1. Sign Up for Affiliate Programs
Many companies offer affiliate programs that give you money for letting others know about them.
Book Cave’s affiliate program gives you money when you refer authors to our site and they book a promotion with us. Currently, our percentage is one of the highest in the industry. So when you have a Book Cave feature, ask your author friends to share your feature page, and then also give them your affiliate link and encourage them to sign up for their own retail feature. That way not only will they help market your book sale, but you’ll be able earn extra $$$.
Other affiliates include book retail sites, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Your “Books” pages on your website should have affiliate links to where your books are sold, not just straight links. This way, you get a little additional money from marketing your books on your site, something you should already be doing.
You can also make money off products that aren’t books by signing up to be an affiliate for a company like EBay, Walmart, or Best Buy. The products you link to should still be valuable to your readers in some way. For example, you could write a product review blog post about some items that you think your readers would find helpful or interesting, and include affiliate links to the products. The post should include pros and cons and helpful tips on using the product. This makes you a bit of money, entertains and helps your readers, and drives traffic to your site.
Another way to use affiliate links is to create a character page or blog post that links to products that the main characters in one of your books owns or would buy. This a great way for readers to become more familiar with your characters and for you to make additional money.
When using affiliate links, keep in mind that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that you disclose any connection between you (the endorser) and the seller that is “not reasonably expected by the audience.” This includes affiliate links, so if you write a blog post or page that includes these links, be sure to include a sentence at the beginning of the post or near the links that says something like, “Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase, I will earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.” The FTC requires that a small disclosure like this be placed on each page that uses affiliate links; simply having a separate disclosure page is not enough.
2. Design and Offer Book-Related Products
On sites like CafePress, Zazzle, and Etsy, you can easily design and sell book-related products, such as shirts, mugs, and bags, that your readers will love. Many of these products can and should be specifically related to your books. When your readers purchase these products, you make additional money, they get a fun product, and you get free advertising when they use or wear that product. Be sure to include a link to your store page on your website.
3. Tasteful Ads
You can try putting a few tasteful ads on your site; these make additional money if people click on them. But be careful with this—having too many ads looks tacky and unprofessional. You could do an ad in a sidebar that has other information, and then perhaps one ad in the middle of your blog posts.
Google’s AdSense program is a great place to start. The ads are generated by Google and reflect the content of your site. Another good ad program is Infolinks, which identifies keywords in your content and displays an ad when users hover over the word.
We recommend leaving your home page free of outside ads. That page should focus on your books and entice readers to find out more about your and your books. But ads can be a valuable resource in your blog posts.
4. Offer a Course on a Subject You Excel in
Is there a certain aspect of writing that you’re really good at? Or have you done a lot of research into a subject that others may find interesting? You can monetize that knowledge by creating a class on it. This can be an in-person course or seminar, or a series of videos, or a set of PowerPoint presentations that people can buy from your site.
There are some websites where you can host these courses, with tools that will help you put together a polished course, such as Skillshare or Udemy. Setting up a course requires some hard work, but once you’ve finished, you have an additional stream of income, and your reputation as a knowledgeable and skilled writer increases, making people more likely to buy your books.
What ways have you discovered to make additional money as an author? We’d love to hear in the comments below!