Most Indie authors or self publishers don’t do the math carefully, or not at all. They are hell-bent on selling their own books, even when their own books are slow movers. Some even throw money at their problem by trusting the old-school adage: Money begets money. They spend money to promote free download, sponsoring physical book giveaway and etc.
To them I say: Wake up! I’d like to paraphrase Walter Hagen’s famous advice to the average golfers but could not come up with anything brilliant. So I’m just gonna serve it to you straight up: “Don’t hurry, don’t worry, you’re only here for a short visit, so be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”
What I mean to say it this: Don’t forget the obvious. If your purpose of working so hard and trying so hard to make some money, why do you leave the easy money on the table? The easy money, is courtesy of Amazon’s Affiliate program. Take a look at the following screenshot of my one day earning out of Amazon Affiliate. It’s not enough to cover the bread and butter for a family, but it is money I did not have to break a sweat for:
How did I achieve such decent Affiliate income? You may ask. “By casting a dragnet,” I answer. I never give out a product or book link without embedding my Amazon Affiliate id in the url’s. Most of us tweet and do Facebook post or Google plus or Instagram. But whatever you do, do not simply pass on a product or book url verbatim. You make the 30 second effort to change the url so that it contains your Amazon Affiliate ID. Over time, your dragnet will be ready. The web will be littered with links that bear your Amazon Affiliate id’s. Someone somewhere sometime will stumble on one of them. That person will follow your link to Amazon and end up buying something, sending advertisement money into your pocket.
Still not clear? Allow me to give you an example. Suppose you heard a nasty rumor John Grisham did not really write Sycamore Row, his Guatemalan cleaning lady did it and Mr. Grisham bought the manuscript for a whopping $50. Upon hearing such crazy rumor, you did not really find it credible, but still feel the urge to yak about it on social networking sites. So you tweet and Facebook post it and blast it out everywhere you have a presence. In so doing, you also give out the Amazon product link to Sycamore Row. Now how you construct that link is the key criterion that separates the boys from the men and the girl scouts from the ladies who are “leaning in.” A man would give out the link as I do here:
Go ahead, dare me, make my day by clicking on the book link and buy it. The moment you click on the buy button Amazon will credit me with $0.84. Even if you change your mind and wonder off this book and end up in Amazon’s household goods area and buy a giant bag of cat litter for $24, I still get credited for about $1.68.
And for an Indie author or self publisher, where do you get most of your Amazon traffic? Your own book pages, of course, particularly on the free promotion days of your books. Put a few slick Amazon Affiliate widgets in your book descriptions. List Amazon’s best sellers or your own best sellers in addition to that one book you are marketing. Send them somewhere else on Amazon. But send them with your own “GPS Tracking” on them — your sacred Amazon Affiliate tracking id with them. No matter where they go and what they buy on Amazon, they are your bitches. You benefit from every penny the spend.
How do you embed an Amazon Affiliate widget in your book description? Good question. And I have an equally good answer for it. It’s all explained in KDP’s Best-Kept Secret Revealed: How to Embed Videos and Widgets in Your Book Description. If you have not gotten yourself a copy yet, do yourself a favor and get it.