My Latest Source of Income: The Amazon Affiliate Program


The history of civilization is a study in laziness. Human beings didn't start planting crops and domesticating animals because they enjoyed farm work. They did it because it was a hell of a lot easier than chasing down gazelles and shit.

That, and they finally caught a break in the shitty weather.

That, and they finally caught a break in the shitty weather.

Likewise, if you look at all the books I've written in the past few years, you might be led to believe that I'm some sort of workaholic. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I am an extremely lazy person.

I was a pretty lousy student all through high school and university, reading books like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy instead of whatever the hell it was I was supposed to be reading. I did just enough work to get through it, and I only did that because I wanted it to end eventually.

It's kind of the same with my writing career. I've worked very hard on my books for the past four years, but my primary motivation for that was that I wanted to quit my job.

I'm no less lazy now than I was in school, but I'm a lot more motivated. Being lazy and being able to afford a comfortable lifestyle while raising a family takes some hard work. Most of that work involves writing and editing hilarious fantasy books, blogging, and maintaining a Facebook page. But if you're really serious about being lazy, you'll want to devote some time and energy into exploring new ways to make money from as little effort as possible.

One such way is obvious. Seek out ways to get other people to do your work for you. Getting things set up with Audible to have my audiobooks produced didn't take too much time. Saturn Five Sound does all the work, and I make more money every month from it. I think it took even less time to set up things on Babelcube, and through virtually no effort of my own, Critical Failures is now available in Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, with German and French versions in production.

"J'aime les dick jokes."

"J'aime les dick jokes."

Since then I've discovered an even lazier way to make money. I've become an Amazon affiliate. 

A friend of mine told me about this program a few years ago, when he helped me start up this website. My initial understanding was that when someone bought one of my books via a link with an affiliate tag, I would get a small percentage of the purchase price. Maybe it would net me $0.20 a month, but why not give it a try?

It didn't even net me that much because Amazon rejected my application. They didn't say why, but I suspected it had something to do with my website having literally zero content at the time.

A couple of years passed, and I added more and more content, leading up to the website you see today. Then, about a month and a half ago, I remembered that Amazon Affiliates thing. I applied again, and Amazon accepted me.

If only I could say the same about my father.

If only I could say the same about my father.

Cool! I changed all the links on my books page to include my personal affiliate code, and waited for the loose change to trickle in.

About a month later, I decided to check my reports tab and see how many sticks of gum I could buy, and was surprised to find that I'd made over $80. Now that's not going to buy me a 1937 O-Pee-Chee Baseball Set, but it's not too bad a paycheck for doing sweet fuck all.

I looked a little closer at the reports and something weird caught my eye. I'd earned $5.76 from someone buying a Plantronics HW261N Binaural Headset. That's strange. I didn't remember linking any Plantronics HW261N Binaural Headsets. Hell, I don't even know what the fuck a Plantronics HW261N Binaural Headset is.

That wasn't the only strange thing I'd gotten credit for either. Amazon was giving me a tiny share of a whole bunch of things that I hadn't linked to. Was this some sort of mistake?

I asked my fellow Authors & Dragons members if they could shed any light on my mysterious findings. Rick Gualtieri was ready with the answer.

Thanks, man!

Thanks, man!

As it turns out, you don't only get credit for products that you link to. When someone clicks on your affiliate link, they get a cookie on their... whatever. I don't know technical jargon. The practical effect is that whatever the person who clicked on your link buys from Amazon during the twenty-four hours following said click, you get credit for. They don't even have to buy the shit you're peddling! They just have to click on your link, and then go on a shopping spree.

Eighty dollars in a month might seem like small potatoes, but think ahead a bit. The holiday season is still a good five months away. That's five months for me to better learn how this affiliate thing works and to build up my blog readership before the great shopping frenzy begins.

It's been almost a year since I gave you Seven Reasons Why It's Important for Writers to Keep a Blog. Now I'm giving you one more. I'm still early in the Amazon Affiliates game, but I feel like it might be a good way to make some serious coin.

Had a rough day? There's no better cure for that than reading my books and eating four pounds of caviar. You're worth it!

And please feel free to come like my Facebook page.

Note: I'm just getting my feet wet with this whole Amazon Affiliate thing. And I'm coming at this as a writer and blogger seeking to make a bit of extra scratch on the side. 

If you're looking at focusing your blog primarily on making money as an Amazon Affiliate, take a look at this post on