Every author who has a book for sale on Amazon.com should be enrolled in the Amazon Associates affiliate program. Even if you don’t have a book on Amazon, you can still profit from this program by promoting other books or products using your affiliate link.
Just sign up for an Associates account, then create affiliate links to place on your website for your own books and any other books or products you’d like to promote. As an Associate, you will earn a commission (called a referral fee) each time someone clicks on one of your affiliate links and purchases the product. This is extra revenue, above and beyond whatever you normally make when you sell a book on Amazon.com.
Even better, you’re paid a commission on anything else the customer purchases during the same shopping session on Amazon. So if they put your book in their shopping cart, then decide to purchase a Kindle or a new vacuum cleaner, you get commissions on those items as well.
The amount of the commission depends on the type of product and your monthly sales volume, but it ranges from 4% to 10% of the total purchase made by the customer. You can read the fine print and find a commission chart here. You can’t use your affiliate link when you make personal purchases on Amazon.
To get started, sign up for an Associates account at https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/. You will be assigned an Associates ID, usually a string of numbers or letters ending in 20. To create a link that will give you credit for sales, use this formula:
Replace “ASSOCIATESID” with your own Associates ID
Replace “ASIN” with the Amazon product ID. For books, use the ISBN-10 (10-digit ISBN). For other products, look for the ASIN. Both are located in the Product Details section of the product page.
Check your product link to make sure there are no extra spaces, and test it to make sure it works. There are also some link building tools on the Amazon Associates page, and you can even create banner ads or a whole store full of products.
What other products could you promote? Feature complementary, non-competing books that would appeal to the people who read your books. If you’re a cookbook author, you can link to your favorite cooking gadgets for sale on Amazon. If you’ve written a travel book or a book on photography, you could link to cameras. Think about how the product categories on Amazon.com tie to your book and use your imagination.
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This is a reprint of an article that originally appeared in Dana Lynn Smith‘s The Savvy Book Marketer newsletter for November 2009. You can subscribe to the Newsletter for free here, on The Savvy Book Marketer site (see signup box near the middle of the left-hand column of the site).