What is the Amazon affiliate program for authors?

The Amazon affiliate program, also known as Amazon Associates, is a way to promote products and earn commission from Amazon. You can use Amazon affiliate links as an author in your posts, pages, or online shop if you have a website or social media account.

For example, as an author, you can promote your books, your friend’s books, or your favorite ergonomic mouse by using an Amazon affiliate link in a blog post on your website. You’ll earn a small commission every time a web visitor purchases that product by clicking on your affiliate link.

Why should an author become an Amazon affiliate?

Remember the jingle for a rotisserie oven that worked while you slept? “Set it and forget it!” Amazon affiliate links also allow you to earn passive income while you sleep and while you’re writing and editing. You might forget about it for a while, but you’ll remember when you receive your monthly email detailing your earnings, which are automatically paid monthly. 

You can earn your first dollar online through Amazon affiliate links. Over time, those dollars will add up and might even help you pay for email services for delivering your newsletterbook promotion, or tools that make writing easier.

How do I become an Amazon affiliate?

Set aside at least an hour to give yourself plenty of time and minimize frustration. You’ll probably need to search Google to find answers to questions that arise during the sign-up process. Amazon also provides answers to potential questions.

Step 1: Sign up for the Amazon Associates Program.

Signing up takes a few minutes, but you only need to do it once. You can sign up here or scroll to the bottom of the Amazon home page, and click “Become an Affiliate.”

Amazon home page footer

Step 2: Click the “Sign up” button.

The “Sign Up” button will lead you to the four stages of account creation: Account Information, Website and Mobile App, Profile, Start Using Associates Central.

Amazon Affiliate Sign Up Button

Step 3: Sign in to your Amazon account.

You can sign in to the account you use to make purchases on Amazon, or you can create a new account associated with your business if you don’t already have one.

Amazon's sign in screen

Step 4: Enter your Amazon Associates Account Information.

Begin by filling in your account information and answering the questions. When you’re done, click “Next.”

Amazon Affiliate Account Creation Screen

Step 5: Enter your website URL.

Copy the URL of your website and paste it into the “Enter Your Website(s)” field. Make sure your pasted URL follows the format https://YourWebsiteName.com/. Then click “Add.”

Step 6: Continue filling out your Amazon Associates Profile.

Continue scrolling and answer the questions. Most fields have a dropdown menu from which you can choose an answer, but you will have to type in some answers.

Step 7: Agree to the Associates Program Operating Agreement.

Read the Associates Program Operating Agreement and check the box. Then click “Finish.”

Step 8: Receive your Amazon Associate ID.

After your sign up is complete, you’ll be assigned an Amazon Associate tracking ID. Your ID ends in -20. Amazon gives you up 100 tracking IDs, and you can create them here.
This ID allows amazon to see that an Amazon customer made a purchase through your link, and they will pay you a commission on that purchase.
 
To find out what percentage commission you’ll earn on particular products, check out Amazon’s Associates Program Standard Commission Income Statement.
 
Your Associate ID also allows you to track the number of clicks on that link. It’s one of the best ways to measure your marketing efforts.

You can create links in the SiteStripe Amazon gives you once you sign up for the affiliate program (see photo below). You can also create links by visiting your Amazon Associates Central dashboard.

Amazon Affiliates SiteStripe Screen

Notice the “Tracking ID” dropdown menu in the above photo. That’s where you can select different IDs for various promotions. Use different links for each of the following online locations so you’ll know where your traffic comes from:

  • Blog
  • Website
  • Facebook 
  • Twitter
  • Blog Tour

When you review a book on your blog, be sure to link your affiliate link to the text of
Book’s title and the image of the book. Amazon’s SiteStrip gives you options for using the Text, Image, and Text + Image.

Step 12: Check your Amazon Associates sales reports. 

Payments are made monthly approximately 60 days after the end of the month for which they are being paid. There are payment thresholds you must meet before receiving your payment. For example, if you choose to receive your payments via Amazon gift card, you’ll need at least $10.00 in commissions before you’ll receive your digital gift card.

These reports show you the actual sales for each of your tracking IDs, not just clicks or impressions.

Amazon Associate Sales Report Example Image

Where Tracking Links Work Best

  • Your Website
  • Social Media
  • Your Blog
  • Advertising 
  • Email Marketing (Amazon prefers you link to a web page that has your affiliate link rather than including the affiliate link in the text of the email itself.)

Where Tracking Links Don’t Work (as well) 

  • Media Interviews on TV, Radio, and Podcasts
  • Offline promotion on Fliers, Bookmarks, Business Cards
  • Influencer Marketing (Influencers use their own affiliate links).
  • Word-of-Mouth and Viral Spread

Follow the Rules and Terms of Service

Amazon occasionally changes the rules regarding the use of affiliate links. Always check the current rules so you don’t get hassled. 

For example, you need to clearly disclose that your linked text or image is an affiliate link. In our blog posts, we indicate which links are affiliates by placing “(Affiliate Link)” right after the linked text.

Familiarize yourself with the Associates Program Operating Agreement so you use the program in compliance with their terms.

Set It, But Don’t Forget It

Setting up your Amazon Associates account may take some time, but you only have to do it once. You can’t truly forget about it though. Checking your reports is how you measure your marketing and find out which of your efforts is most effective.

Many factors influence the amount of income you can earn from affiliate links, including the price of the product you promote, the number of visitors to your website, and the product-market fit. But As you experiment, you will find that affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to earn a passive income online.

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