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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why Amazon Authors Should be Promoting Like Gangbusters Right Now!

If you're reading this blog, it's quite likely you have a book or e-book on Amazon.

If that's the case, you should be promoting it extra vigorously right now. And, specifically, you should be promoting it as an Amazon Associate (as Amazon calls its affiliates).

There are various reasons why promoting your book as an Amazon Associate is a good idea. The obvious one is that any sales generated via your link will attract commission from Amazon. Assuming you're earning royalties on sales as well, in effect that means you'll be getting paid twice over for every sale.

But there's another particular reason to promote extra hard via Amazon just now, and that's because you will receive commission from Amazon for ALL purchases made by a customer who visits the store via your link. And at this time of the year, in the run-up to Christmas and Hanukkah, many people are buying multiple items as gifts. If they do some or all of their gift shopping via your link, you will earn multiple commissions.

Admittedly, Amazon doesn't pay a fortune to Associates. Commission starts at just 5 percent, and rises under their Performance Fee structure to a maximum of 8.5 percent in most categories. Even so, if someone spends a lot of money on a visit (and it happens at this time of year) the returns to you as the referrer can be substantial. Darren Rowse (aka Problogger) regularly lists surprising products people have bought from Amazon on visits via his links. Here's one eye-opening list he posted a while ago.

If you're not an Amazon Associate already, you can easily join by scrolling down to the foot of the Amazon homepage, clicking on Associates Program, and following the instructions to sign up. Note that you will need to join each national store's Associates Program separately to promote there.

Once you're in, Amazon have a huge range of banners and widgets you can use on your blog or website. They include, of course, simple image ads such as the one below for my home-based business book on Amazon UK...

You can also have all manner of other widgets, including slideshows, word clouds, best deals boxes, and Omakase (self-optimizing displays which automatically detect what a page is about and show ads related to this). Here's an example of a 'best deals' widget (optimized for e-book readers and accessories)...

You can even have an Amazon search box, such as the one below. This allows your website visitors to search the whole of the Amazon store concerned - and again, if they make any purchases, you will be credited with the commission.

Note that if you are receiving this post by email or RSS, you may need to visit my blog to see the sample ads and widgets.

Of course, it's possible that all you want is a simple text link. Oddly enough, this isn't as straightforward as you might think with Amazon. My own approach is to find the affiliate links page for the book or other product I want to promote, and select 'text link' from the options available. You will then be presented with some HTML which will display your text link in a pre-formatted, Amazon-approved style. As I don't necessarily want this, I normally extract the URL from the code, and use this to create my own links. So the 'barebones' URL for the link to my home-based business book looks like this:

I would then build this into my own text link. I'm not sure why Amazon doesn't simply provide this code as an option, but the method above works perfectly well for me, and I still get credited with commission as usual.

Good luck on Amazon, and I hope you sell lots of book, e-books and more expensive items as the festive season approaches!

Postscript: Just checked my own Amazon UK stats, and among the sales generated via my affiliate links recently, I found two Blue Banana Slinky Black Wrap Dresses. Not only was I gratified by the commission, it also conjured up quite a pleasing image in my mind. Sometimes it's the little things like this that keep you going as a solo freelance ;-)

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Anonymous Karen Inglis said...

Hi Nick

This is really useful... I asked Wordpress about adding an Amazon widget link the other day and they said it's not allowed as they don't allow commercial activity using the free Wordpress blogs but that informal text type links to Amazon are okay (which is what I am doing on my website for my children's book, The Secret Lake).Do you happen to know whether Wordpress would let me use the text links you refer to? If so I will sign up with Amazon and use them...I think I'm selling a lot of books via my links and current getting no commission! Given this is children's publishing I will appreciate ever penny/cent I can get! Best wishes, Karen

9:57 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Hi Karen. Thanks for your comment. My understanding is that you should be OK with the occasional plain text affiliate link on a blog. On their forum, a member of their staff posted:

"...if you have a real blog with real content and real readers, we don't mind the occasional affiliate link to a reputable store (Amazon being the textbook example).

The things that we absolutely don't permit are: banner ads; MLM/network marketing/get rich schemes; fake blogs; and spam of any kind (i.e. unwanted bulk comments/blogs/posts/emails).

"real blog" is the key. Staff are willing to cut you some slack if you have a real blog."


So, go for it would be my advice!

Good luck - Nick

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Karen Inglis said...

Cheers, Nick - it's now on my 'to do' list! I may refer back to you if I run into any difficulty! Karen

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Karen Inglis said...

Nick - need to email or dm with a quick question. Can you follow me on twitter so I can dm or send an email address to kpinglis at wellsaid dot co co uk ? Thanks!

10:56 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Hi Karen. Just (literally, this minute) heading off for a short break, so could you contact me using the Contact Me form on my blog, and I'll reply as soon as I get back. Hope that's OK.

Best - Nick

11:42 AM  
Blogger Corinne O'Flynn said...

Amazon did away with the affiliate program for people in Colorado when they started requiring tax processing on web stuff here. It was a bummer. I should look into whether or not things have changed again. The affiliate program was terrific.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks, Corinne. Yes, the Affiliate Nexus Tax has been a huge blow for affiliates in several US states. I heard that Amazon recently reopened its doors to associates in California, but people in Colorado and several other states are still barred, AFAIK.

12:13 PM  

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