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AP 0744: Can I Use Affiliate Links for My Book Club?

AP 0744: Can I Use Affiliate Links for My Book Club?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 744 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: What’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here. Welcome to Episode 744 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. Before I say anything else I just wanted to mention, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I actually, with batch recording these a month in advance, I forgot that yesterday’s episode was actually going to be Thanksgiving. I thought it was the 25th, but it’s actually the 24th here in 2016. So, happy belated Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate. You guys are awesome and thank you for listening to the show. I appreciate you.

All right now, today’s question comes in from Amanda. But before we get to Amanda’s question I do want to thank today’s sponsor which is Fresh Books. Fresh Books is awesome. They have amazing invoicing features so if you bill anybody for anything they make it really simple for you to do it in under 30 seconds. I use it myself for some coaching that I do. What’s really cool is I can see also who has yet to pay me, but also who has yet to even open the invoices that I send out.

That’s super useful because I can follow up with people and kind of remind people to open those up if I want to get paid. Also they make it really easy for me to keep track of my income and expenses. You can automatically track your expenses connecting a credit card to it. It just makes it really easy for you to keep track of everything. If you want to check it out for free for 30 days and give them a shot, head on over to FreshBooks.com/askpat and make sure you enter “AskPat” in the How Did You Hear About Us section.

All right, now here’s today’s question from Amanda.

Amanda: Hi Pat. I’m Amanda. I’m a newbie and I’m building my first new website. I’d like to have a book club as part of my site to help build and grow my community. I was wondering if I can ask them to buy the books through an affiliate link or if that would just not be a cool thing to do?

Thanks. I love listening to your podcasts.

Pat Flynn: Hey Amanda. Thank you so much for the question. I appreciate it and I love the idea of a book club and I know I love the idea because I have a book club myself. You can find it at PatsBookClub.com. There’s many different ways to run a book club. For mine it’s just simply people joining an email list and they get a message from me once a month with the latest book I’ve been reading and a little bit of thoughts about it and also my archives there at PatsBookClub.com as well.

Many people go into more depth. Many people do a YouTube video and actually share more insights about the book and show the cover. That’s really cool. That actually gets a lot of engagement. Whatever the case may be in terms of how you run it, it’s definitely okay to share an affiliate link. Now I will say that I think it’s important to let people know that it is an affiliate link or referral link if people want to get the book. But you know there’s nothing wrong with that.

I think that you’re providing a service in terms of having a book club, a place where people can come together to understand what books you’re reading or even communicate related to those books. That’s an idea that I threw around that I have yet to act on. More than just a book club, is there a way for people to interact related to these books? Then we can have specific discussions about these books every month. I don’t know.

Whatever the case may be, having an affiliate link in there is totally okay. Now the one thing I will share with you, and I got verification from this on Amazon, if you are going to be sharing affiliate links through Amazon or from Amazon through their Associates Program so you can get a little bit of a commission off the top there, you’re not allowed to put affiliate links into emails. You’re not allowed to put affiliate links into emails. That’s against their Terms of Service and you don’t want your account to get banned because of that.

One thing that I do is kind of a work around and I verified that this was okay, is I link to my book club page in my email. I talk about the book that I’m getting and I say, “Go and get the book.” But that link goes directly to my book club page. On the book club page, and you’re totally encouraged to do this, you’re allowed to put the affiliate links there, of course. So maybe every month instead of having one page, you have a blog post where you talk about this book, write about it, share your thoughts on it, maybe even do a video with it. Have people discuss in the comments section. Then you have affiliate links throughout pointing people toward that book.

You can even mention the next book that you’re going to be covering and have people get early access to that before you talk about it the next time around. That’s actually a pretty cool idea. Then in your emails that you send out you just say, “Hey, I’m reviewing this book this month, or this is the book of the month. Check out the blog post. I just posted it.” Then there it is so you don’t have to worry about that rule anymore of linking to it directly in the email. You’re linking it in your blog posts and your views, in your YouTube videos. That’s totally cool to do. Actually they do encourage that because they want to sell more stuff. They just for whatever reason don’t want it done through email.

Hopefully that helps, Amanda. I wish you the best of luck. Again, totally okay that these are affiliate links. I would be honest about the fact that those are affiliate links and that you’re not hiding the fact that you do get a little bit of commission. I always mention in that sort of situation with the book club for example I would say, “By the way if you want to pick up this book, we’re reading this one next month, here’s my Amazon affiliate link. No extra cost to you, but I do earn a commission if you do go through that link, but you don’t have to.” That’s it. That just kind of takes all the yuckiness out of that if you were worried about that.

Amanda, thank you so much for the question. I appreciate it. Wishing you all the best. I want to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question that you’d like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com and you can ask right there on that page.

Thanks so much for all of your support. Thank you to FreshBooks for making it easy for everybody to keep track of finances and do invoicing including myself. You can find them at FreshBooks.com/askpat. Make sure you enter “AskPat” in the How Did You Hear About Us section to get that 30 day free trial.

As always here’s a quote to finish off the day by Warren Whitlock. This quote is, “My goal is to spark something within in the reader and allow it to initiate an idea they can then grow.”

Awesome. Thanks so much. I appreciate you and I look forward to serving you in the next episode of AskPat. Bye for now.

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