A nice little earner

In the #WritingCommunity, It is commonplace for writers to link to Amazon titles or author pages.

If I wanted to link to my work of first time love, Coding by Candlelight, I might put in a URL like this: https://www.amazon.com/Coding-Candlelight-Britni-Pepper-ebook/dp/B07PWYTMQ3/

A straightforward link which uniquely identifies the Kindle book. That code “B07PWYTMQ3” is an ASIN – an Amazon Standard Identification Number – which refers to a specific Amazon sales line without all the shortcomings of the ISBN system.

This is all very well, but if you are writing for profit rather than readership – unlike me, going by my profit and readership figures – then there’s a way to turn Amazon links into gold.

Sign up for the Amazon Associate program and you can earn money based on sales generated by your links.

Basically you just need an Amazon account, an email address, and a bank account to participate. You get various tools, but the one I use most is something called “Sitestripe” which sits at the top of any Amazon.com pages and gives me a bunch of things to click on. If I want to make a link to that specific page, instead of copying the sea of alphabet soup in the URL bar, I click on the “Text” button and it comes up with a shortened link like this: https://amzn.to/2VQhbZL.

If you were to click on that link, you would get to the same page as the first example above, but has a URL that starts off much the same then goes on with a whole bunch of computerese, amongst which a clever dick might find a fragment reading “tag=britnipepper-20”. What that does is seed the cookie that Amazon leaves on your computer with a link to my Amazon Associates account.

If you then buy my book – or indeed navigate to something seemingly more attractive like a holiday supply of lube and buy that instead (or in addition to) – somewhere in Amazon’s headquarters cottage a laptop spots the little britnipepper tag and redirects a percentage of the sale to my account. Usually something like 5%, though various categories earn at different rates, and some things such as Kindle Unlimited subscriptions earn flat fees.

Indeed, if you follow a link of mine and take out a Kindle Unlimited free trial, Amazon will spear three bucks my way and it won’t cost you a cent.

I’m a big fan of Kindle Unlimited, by the way. When I – ahem – research erotica authors, I can read their stuff without actually buying it. I can download a novel onto my Kindle app, read as much as I want, and then return it and do it again and again until I’ve sampled everything they have written. Amazon chucks all the subscription fees into a big barrel, sets aside a hunk of the dough, divides by the number of pages read, and for every page someone reads of your stuff, they will send you about half a cent.

Some time ago I used to co-write an international sex blog. It wasn’t a resounding success, but we had a few regular readers, and for some reason when people have sex on their mind and go shopping online, they can spend a surprising amount of money – try it for yourself – and if they happened to click one of our links first, then we got a percentage of their lavish indulgence.

It worked out to a shipload more than we were getting from our Adsense advertising, which looked tacky on the blog (especially with the sort of goods and services our more enthusiastic readers were interested in) and didn’t look like advertising. Just links to the products and services we helpfully reviewed and recommended.

So, dear reader, if you are a writer or a blogger, and you occasionally link to Amazon products, it could be worth monetising your links.

Britni

Written by Britni Pepper

Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures. Her schoolmates loved listening to her stories about princesses and pirates and dragons, and once she looked up to find the principal looking on. "No, no, don't stop, Britni," he said. "I want to hear what happens next!" What happened next was university, a job in the travel industry, and a career of travelling the world meeting the most fascinating people. Britni has travelled to thirty of the world's nations and loves making up stories about fascinating people doing interesting things in exotic places. No longer tales about princes and wizards, but her stories are just as much fantasy as ever.

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