Join the Amazon Affiliate Program

When you self-publish your book, for instance using the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program, you know that you will receive royalties for each book you sell, but did you know you can make an extra buck on each sale by joining the Amazon Affiliate Program in several territories?

I joined the Amazon affiliate programs on amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, amazon.fr, amazon.es, and amazon.it.

Once you are logged in as an Amazon affiliate—for instance, on amazon.co.uk, you will see a SiteStripe on top of each corresponding Amazon page—in this case an amazon.co.uk page. This stripe allows you to create Text links, Image links, and a combination of Text + Image, or to promote your book on Facebook or Twitter.

Amazon Affiliate creating links

This is how you create a Text link:

Amazon Affiliate create text link

As you can see, you have the option of copying a short link, in my case https://amzn.to/33U2BD0 that resolves to a much longer link that refers to your book and that includes all the parameters of your affiliate account.

If you prefer adding a clickable image showing your book cover, just choose the Image option to get an HTML snippet that you can embed in your web page.

Amazon Affiliate create image link

You can also create such an HTML snippet for the combination Text + Image:

Amazon Affiliate create Text + Image link

While I was writing this guide, Amazon added yet another feature to create a Native Shopping Ad:

Amazon Affiliate: create banner

Once you've added an Amazon link or ad to your website, you can check your affiliate account to see how many clicked one of your links.

In the example below, you see that I started creating links on May 5. All the clicks were caused by myself while I was testing my website. I started promoting my book on May 16, and that's also when you see the first affiliate sales.

Amazon Affiliate Earnings Overview

Don't limit yourself to promoting your own book. It's always a good idea to promote other books. For instance, for my book Entreprenerd, I created a page with additional material for every chapter. In the additional information about chapter 18, I explain why I chose Dilemmas as the title for that chapter. It's a reference to the book The Founder's Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman:

Amazon Affiliate: example of links to another book

For people who are interested in this book, I provided links to  amazon.com.co.uk.es.it.fr, and .de. When people click on these links and buy the book, I get a small commission as a direct referral, but there's more! If people click on a link you provided, and they start browsing the Amazon website for other products, you can also get a commission if they buy items. These are called indirect referrals.

This is an example of an earnings report:

Amazon Affiliate Report

As you can see, there were people who bought a copy of my book in the category Kindle Books, either for $2.49 or for $9.99. I get $0.10 or $0.40 commission on top of my royalties for the eBook. If people buy the paperback for $9.99, I get an extra $0.90. If they buy the hardcover for $39.63, I get a $1.78 commission.

However, people also buy other items. In this report, you can see that someone bought a 2020 Apple iPad Air. I don't have any links to this product on my website. Someone just landed on Amazon thanks to a link to my book, and then decided to shop for other products. This person bought an iPad for $559.00 and I received a commission of $13.98, which is more than the royalty I get when I sell one of my books. Actually, the iPad and Apple Pencil sale are the cause of the spike in sales you see in the Earnings Overview on June 3.

If you don't want to go through the trouble of creating links yourself, you can also allow Amazon to propose items that might be relevant for your audience. That is what I did for this Nerd's Guide to Self-Publishing. I have put a widget in the right column under the title Shop Related Products in which two books are proposed to me.

Amazon Affiliate Widgets

Apparently, the Amazon algorithm thinks that I will enjoy reading the novel Where the Crawdads Sing—I have no clue what this novel is about. The algorithm also thinks I will enjoy reading The Founder's Dilemmas—that's correct: the book is mentioned on this page, and I think it's a must-read for everyone who want to develop their own startup business.

Google has a similar program, called Google AdSense. If you didn't block ads, you should see such an ad at the bottom of this page. There was a time—more specifically in 2004-2005—when I was able to make $1,000 a month thanks to Google AdSense revenue, but this didn't last as more people started to join the program. Feel free to experiment with it, but as an author, you'll probably have more success as an Amazon affiliate than as a Google AdSense partner.

Conclusion: Although you might not get extremely rich with affiliate marketing, you shouldn't leave this money on the table. You are marketing your own book anyway, why not add a sales commission to your royalty revenue?