Lessons Learnt After One Year As a Bookshop.org Affiliate

As many of you know, last year, Paper Procrastinators became Bookshop.org affiliates. Nothing really changed on the blog. We made a post about it, and starting using our referral link in our reviews, but beyond that, life went on. However, I’ve learned some valuable lessons after one year marketing our affiliate links that I’m going to share with you. So whether you’re interested in learning what the behind the scenes look like as an affiliate or you want to see if becoming an affiliate yourself is worthwhile, here are some things that I’ve learned.

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Lesson 1: Look at Other Lists

When we first started out on Bookshop, I wasn’t really to clear on how to create a good list. I made a best of the year list, and a most anticipated list, but that was kind of it. But what I’ve realized are those are really good blog post lists, but not necessarily the best lists for a page on a book store website. So I’ve spent the past few months perusing the various lists that are all over Bookshop.org. There are some fantastic ones out there, and I’ve used many as inspiration for creating newer lists of my own. Not only that, but I’ve discovered some great books I hadn’t heard of by browsing through various lists. So whether you plan on creating lists of your own, or want to find some less hyped books to read, I’d definitely recommend browsing through the lists that are already out there!

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Lesson 2: Recommend It to Everyone

I could have also named this section “It’s Really Damn Hard to Get Clicks”! I’m going to be really honest here. For about the first 5 months after we became affiliates, Chana and I were the only ones using our page to purchase books. It was a bit disheartening, but looking back, I can’t say I’m surprised. I wasn’t publicizing the page enough. At this point, I’ve told friends and family about my Bookshop page, I’ve publicized lists on Instagram, and I’ve just done an overall better job at marketing this list. And it has worked! So don’t be afraid to share your lists with the world! You never know who might be interested!

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Lesson 3: Get on the Bookshop.org Homepage

If you are an affiliate on Bookshop, every month you get sent an email asking if you have any lists that you’d like to be featured on the homepage. And if I have to define a moment where people regularly started using the affiliate links, it was when I took the chance and submitted a list to be featured on the homepage. I’m actually still quite proud of the list that I created to be shared. It’s a list of great reads to start out when diving into the world of graphic novels. It has a mix of popular and lesser talked about works, and I was so happy to share it with people, though unsure of the reception it would receive. Well, the list was shared for a week in September, and people are STILL making purchases from that list almost 3 months later. So take the chance and share a list you’re proud of, it will definitely pay off!

Lesson 4: Play Around

Like anything, being an affiliate takes trial and error. Some lists you make take off, others don’t capture people’s interest as much. Some marketing techniques work really well, while others just don’t. But that’s the beauty of being an affiliate. There’s no right way to do things because you get to measure your own success. For me success was getting strangers to use the links, and now that’s happening! Have I failed in other areas? Sure. But I’m going to keep trying new things until I reach another milestone. As long as I have some lists up, I’m trying my best and that gives me the freedom to play around as much as I’d like!

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Lesson 5: Know Why You Do It

Now, at the end of all this you might be thinking that this sounds like fun and it sounds pretty simple, so why not try out being an affiliate? And I think that’s great! Go for it! However, just know that it’s not a get rich quick scheme. People may not look at your lists for months. A list you really liked might get no clicks. You might be the only one using your referral links for a while. I still think it’s worth doing for the times when it does work. I continue to have fun because I know I’m helping to support other bookstores out there. The money is a nice perk, yes, but I would have quit 6 months in if that’s all I wanted. Like blogging, it takes some time, it takes some effort, but mostly it just takes passion!

Now while I’m already discussing the wonders of Bookshop.org and being an affiliate, I figured I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Black Friday sale they’ve got going on! There’s free shipping in the US through Monday November 29th! So If you’re interested in a book, now’s the perfect time to buy one. And even if you have no plans of buying anything, I’d still be forever grateful if you took a look at our most recent list featuring both Chana and I’s favorite books from various genres! My hope is that whether you buy from Bookshop.org or not, you find something wonderful to read this holiday season!

Would you ever consider becoming an affiliate? Have you checked out the awesome lists curated on the Paper Procrastinators Bookshop.org page?

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32 thoughts on “Lessons Learnt After One Year As a Bookshop.org Affiliate

  1. I’m an affiliate with practically every possible shop online that exists (except Barnes & Nobel because they don’t have a program anymore). I am also an affiliate with both the US and the UK Bookshop sites, and I’ve made lists on both of them, but I’ve never publicized or posted any links to them! (I’ve also never earned anything from either shop, so…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m only a Bookshop.org affiliate since I really believe in what they stand for. I guess I’d consider being an affiliate for other places, but no others have really captured my interest at this point in time.

      I think you should definitely publicize and promote your links! Try to get on the Bookshop.org homepage as well! Maybe then you’ll start to see some earnings!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I haven’t tried out any other affiliate programs, but I’ve been so happy with how my affiliation with Bookshop.org has turned out! And I think it’s great that people use your list of books with pre-order incentives to get a copy for themselves! Like you said, everyone gets something out of that purchase!

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  2. This is such a lovely post, thank you so much for writing it and for sharing some advice! We too rarely talk about affiliation as book bloggers, it’s so great that you decided to write this. I’m a bookshop affiliate as well, and, while I haven’t earned much just yet, I love the possibilities that this platform offers comparing to Amazon and how you can, by responding to the email like you said, end up being featured on their homepage. it’s such a lovely initiative!
    Thank you for this post and I wish you all the success with this!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Marie! I figured it’s not a topic that many people are willing to talk about, and although at this point I’m still hesitant to talk about exact numbers, I did feel like I had a lot to say on the topic that I wanted to share!

      And yes, the possibilities that Bookshop.org offers are absolutely wonderful! There are so many opportunities to share underhyped and less talked about books, instead of constantly promoting books that are already bestsellers, which I think is absolutely fantastic!

      Thank you! I appreciate your support so very much! 💕

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  3. Great post! I have considered becoming a Bookshop.org affiliate, but I haven’t done it yet because my experience with affiliate links has been mixed. I’ve made a few hundred dollars with Amazon links. I’ve made pretty much nothing with Book Depository links. I don’t know if I want to go through the effort of more links.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I mean, if you want to become a Bookshop.org affiliate in a more chilled manner, you can just make some lists to promote, instead of linking to each individual book. But I definitely understand if even creating and promoting lists can be too much effort. For me it’s been a lot of fun, but I’m trying to keep in mind that if it ever gets to be too much, I can just take a break!

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  4. The only two affiliations I like using is ProWritingAid and AdMaven. For sure, ProWritingAid is life because I learned how to push above and beyond with my writing. The last question made me think about why I do this. AdMaven is to gain some form of assisted traction and (hopefully) encourage them to place reliable art ads on my stuff. ProWritingAid is something I would forever recommend to people, guide them through it, and watch their school assignments or business emails elevate their vocabulary (and more).

    I love this post a lot! Extremely worthwhile.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Malka! I’m always writing, so it’s usually one of the things that pop up for me when I would work on my class assignments or citing my papers. However, AdMaven I had to hunt down for a reasonable company that doesn’t spam so much and help me boost views in certain areas.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a really great post. I did learn a lot, and I was never even aware of half of this. You made it really simple to understand, and help with most of the pitfalls that could happen. It’s always better to learn from someone wo has experienced it. Thank you very much for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

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