Authorpreneurship is not just about selling books
Wouldn’t it be great to make a living just from the sales of your books? I work every day with that goal in mind. The book sales will come, but I want to quit my job sooner than that, I want to go full time as soon as possible. How can I do that when I only have a few pieces of fiction out there?
You could woo a rich Countess to become your patron, but I couldn’t hack an appointment with our local ones last time I tried.
Or you can just think like an authorpreneur.
Being an authorpreneur is all about finding opportunities where others see only problems. In an earlier article, I spoke about using e-mail marketing as the basis for your business. In this article, I’m going to talk about using affiliates in your fiction writing business to get your fans to help you by giving them what they want at no extra cost to you.
Readers love reading books. It’s a thing. If they love your books, chances are that they’ll like other books in your genre, or books that you love. In essence, writers tend to write what they love reading. I love epic sweeping political fantasy like George RR Martin and urban fantasy like Jim Butcher. But I also like White Wolf’s Vampire the Masquerade and Vampire the Requiem. So my flagship series Sanguinem Emere is a mixture of those three. Is it unreasonable to think that readers who love my books won’t love The Dresden Files or A Song of Ice and Fire? Why not recommend titles similar to your books to your readers? We do it every day when we speak to our friends!
Wait, where’s my win?
Recommending a book to a friend who then goes out to buy a copy generally does not result in extra cash in your pocket. But on the internet, things don’t have to work like that. Companies would love for you to send business their way, and are willing to split the profit with you if you do. There’s your win. Sign up for that company’s affiliate program, then recommend the book you love to everyone who views your site. If they click on your link and buy the product, you get a cut.
Is this ethical?
The question is easily answered. If you loved the book, and you recommend it from your own experience and your deeply felt wish to have others share in the joy that you’ve experienced, then it’s all good. You’re sharing your joy with the world.
If you recommend junk just because you want to line your pocket, then it’s not.
Personally, if a book smells, I won’t recommend it. I won’t review it, heck, often I won’t even finish reading the thing, even though I can learn a lot of what not to do.
Great, what does this have to do with my writing business?
As Stephen King said, to be a writer you need to read a lot and write a lot. Why not take that maxim one step further? Why not a review of the book you just read and publish that on your website complete with an affiliate link? That way, your recommendation goes out into the world to serve your readers, and if they buy the book, you get a little commission. It’s passive income for you. You write the review once and enjoy every sale that review garners for eternity. You are reading to expose yourself to fiction and improve your own skill as a fiction writer, then writing to improve your skill as a fiction writer. And you’re getting in some passive income to help support your writing business finances towards the goal of living as a writer full time. That’s a big win on your side.
There are more wins for the reader in store
The reader on the other side gets another benefit apart from a brand spanking new book that they may have stumbled on to by themselves. They get to peek inside the head of their favorite author and find kinship in their likes and dislikes as well. That breeds some intimacy between the reader and yourself, which is always good. They will like and trust you even more if they know that you went all teary eyed when (insert spoiler here) happened.
What’s the catch?
Besides, the book costs the same whether the reader searched for it themselves on Amazon and blindly bought it without your recommendation or through your affiliate link. The only difference is that Amazon gets a little smaller piece of the pie, and that piece goes to you. So I guess the catch is that Amazon’s shareholders would need to tighten their belts a little due to lost revenue. Poor them.
Actually, they might not have gotten that sale at all if it wasn’t for you, so in fact they get more money. The house always wins, but contrary to gambling, in this scenario so do you and your reader.
So how do I do this?
If you can link to another page on your website, then you can create affiliate links. Go to the affiliate program of choice, such as the Amazon Associates page on Amazon, register yourself and there you go. They have a tutorial on how to access the links, but they’ve made it easy enough even for me to be able to do fun stuff with it. There are some more advanced ways to do it, but I’ll get carried away if I start talking about those. Let me know in the comments below if you are interested in finding out more about that.
Where can I stick these links?
We’ve talked about reviews earlier. On this site, I have some examples of how I approached it, such as this one and this one. How you write your review is also entirely up to you. And it does not need to be a review – be creative, find ways. I’ve seen them on Facebook pages, where the affiliate link is the answer to a riddle (It was on George Takei’s fanpage, if I remember correctly.)
Before you include affiliate links, acquaint yourself with the affiliate program’s rules. For example, Amazon does not allow naked affiliate links in e-books published on their site, so no blindly sticking them into your e-books. There are ways around that (such as linking to a review of the product on your website, there the actual affiliate links are), but just make sure that you’re not breaking the rules. They can and will ban your account and cause you to lose your hard-earned commission.
Affiliate links are great for getting a little extra money in as a side line to your income from selling all those great books. You can stick them into your blog posts when you talk about something you love and when your tribe checks it out, they help you pay for your coffee. A cool additional thing is that the reader who clicked the link doesn’t even need to buy the thing you linked to for you to get a slice of the cake, anything they buy for the next 24 hours is fair game. I’ve gotten an affiliate commission on a pram, which was not really what I was shooting for, but hey, no complaints from my side!
Where are you using your authorpreneurship to get ahead?
Pop me a comment on where you managed to create an opportunity to make some extra cash! Is there a creative place where you managed successfully deployed an affiliate link? Keep it ethical, please, we’re all about win-win here.