How to Set Up a Media Page

Got Your Hi-Res Author Headshot Done?

Great! You’re ahead of me. (Then again, I write under pseudonyms so I purposely avoid using a photo of myself.)

Now, before you upload your gorgeous mug in all of its 13 MB glory to your website, please watch this video.

It will tell you where such a page is normally found on a website. It will also show you, step-by-step, how to set up your media page so you don’t slow down your site while still providing an easy way for journalists and other media folks to download the large, high-resolution photo(s) they want from you.

I promise it will be easy. 😀

Can you earn Amazon affiliate income through Facebook Ads?

Some writers use Facebook ads to attract newsletter subscribers while others run them to sell books. Since minimizing your Cost-Per-Click (CPC) and increasing your net income is the ultimate goal for the latter, authors who’ve joined the Amazon Associates Program are probably hoping to maximize profits and earn Amazon affiliate income through their Facebook ads.

The commonly accepted wisdom is that they shouldn’t (at least not directly).

“Why not?” I hear some of you ask. “I want my 4% commission in addition to my royalty share. Every penny counts, man!”

Well, sorry to break it to you, but using your Amazon affiliate link in your Facebook ad goes against their operating policies and can get you kicked out of the Associates Program.

Yet, some people still take the risk.

Why? They probably don’t do it for the measly 4% commission. (That’s $0.12 on a $2.99 e-book, but it can become significant if you move lots of books AND the Amazon cookie is valid for 24 hours, so some visitors could buy an expensive item while your cookie is still valid and send extra affiliate earnings your way. Yes, add that expensive TV to your cart, please!)

No, most writers who knowingly take the risk of including an affiliate link in their Facebook ad do so for the valuable tracking data that comes from using an affiliate link that is unique to their ad.

But using a direct Amazon affiliate link in your Facebook ad is not the ONLY option when it comes to selling your Amazon book from a Facebook ad.

There are other ways to do it. Some will allow you to earn affiliate income, some will give you additional analytics on your ad performance, and some will do both. I can’t say which option will work best for you (it depends on your needs and risk tolerance), but I’ve done the research and gone through the pros and cons of six different options so you can make an educated decision.

Watch this video to better understand six options for selling your Amazon e-books using Facebook Ads.


Here’s a summary of the main points (with a few additional helpful comments thrown in).

To start, please read Amazon’s Operating Policies and refer to them frequently as they do change.

NOTE: This article is NOT legal advice and I do not work for Amazon. The information presented here is based on my understanding of Amazon’s terms. Please read them for yourself here: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/policies

Option A

Include a direct affiliate link

PROS:

  • Affiliate link could earn you extra money
  • Accurate tracking data from Amazon
  • Direct traffic so there’s no possibility of a drop-off between Facebook and Amazon

CONS: 

  • Goes against Amazon’s terms so if (or when?) you get caught, you could lose all pending affiliate earnings. 

As such, Option A is NOT recommended, especially NOT for an ad that will run for several days/weeks/months.


Option B

Include a direct (non-affiliate) link to Amazon

PROS:

  • Will not get in trouble since you’re not using an affiliate link
  • Direct traffic from Facebook to Amazon, so no possibility of drop-off

CONS: 

  • Only estimated Amazon sales based on actual sales and comparison to baseline sales
  • Facebook “click” data (even “outbound click” data) is inflated, so you can’t rely on it if you want ACCURATE data

As such, Option B is totally fine but isn’t very useful if you are testing your ads and want to see how they perform.


Option C

Link to your website, then users click to buy on Amazon (with your affiliate link)

PROS:

  • Accurate sales data from Amazon 
  • Earn extra affiliate income

CONS: 

  • Because users have an extra step (click), it’s possible they will drop off and not get to Amazon

As long as you mention the presence of an affiliate link on your website (and have included it in your account settings in Amazon Associates), then you should be in the clear with Amazon. If your page is free of distraction and your sales copy is compelling, this could be a good way to test your ads and measure improvement (and you could then switch to Option B/E with your best ad to reduce the potential of drop-off).


Option D

Automated redirection from Facebook to Amazon WITH an affiliate link

PROS:

  • Accurate click data (from your link redirection service)
  • Accurate sales data (from your Amazon affiliate link)

CONS: 

  • AUTOMATED redirection with an affiliate link goes AGAINST Amazon’s policies, so you could get booted out of the program and lose your unpaid earnings.

Because Option D clearly goes against Amazon’s policies, I do NOT recommend you use it (even though it seems like the perfect solution).


Option E

Automated redirection from Facebook to Amazon WITHOUT an affiliate link

PROS:

  • Accurate click data from your redirection service (such as Pretty Links) instead of relying on Facebook’s inflated click data
  • Facebook users go directly from Facebook to Amazon, so there’s no possibility of drop-off
  • Will not get in trouble since you’re not using an affiliate link

CONS: 

  • No affiliate commission because you didn’t use an affiliate link.
  • No accurate sales data from Amazon (only sales data compared to baseline sales)

Option E is similar to Option B, except that you get more accurate click data. To learn more about Pretty Links, a free WordPress plugin,  please refer to the video. There are other free/paid link redirection services, but make sure to NOT include an affiliate link that AUTOMATICALLY redirects users from your Facebook ads to Amazon.


Option F

Manual redirection with an affiliate link

PROS:

  • Accurate click data from Books2read.com (free service) to Amazon
  • Affiliate income because the readers’ clicks are the “affirmative action” that meets Amazon’s requirements  
  • Amazon affiliate sales data from your books2read tracking code (inaccurate but could be useful)

CONS: 

  • Books2Read.com only permits the use of one affiliate-ID for your entire account, so you can’t determine with certainty which link can be credited for each sale, but you can easily see if no sales/a sudden spike in sales occurred through your Books2Read affiliate link. 
  • Because Facebook users will have to take an extra step (click) they could drop off before reaching Amazon. 
  • Inaccurate click data from Facebook to Books2Read, so do NOT assume the discrepancy between Facebook’s (inflated) outbound clicks and Books2Read’s clicks is 100% drop-off but there could be some real drop-off.

If you choose Option F, I recommend you add “Books2Read.com” as an approved website in your Amazon Associates’ account settings because you are required to list ALL websites where you are recommending Amazon products.


So, what is the best option?

Depending on your goals and needs, Option F might be the best option if you want to focus on earning affiliate income. Test it and see. The extra purchases made through your affiliate tracking code could lead to fat affiliate checks that would compensate for the drop-off (or the extra click required from the users could lead to no sales at all/high drop-off).

Your choice will depend on your tolerance for risk versus your need to get accurate data and avoid extra steps in the sales process. I think Option E is better than Option B, which is what many authors default to since they think it’s the only approved option.

And I believe a LOT of authors could currently be using Option D and assuming they’re doing things above board… Unfortunately, Amazon’s terms are REALLY clear on automated redirections with affiliate links. Amazon uses automated spiders to scour the web, and that’s probably how they find unapproved uses of their affiliate links, so if you use Option D, watch out! You could lose your unpaid affiliate earnings and get kicked out of their program.

I hope that my research will guide you in your decision and help you earn a little extra commission (and get some accurate data) while keeping you on the right side of the rules.

Again, the information included in this article should not be seen as legal advice. I am not a lawyer and do not work for Amazon. I am just a person that has done the research and can offer my interpretation based on this research. I will not be held liable if you follow my advice and get into trouble.

Beware of Infringing Upon Amazon’s Trademarks

As an author, chances are that you make your books available on Amazon. Whether you do it exclusively is irrelevant to what I’m about to explain here.

I recently read a post in a Facebook group associated with a well-known/highly reputable advertising course for authors. Someone got kicked out of Amazon’s associates (and lost the affiliate commission that he had yet to receive). Thankfully for him, that amount was small. But many authors make the same mistakes he made, so I’d like to help you avoid those mistakes (and lose your hard-earned income), if at all possible.
Continue reading Beware of Infringing Upon Amazon’s Trademarks

Using Canva to Create Images

If you can’t afford to hire a designer to create header/slideshow/advertisement images, all is not lost.

You can use free tools to create your own images. They probably won’t be as great as what a designer could do for you, but they can be good enough for now, for your budget.

Watch the following video to see how I created a slideshow/header image step-by-step using the following free tools:
Continue reading Using Canva to Create Images

How to Back Up and Update Your Site

Keeping your WordPress site up to date (WordPress version, plugins, themes, and translations) is an essential task if you want to keep it secure and prevent hackers from exploiting whatever vulnerability may have been discovered by the ruthless bots who have been programmed to wreck havoc on the world.

“Why?” you ask…

My guess? For no good reason other than the entertainment of some low-life hacker. But there’s probably some good money to be made with porn, malware, or whatever they’re into these days.

Continue reading How to Back Up and Update Your Site

Make Affiliate Income from Kobo

If you are “wide” and publish books on Kobo, you may be interested in learning how to make a little bit extra from your Kobo book sales.

I’m fairly new at this self-publishing thing, yet I’ve already earned over $1,000 in sales from Kobo. I also get to earn a little tiny bit of extra money when people buy my books through my Kobo affiliate links. The commissions aren’t huge, but extra money is extra money, right?

See below for what I made in affiliate income from Canada over the past 30 days. It’s not much, but I’ll take that extra $34.62, please.
It’ll cover the costs of quite a few poutines. Thank you, Kobo! 😍  Continue reading Make Affiliate Income from Kobo

Expiration Notification Scam

Have you ever received this message?

This important expiration notification notifies you about the expiration notice of your domain registration for DOMAIN-NAME.COM search engine optimization submission. The information in this expiration notification may contain confidential and/or legally privileged information from the notification processing department of the Domain Seo Service Registration to purchase our search engine traffic generator. We do not register or renew domain names. We are selling traffic generator software tools. This information is intended for the use of the individual(s) named above.
If you fail to complete your domain name registration DOMAIN-NAME.COM search engine optimization service by the expiration date, may result in the cancellation of this search engine optimization domain name notification notice.

If you’ve never owned domain names before, getting such message may have you worried and digging through your wallet to enter your credit card information.

Continue reading Expiration Notification Scam

Saving Images for the Web

You want to spend your precious time writing books, not dealing with technical thingymajigs such as saving images for the Web.

I get it.
Your website images aren’t high on your priority list.

But here’s why they’re important

  1. Speed. Images saved for the Web keep your site running fast. You won’t waste your readers’ precious time (so they may actually stick around and buy your books!).
  2. Cost Savings. Your hosting account has a space limit (especially inexpensive shared hosting plans). The larger your images, the sooner you’ll reach your limit and have to upgrade. Don’t spend more on hosting than you have to (and spend your money on good editors/cover designers or ads instead).
  3. Efficiency. With smaller images, your backups will be easier to manage/store.

Continue reading Saving Images for the Web