Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to Make Money on Your Blog With Affiliate Marketing

The secret to making money as a writer is simple; you have to sell something. If you write fiction you need to publish books people will pay money for. If you run a website, magazine, or newspaper then you need to charge readers a subscription fee for the content you create. If you have a big following you might even create a Patreon page (more about those here) so that people can donate to you as an artist. You can even put ads on your blog, as I have here at The Literary Mercenary, so that when your viewers click an ad you get a small fee for being an effective advertiser.

Or you could just sell products directly by becoming an affiliate marketer.

What The Hell is an Affiliate Marketer?

If you've never heard of affiliate marketing let me break it down for you. Companies like Amazon or Smashwords want to sell products. Because these companies cannot do all of their own marketing they ask affiliate marketers to help out. These marketers try to sell products by going to forums, running blogs, and just generally spreading the good word about products they like. After a sales pitch or a good review an affiliate marketer leaves a link. People who click that link will be taken to a page where they can buy the product, and the affiliate marketer gets a small cut of every product he or she sells.

Simple, right?

Al right, let's try an example. Let's say I wanted to try and sell more copies of the anthology Shadows of a Fading World, which has my short story "Paths of Iron and Blood" in it. I would tell my readers the anthology is an astonishingly solid collection of post-apocalyptic sword and sorcery stories, and that the contributors channel the skill of the masters while still creating unique stories that will hold readers captivated. I would make sure readers knew Amazing Stories thought this collection was top-notch work, and link them to the review here.

After I'd given my pitch and told them all the great stuff about the book I'd show the reader the cover, and provide them a buy link like this one:

Buy your copy of Shadows of a Fading World today!
And Then Money?

That's the idea. If you make your pitch for whatever it is you're selling and people follow your link to buy it, then you're entitled to your cut. If you only sell a few copies then you'll probably only get about 4% of what you're selling (in the case of this anthology that's about $0.16 per copy you sell), but the more you sell the bigger the percentage you get paid.

And if you're selling your own books then you get paid twice; an affiliate marketing cut and a royalty check. That's what we call a win-win.

Isn't That Kind of Unethical?

Let me remind you that this is the main picture I use to represent my blog.

Does this scream "Paragon of Virtue" to you?
Kidding aside, marketing is kind of a cut-throat endeavor. It's your job to stand up on a platform, shout until you get people's attention, earn their trust, and then persuade them to buy something. Even if you have a quality product you really believe in, and everything you tell your readers is perfectly true the fact remains that your goal is to persuade them to buy something so you can earn a commission.

It should also be noted that even if you lie through your teeth and get people to buy a product that's total shit you still get paid.

It's All A Numbers Game

If you're an author with a blog chances are good you're always trying to sell books. You'll try to mention your books in every other entry, and sometimes you'll dedicate entire entries to your creative process to entice readers with your latest release. You might even put in a link taking them directly to a sales page in the hopes they'll buy a copy. If you're already putting in that much effort then why not get paid twice for it?

There's no rule that says you have to become an affiliate marketer. Just as there's no rule that says you have to accept donations, put ads on your blog, or set up a Patreon account. But if you're serious about making money from your blog and selling more books then you might want to give it some serious thought. If you want to become an Amazon affiliate then check out this link, and if you're more interested in Smashwords marketing then stop by this link.

Thank you as always for dropping by The Literary Mercenary. If you'd like to support me then please feel free to click the "Shakespeare Gotta Get Paid, Son!" button to make a donation, or drop by my Patreon page to become a patron today. An extra thank you for all those who purchase a copy of Shadows of a Fading World, and I hope you have as much fun in the reading as I had in the writing!


  1. This question may sound a little bit "gross", "inappropriate " or something like that (you don't need to answer it if it makes you feel uncomfortable), but how much money have you made so far?

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  3. Hi, Thanks for this post. I have been into affiliate marketing for over a year now. I started promoting products from Clickbank then also tried Adwords. But then I only made a few cents out of these platforms. I did became successful when I ran CPA offers. I signed up with Global Matrix Media then also tried Max Bounty. So far everything was great.

    What I am saying is that do not give up on affiliate marketing unless you've tried almost every possible way to make it work.

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