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Affiliate Marketing Can Help Authors Make More Money

Affiliate marketing programs and curation tools help authors make a few more pennies on each sale of your book as well as on other books and products that you recommend. You can set up pages on your website to “curate” a selection of books and products using these links, and use them in e-books, blog… [Read More]

Affiliate marketing for authors by Carla King for BookWorks.com

Affiliate marketing programs and curation tools help authors make a few more pennies on each sale of your book as well as on other books and products that you recommend. You can set up pages on your website to “curate” a selection of books and products using these links, and use them in e-books, blog posts, and social media posts, too.

Who Do You Love?

If you like and trust a product or service and you want to spread the word about it, see if the company has an affiliate program you can join. Another way to find it is by googling affiliate program product name or niche name. It's important to love the products you recommend, and that you have cultivated a trust relationship with your readers.Affiliate marketing for authors by Carla King for BookWorks.com

For example, I am an affiliate for many companies I recommend in my Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Authors in which I recommend Book Design Templates, BookBaby, Scribd, GoDaddy, 48 Hour Books, Book Review Targeter, Legal Zoom, and Grammarly, among others. These companies offer anywhere from 5 percent to a whopping 30 percent of sales. So when you click my link and buy something, I make a little extra money. (Thank you!)

The Affiliate Marketing Industry

Affiliate marketing is a huge industry, and there are lots of blogs and books that can help you figure it out if you are so inclined. My job title is not "Affiliate Marketer," and I don't want to spend my life doing that. But I'm not adverse to grabbing the low-hanging fruit that's just waiting to fall into my bank account. A few extra bucks here and there can add up to hundreds and even thousands, just by creating links to stuff you already recommend.Affiliate marketing for authors by Carla King for BookWorks.com

Leverage Your Niche

Do your books feature babies, pets, high fashion, fitness, perfumes, makeup, or a particular sport? Because I write books on motorcycle and adventure travel, I can make a significant income by reviewing and linking to high-ticket items like dual-sport motorcycle boots ($400+) and inflatable paddleboards ($1000+). Think about it. Five percent of $1000 is $50, and if I sell 10 paddleboards with my affiliate link, that’s $500. Add a few pairs of motorcycle boots and some books, an espresso maker for camping, and a backpack or two, I start to see that small money add up to big money in my bank account.

 

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Affiliate Marketing Platforms

Here are a few platforms you may be interested in using, in alphabetical order:

Aerio - aer.io

Upload your own books to Aerio and choose from their inventory of fourteen million print books, gifts, games, and more to create a curated storefront on your website to make a small percentage of each sale made through a page on your own website. I use Aerio to curate books on motorcycle adventure travel on my Misadventures Media site. Notice that in the SHOP menu item, I've got five more categories of books that I recommend (curate) to readers in this interest group.

I use Aerio to curate books on motorcycle adventure travel on my Misadventures Media site. Notice that, in the SHOP menu item, I've got five categories of books that I recommend (curate) to readers in this interest group.

Affiliate marketing for authors by Carla King for BookWorks.com

Amazon Associates - affiliate-program.amazon.com

Sign up for the Amazon Associates affiliate program and make a few pennies on your own book and other books and products that you recommend. You can post reviews of books on your own website or create store pages with your affiliate links.

They have lots of cool options beyond text links, such as banner ads like the one below for the Kindle Oasis.

Affiliate marketing for authors by Carla King for BookWorks.com

This is a perfectly appropriate "ad" to put on any of your blog posts or web pages, don't you think?

CJ Affiliate - cj.com/what-is-affiliate-marketing

CJ is the biggest online affiliate platform. They have a great “What is Affiliate Marketing?” section on their website that will explain the Advertiser-Publisher-Consumer relationship and how it works. Once you register for an account you can search for advertisers by keywords, such as “fashion” or “motorcycle gear” or “cats.” You may be surprised at the brands you find listed there.

Affiliate marketing for authors by Carla King for BookWorks.com

This high-performing blog post reviewing adventure touring motorcycle boots has made me thousands of dollars.

I hooked up with a motorcycle gear company called Revzilla on CJ and I make a lot of money there. My largest income stream comes from a single blog post titled "Dual-Sport Adventure Touring Motorcycle Boot Review." Check it out and you'll see why.

Note that the article links to a discussion group on my Facebook page. I didn't realize what a smart move that was until I saw how many times my link was repeated by other people who shared or discussed the post.

Another factor working in your favor with affiliate programs is that once consumers reach a site using your link, anything and everything they buy is credited to you. When a reader clicks through to the online Revzilla catalog from my blog post they may end up buying a thousand bucks worth of jackets, pants, under armor, gloves, and socks. They might purchase a motorcycle helmet, or tires, a BlueTooth headset, or leather panniers. This company offers free returns and is candy for motorcyclists.

Almost everybody offers sale pricing at one time or another, especially before the holidays, so it's nice to be able to pass on those savings opportunities to my readers.

Other platforms you may use for affiliate marketing include ShareASale, ClickBank, FlexOffers, PepperJam, VigLink (for blogs), and AffiliateWindow (based in the EU).

Smashwords - smashwords.com/about/affiliate

Sign up for the Smashwords affiliate program and make a little extra on your own book and other books you recommend when you use affiliate links. As with Amazon, you could post reviews of books on your own web page with affiliate links to Smashwords. It's this easy:Affiliate marketing for authors by Carla King for BookWorks.com

It's So Easy

Affiliate marketing is too easy to pass up. All you do is sign up, search for a product, and then choose a simple text link or an HTML snippet to add to your web page or blog post to display a banner or image. Here's how it works on cj.com:Affiliate marketing for authors by Carla King for BookWorks.com

I simply searched for the inflatable SUP ad I wanted, then grabbed the HTML code to insert in a blog post. My special link is embedded in this code. I could have clicked "JavaScript" (I never use these) or "Click URL" to get a simple text link to embed in social media post.

Full Disclosure

The FTC makes it illegal to use affiliate links without disclosing them. This means that you need to let readers know that purchasing something using your link will benefit you financially. What the FTC cares about is misleading advertising. I checked in with sister BookWorks blogger Helen Sedwick, author of the Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook {affiliate}, who assured me that, "Legally speaking, if you are endorsing a product and you honestly recommend it, then you are not being misleading. To be even safer, you should let readers know you receive an affiliate payment if they purchase products after clicking on your links."

The Application Process

Many companies understandably want to make sure that their product is being advertised by a respected professional in the field or at least by someone who is in a related industry. This protects their brand against being included in clickbait advertising on the web and social media, which can alienate future customers.

If you are denied at first, you can send a quick email to the contact listed and make your case. I was turned down by a couple of companies until I sent them a short email explaining the relevance of the product to my audience with links to similar content.

Being Social Makes It WorkAffiliate marketing for authors by Carla King for BookWorks.com

The best way to make affiliate marketing work is by promoting books, products, and services that you would recommend even if you wouldn't get any money from it. Your success requires that you build a strong platform; that is, knowing your audience, being known in your niche, and being active on social media and blogging.

I've found that the incentive of making extra income gives me the motivation I need to craft posts and pages I may have otherwise put off. I like recommending good products to my tribes in the self-publishing and adventure niches. It helps me feel relevant and keeps me connected to professionals and consumers in these industries.


Are you using affiliate links? Got any more tips? I'd love to hear about your experiences and any questions you have.


If you haven't seen the new version of BookWorks, please check us out for more great content like this and join our community of indie authors, editors, coaches, designers, marketers, bloggers and other self-publishing pros.


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