You cannot copyright an idea, only the expression of an idea. It's a good idea to include the copyright symbol, date, and your name at the bottom of all of your pages.
2. I have found that I can create my products in PowerPoint (portrait) much easier than in Word. It's easier to manipulate graphics and text around. Once I create my product, I save it as a PDF file.
3. The great thing about creating products in PowerPoint is that I can save individual slides (or every slide) as a jpeg. I always create a "cover" with a big, colorful picture and title. This helps draw the eyes of potential buyers. You must upload your cover picture first in order for it to show up as your main picture in the listings.
4. Select three more pictures from your files. I try to pick the most eye appealing pages to use for pictures.
5. A preview is a good thing! You don't want to give away your files in the preview, and you definitely want to describe the product in detail. You can create another PowerPoint file to create your preview. Add your jpegs, resize them, and put a frame around the pictures to make your preview you look sharp and professional. Don't forget to add a link to your TPT store! Your preview should not be "just an advertisement', but it really is an ad for all of your products. One product purchase can certainly lead to another.
6. You must upload one free product before you can begin selling, however, a lot of sellers continue to add free products to their catalog. Free products are a great way to draw new customers. You want to make sure your free product is as valuable and presentable as your paid products. The rule of thumb among the experienced sellers is to give away approximately 10% of your products.
7. Add clipart to your products! It's important that you use public domain clipart or purchase clipart with the right to use it on your products. Popular sites for buying clipart include: Graphics Factory, Fotolia, Scrappindoodles, and Digi Web Studios.
8. Think about your product from a buyer's point of view. Give clear, concise directions. Keep your materials generic so that anyone can use them (don't put your name, school name, etc.). Don't crowd your pages -try on some white space. Make your products look nice. Flip through your favorite resource books. What catches your eye? What do you like? What you do you not like? Don't forget to include the answer key!
9. I have found that I tend to start more projects than I finish. I set up a TPT folder on my desktop. Inside the TPT folder, I a have folder for each product category I create. Inside the product category folders, I have a "Published" folder and a "Products in Progress" folder. Each product has its own separate folder. As I'm working on a product I keep it in the "Products in Progress" folder. I move it to the "Published" folder after I upload it to TPT. When I can't think of a new idea, I just browse my "Products in Progress" folders to see what I need to finish up!
10. Edit, edit, edit! Okay, I am the first to confess that I'm not perfect. I bet you could probably find a typo or grammatical error in this post. It's important that we do our best to edit our work carefully. Chances are someone will find a mistake (a buyer, a student). I fix it and move on. That's all you can do, but do try to do your best up front.
Tips for Marketing Your Products
1. You can follow sellers on TPT. Each time a seller posts a new item, you get an email alert. The more followers you have -the better. I always add an advertising page to the end of my products. I include links to my TPT storefront, specific products, my blog, website, twitter, and Facebook. I also encourage buyers to leave positive feedback if they liked my product, and to follow me on TPT to learn about my newest products. Your TPT followers are a built in market. They are following you because they like your style!
2. You don't have to have a blog or website and be a member of social media sites to sell on TPT, but it certainly helps. The point of these sites isn't to just sell your stuff, but to build a following, earn name recognition, and develop a relationship with potential buyers. All of your efforts leads to your TPT store.
3. I put out a monthly newsletter. I was late in the newsletter game, and I deeply regret it. I've had my website up and running for several years, but I just started my newsletter a couple of years ago. It takes time to build up subscribers, but once again, you are creating a built in audience of potential buyers. I include teaching articles in my newsletter. Just like a blog, a newsletter shouldn't be just about selling something.
4. TPT has a built in newsletter you can send out to your followers. You can only send it once a month, but it's a great way to share upcoming sales, promotions, and new products.
5. Join the TPT forums and start networking. Cross promoting with other sellers is a great way to get your name out there. Sellers join together to promote their products through their blogs and social media outlets. They also collectively work on contests and sales together.
The tips here are only the tip of the iceberg. A lot like TPT itself. As with any young and successful site there will be copycats. TPT is the original. Come ride the wave!