Have you ever dreamed of writing a book and not just getting it out there but actually selling it successfully? Here’s the thing – books, like any other product, need a push to get noticed. It’s a little-known secret that most bestsellers out there have a dedicated crew, an army if you will, tirelessly promoting them. Imagine what it would be like to multiply your book sales two, three, or even five times over. Sounds incredible, right? Well, that’s the power of using affiliates in a book launch. In this post, I’m going to walk you through the process of getting affiliates on board for your book launch and leveraging their support to skyrocket your book sales.

Using affiliates to launch a bestselling book

Want to go even more in-depth on launching a bestselling book?

Click here to check out my free on-demand training How to Sell 10,000 Copies of Your Book…Without Major Media or Paid Advertising

So, you’ve written a book (or are in the process of writing one). Now what?

If you have any interest in writing a bestseller (or just selling as many books as you possibly can), there’s something you need to know. They are called “bestSELLers” for a reason…because the authors SELL a LOT of books.

They don’t write a great book, celebrate finishing it, and then HOPE that people buy it. Hope is not a great marketing strategy. I’ve helped launch 13 bestselling books, including my own, Turn Your Passions Into Profits. We’ve helped our clients sell more than 300,000 books (and that’s pre-orders!). And it was nearly 100% because of one strategy…getting affiliates to promote the book.

Most authors fall into this trap:

Process of launching a bestselling book with affiliates

Don’t be like that poor author.

My First Book Launch with Affiliates

Back in 2015, I ran my first book launch with affiliates, working on Jeff Goins’s book, The Art of Work.

Affiliate program book promotion with Jeff Goins

Just eight weeks before the launch, Jeff was in a bit of a bind. He had to report anticipated sales to his publisher…a daunting task given his last book sold only 3,500 copies. When I boldly suggested he promise them 15,000 sales, Jeff was understandably skeptical.

I was insistent. I knew that with the right affiliate strategy, we could reach that number. Ultimately, I told him he either needed to tell them 15,000 and go all-in or I was out. I need him to believe that we’d hit 15,000 pre-orders.

Reluctantly, Jeff agreed to my ambitious goal, albeit with some hesitation.

Not only did we meet the 15,000 book target, but we surpassed it with a staggering 22,000 preorders!

This success wasn’t just about numbers; it was about proving a concept.

The launch’s triumph showed the immense power of affiliate marketing in driving book sales. Following this, we managed launches for renowned authors like Brian Tracy and Lewis Howes, achieving multiple bestsellers. Almost every book we promoted topped its category on Amazon, with several making it to the Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestseller lists.

How This Post is Structured

I’m going to break this into three sections.

First, why you need affiliates to promote your book if you want to launch a bestseller.

Second, how to find the right affiliates for your book launch.

And third, how to actually work with the affiliates to get the most from them, so you can max out your book sales.

Why You Need Affiliates for Your Book Launch

Let’s face it, the chances of your book getting major media exposure like a spot on Good Morning America or Oprah’s book club are pretty slim. I know, it’s a tough pill to swallow. But even if you did land those big media spots, they don’t always translate into a ton of book sales, especially for niche topics.

And then there’s the world of paid advertising.

Sure, you could pour money into ads, but let’s be real…you’re basically just filling Zuckerberg’s pockets without any surefire return on your investment. It’s a risky game, and it can be costly with no guarantees of success.

That’s why what I’m going to share with you is not just a more cost-effective strategy, but it’s also one that guarantees profitability, and the best part? It costs you nothing upfront. Keep reading to find out how you can harness the power of affiliates for your book launch and make a real impact in your sales.

Good artists copy, great artists steal - Pablo Picasso

To be clear, you could totally try to figure out this whole affiliate thing on your own. But let me tell you, that road is long and full of potholes. I’ve been down it, and it took me nearly ten years to sort it all out. And even now, I’m still picking up new tricks every day. The journey to figure this all out was a real headache, to be honest.

But here’s the good news: there’s a smarter, less painful way to do this. Remember what Pablo Picasso said?

Good artists copy. Great artists steal.

Well, today, I’m going to let you in on a little secret – you can “steal” my best strategies.

By the end of this post, I’ve got two goals:

First, I want to make you a firm believer that an affiliate program is the BEST way to boost your book sales.

And second, I’m going to show you the best way to launch, build, and grow your affiliate program is by modeling what has already been proven to work.

The beauty of this approach? It’s like taking a shortcut without any of the guesswork. You just follow the path laid out by others. Sounds pretty doable, right? Stick with me, and let me show you how you can make your book launch a huge success.

Advantages of Having Affiliates Promote Your Book Launch

What are the advantages of affiliates for a book launch

Let’s talk about why bringing in affiliates to promote your book is a game-changer:

1. Make Money Before Spending It

This is a biggie. With affiliates, you’re essentially only paying for performance. That means you’re not shelling out cash before seeing any returns. Pretty neat, right? You only pay when sales actually happen. It’s a win-win.

2. No More Guesswork in Marketing

Ever found yourself drowning in the sea of market targeting? It’s easy to either cast too wide a net or get so specific that you’re targeting an impossibly narrow audience. But when you have affiliates, they do the heavy lifting in figuring out who to market to. They’ve already got their audience dialed in, taking the guesswork out of the equation.

3. Warmest Prospects Ever

There’s something special about affiliate-driven traffic. It’s like getting a warm introduction at a party. When affiliates rave about your book before sending folks to your site, those prospects arrive pre-warmed and ready. That’s why affiliate leads usually convert way better than other types of traffic.

4. Success Breeds More Success

Here’s the cool part: when one affiliate finds success with your book, others take notice. Affiliates talk, share, and follow each other. So, if one is making a good chunk of change from your book, it’s likely others will want in on the action too. We’ve seen it firsthand. Recruit a hundred affiliates, and you might get another 40 to 100 joining in – all with zero extra effort on your part.

That’s the beauty of using affiliates for your book launch. It’s not just about the initial boost in sales; it’s about building a momentum that can carry your book to heights you might not have reached alone. So, ready to get those affiliates on board?

Why Would Affiliates Want to Promote a Book Launch?

Before we focus on how to find affiliates, we need to focus on some of the foundational work. And the first foundational item is to understand why affiliates would even want to promote a book.

1. It’s Low-Pressure Selling

First off, books are typically low-ticket items. This means affiliates don’t have to be super salesy, as they might be when promoting higher-priced courses or products. It’s easier for them to recommend a book since it doesn’t feel like they’re pushing a big purchase on their audience.

2. No Need for Lengthy Explanations

Everyone knows what a book is, right? That simplicity is a huge plus. When affiliates promote your book, they don’t need to spend time explaining what it is or how it works. It’s straightforward, and people know exactly what to expect. This ease of understanding makes promoting a book a breeze for affiliates.

3. The Gateway to Your Sales Funnel

Here’s where it gets interesting. Affiliates might not make a fortune (or any money at all) from the book sales alone, but they’re savvy about the bigger picture. Your book acts as an entry point into your sales funnel. For affiliates, the real gold lies in the backend funnel – the upsells, courses, or additional services you offer after someone buys the book. That’s where they see their earnings potentially skyrocket.

More on this below.

How to Attract Affiliates to Your Book Launch

Attracting affiliates to promote a book launch

Here’s what you need to pull in high-quality affiliates:

1. A Great Sales Page

Your sales page is your make-or-break point. Whether it’s for a free book or a special early-bird deal, this page must convert visitors effectively. The better this page performs, the more your affiliates will benefit from sending traffic your way.

Here’s an a great example of a book sales page (if I say so myself).

Book launch affiliates sales page

2. A Compelling Backend Offer

To lure in top-notch affiliates, your book launch should include a strong backend offer. This means after someone grabs your book, they’re presented with additional offers – such as more in-depth courses, software, or other offers. The price point should be enticing enough for affiliates to earn a decent commission, ideally $197 or more in total. This setup ensures that your affiliates see the real financial benefits of promoting your book.

3. A High-Converting Backend Funnel

This is where the magic happens for your affiliates. Your backend funnel, which could include upsells or additional offers, needs to be finely tuned for conversions. Remember, the more successful this funnel is, the more your affiliates earn – and the more they’ll want to promote your book in the future.

If you want to see a high-converting book launch funnel for affiliates in action, send me a text at 260-217-4619.

Just type “book funnel” and it will automatically send you the funnel page by page. Feel free to copy it.

4. Generous Commission Rates

When it comes to commissions, generosity goes a long way. Aim to offer at least a 40% commission on backend products. This percentage makes it worthwhile for affiliates to invest their time and resources in promoting your book.

A solid commission is an enticing incentive for them to really push your book launch to their audience.

RELATED POST: How to Attract Affiliates with the Right Commission

5. Extended Cookie Duration

When you are doing a book launch is not the time to be cheap on cookie length. When you offer a lifetime cookie, it is a great way to promote your affiliate program.

Longer cookie lengths are a huge plus for affiliates, especially during a book launch. If you usually offer a 90-day cookie, consider extending it to last until your next big launch or even offering a 1-year or lifetime cookie. A lifetime cookie, in particular, is a fantastic selling point. Being able to say “Hey, we have a lifetime cookie!” sounds a lot better and doesn’t make you seem cheap.

It assures affiliates that they’ll benefit from any future purchases made by the customers they refer, compensating for the lower earnings from the initial book launch.

OK, you now have all of the groundwork in place. How do you actually FIND the affiliates for your book launch?

How to Find Affiliates for a Book Launch

Finding affiliates to promote a book launch

Finding the right affiliates for your book launch involves three key steps:

1. When to start

2. Where to look

3. How to recruit (tactics)

When to Start Looking for Affiliates

One of the biggest mistakes I often see is delaying the recruitment of affiliates. To be on the safe side, begin your search at least six months before your launch.

Why so early? Well, affiliates usually have packed promotional calendars. They plan their activities months in advance. By beginning the recruitment process early, you ensure your book has a reserved spot in their busy schedules.

Simply put, if you want to have a successful book launch, you need to start as early as possible.

Now, I know you might be asking…

“But Matt, my book launches in three months (or 40 days or whatever length is less than six months). Can I still do this?”

The short answer is YES! But just know that you might only get 40, 50, or 60% as many affiliates as you would have if you’d started months earlier.

Where to Find Affiliates

There are many ways to find affiliates for your book launch. I’m going to share 8 ways below.

1. Start With Who You Know

Your personal network is a goldmine. Think about friends, colleagues, or acquaintances who might be interested in your book’s topic. They know you, trust you, and are more likely to promote your book with genuine enthusiasm.

Make a list of these potential partners and reach out to them. Seriously…stop right now and write down as many people as you can think of in 5 minutes. I’ll even provide a timer for you 🙂

2. Watch Other Book Launches

Sign up as an affiliate for other book launches and learn from their strategies. This experience gives you insights into what works and what doesn’t, helping you shape your own affiliate approach.

Check out our recommended affiliate programs page and see if we have any upcoming book launches.

3. Forums and Groups

Join online communities where people in your niche hang out. These platforms are full of potential affiliates who are already interested in your book’s subject matter.

4. Your Customers

Your existing customers can be excellent affiliates. Think about it…what better source of evangelists for your book launch can you think of?

They already appreciate your work and can authentically endorse your book. Surprisingly, this is an often overlooked source of affiliates.

5. Live Events

Networking at live events can be incredibly effective, albeit the most costly approach.

The key at live events is to build genuine relationships first. Focus on understanding the other person’s needs and how you can support them. Once a solid relationship is established, you can follow up later with an affiliate proposal.

6. Competitors

Yes, your competitors can be valuable affiliates. Here are three ways you can work with your competitors for a book launch:

  • Offer the book as a downsell to their buyers. Could they offer your book to people who went through a funnel but didn’t purchase their more expensive product?
  • Offer the book to their non-buyers. If someone is on their list for a long time but has not bought their expensive course or product, your book is an alternative to them making $0 from someone.
  • Position the book for a niche within a niche. What are some ways that your book might speak to a small segment of someone else’s audience? Maybe they can promote your LinkedIn marketing book only to their financial advisors or your parenting book only to their single parents?

Click here for more on working with your competitors as affiliates.

The Amazon Rabbit Trail

How to launch a bestselling book on Amazon with affiliates

The seventh way to find affiliates is the most powerful. It works for anyone. If you know hundreds of people or zero people who could be an affiliate, this is the way to find hundreds of potential affiliates for your book launch.

When I launched my bestselling book, Turn Your Passions Into Profits, we had more than 500 affiliates promoting. I did more than 200 podcast interviews. But, I didn’t know 80% of the affiliates prior to the launch. In fact, the first time I met most of them was when I showed up for a podcast interview!

That is the power of the Amazon Rabbit Trail. Here’s how it works:

1. Look up a Similar Book to Yours on Amazon

Head over to Amazon and look up a book similar to yours, preferably one launched in the last three years. Amazon conveniently shows the release date, helping you target recent launches. We want affiliates who have recently promoted a similar book.

2. Identify Promoters

Next, Google the book you found on Amazon. Your goal is to find affiliates who actively promoted the book around its launch period, specifically one month before and after the launch. This focus ensures you’re looking at affiliates who are interested in book launches, not just any random mention of a book years after the release.

What podcasts was the author on? What affiliates did video reviews or written reviews? Who mentioned it on social media?

3. Create a Spreadsheet

As you discover who promoted the book, add their details to a spreadsheet. Note their first name, last name, the book they promoted, the author’s name, and their website URL. I’ll share why you want all of these details in a moment.

4. Explore Similar Books

Back on Amazon, click on books similar to the one you first identified. Amazon makes this ridiculously easy for you with the “People who bought this also bought _____” links.

Research who promoted the next book. And the next book. And so on.

5. Follow the Rabbit Trail

Keep following this trail. Each book and each promoter you find leads you deeper into the network of potential affiliates. It’s like going down a rabbit trail, uncovering more opportunities as you go.

Now, once you have a list of potential affiliates, how do you go about reaching out to them? Well, that’s where a lot of the secret sauce is…and I’m going to share it with you now.

How to Reach Out to Prospective Book Launch Affiliates

The single most important thing when reaching out to prospective affiliates is this:

Make sure to keep your initial contact SHORT.

Your goal is NOT to get a YES response. I know that sounds weird but your goal is not to share EVERYTHING with them about your book, the funnel, the upsells, the conversion rate, why you wrote the book, who it’s for, etc.

Your goal is simply to inspire enough curiosity that they write back with three simple words:

Tell me more.

Those are the three sweetest words you can get in response. That starts a conversation.

It’s an invitation to reply back and share more. Then, and only then, you can share details about the book, the audience for it, the funnel, the commissions, etc.

Our Number One Affiliate Recruiting Email Ever

Get my #1 affiliate recruiting email (the one I’ve personally used to recruit thousands of affiliates in dozens of niches). Grab your copy here!

Affiliate Recruiting Email Template

Yes, it really is that simple. You find affiliates who’ve promoted similar books in the past three years, reach out to them about your book (using this email template), and follow up like crazy.

The #1 Way to Get New Affiliates (Once You Have Affiliates)

I’m going to share with you now my #1 secret for getting new affiliates. You won’t believe how simple this is, yet it’s so often overlooked.

Here’s my number one trick for recruiting affiliates:

Just ask your current affiliates.

Sounds obvious, right? Yet, in my experience with over 250 affiliate programs, it’s astonishing how few actually do this.

Your current affiliates are a goldmine for recruiting new ones. They’re connected, they understand your book and audience, and they likely know others who would be a great fit. The secret is in directly asking them for referrals.

When you request your affiliates to recommend others, make sure you sweeten the deal by offering them a second-tier commission, typically ranging between 10-20% of the standard commission. This motivates them to actively seek out and refer quality affiliates.

If you aren’t sure how to ask your affiliates for referring, don’t worry…I’ve got you covered. For a proven email template that you can use to ask your affiliates for referrals, simply text “REFERRAL” to 260-217-4619, and I’ll send it right over.

Remember, your existing affiliates’ networks are incredibly effective for growing your affiliate base. They’re your best source for high-quality, interested, and capable new affiliates.

Keys to Getting More Affiliates to Say “Yes”

First, you need to understand that affiliate recruitment is largely a numbers game. Typically, only about 5-20% of those you approach will say yes. That might seem daunting, but it’s normal.

During my Turn Your Passions Into Profits book launch, over 500 affiliates joined. But only because I reached out to an even larger pool of more than 3,000 potential affiliates.

Here’s a simple formula: More asks equals more yeses.

The Power of Asking

In “The small BIG,” authors Steve Martin, Noah Goldstein, and Robert Cialdini discuss how we often underestimate the likelihood of getting a ‘yes’ when we ask for something.

“…the authors collected additional data to determine exactly why people have the strong tendency to underestimate the likelihood that a person will respond affirmatively to request for assistance. In brief, they found that the requesters tend to focus on the cost to the potential help provider in terms of time, effort, or money if he or she says yes, while giving less consideration than they should to the social costs in terms of difficulty, awkwardness or potential guilt, embarrassment, the potential help provider will experience if he or she says no.

The implications seem clear when trying to decide whether to make a request of someone. It’s important to recognize that you might be underestimating the likelihood of hearing ‘yes’. This underestimation, if left uncorrected, could therefore potentially stymie your productivity or the accomplishment of your goals.” (emphasis mine)

The story of Vanderbilt student Michael Pollack, who got to play “New York State of Mind” on stage with Billy Joel, perfectly illustrates this. He dared to ask, overcoming his fear of rejection, and it paid off.

Check it out here:

Overcome the Fear of ‘No’

Many of us are afraid of rejection, but you’d be surprised how many people are actually willing to say ‘yes’. Through my experience, I’ve found that even those I least expected to agree to promote our book have said yes, leading to significant sales. It’s all about overcoming the fear of hearing ‘no’ and just asking.

Dealing with Rejection

It’s natural to fear rejection; nobody, from my kids to seasoned salespeople, enjoys being told ‘no’. However, not asking at all only guarantees one outcome: you won’t get what you don’t ask for. Remember, every ‘no’ brings you closer to a ‘yes’, and you might just be surprised by who agrees to support your book launch.

Remember, the key to getting more affiliates to say yes is simply to ask more people and overcome the fear of rejection. Your next big affiliate partner might just be one ask away!

How To Get Over Your Fear of Asking Affiliates to Promote

Mark Twain once said:

Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.

To overcome the fear of rejection when asking affiliates to promote your book, you must face that fear head-on. Remember, it’s about acting despite the fear of hearing ‘no’. The more you ask, the more accustomed you become to the possibility of rejection, which paradoxically increases your chances of hearing a ‘yes’.

 ‘No’ Isn’t Personal

Most of the time, a ‘no’ isn’t about you or your book. It could be due to a packed promotional calendar, a current pause in affiliate promotions, or perhaps your book simply doesn’t align with their audience’s interests. It’s crucial to understand that these rejections are not personal attacks but rather business decisions.

From my experience, when people decline to promote something (a book, product, whatever), they often do so apologetically. They might even thank you for considering them. Remember, the number of people who respond rudely to such requests is surprisingly low. This should encourage you to reach out to more potential affiliates without the fear of negative reactions.

Getting over your fear of asking affiliates to promote your book launch is all about embracing courage and understanding that rejections are part of the process, often not personal, and usually handled gracefully by both parties. Keep asking, and you’ll find those who are excited and willing to support your book launch.

The ASK Formula for Getting Affiliates to Promote You

How to ask affiliates

When reaching out to affiliates for promoting your book launch, I suggest following my simple 3-part ASK Formula. While I won’t go into extensive details here (you can find an in-depth explanation in this post), let’s quickly skim through the basics of this effective approach.

A – Assume a Positive Response

The first step is about mindset. Before you reach out to potential affiliates, it’s crucial to have confidence. This confidence isn’t just in your product or offer, but in the belief that it’s an excellent fit for the affiliate’s audience, and that it will be beneficial for them.

Expect a ‘yes’ – focus on the reasons they would agree, instead of why they might not. Start with a positive assumption.

S – Show Them the Benefit

Next, answer the big question: “What’s in it for them?” Clearly, there’s a benefit for you, but what about the affiliate?

Think about how promoting your product can serve their audience, fill any content gaps, or add value to their business. Maybe it even offers an opportunity for them to network with other influencers.

Spend time understanding and articulating these benefits before you make your approach.

K – Know Their Audience and Needs

Finally, knowing your potential affiliate’s audience and their needs is crucial.

Have you ever received a pitch that was off the mark, showing no real understanding of what your audience cares about? The likelihood of taking such a relationship forward is slim. But if someone approaches you with a clear grasp of your audience’s needs and how their product can help achieve those goals, you’re more likely to engage.

Do your homework, understand their audience, and then make your pitch.

How to Run the Book Launch Itself

Once you have your affiliates, what do you actually do?

Focus on Pre-Orders

Assuming that you are launching a book and want to hit the bestseller list, you need to focus on pre-orders of the book. Here’s why: all those pre-orders count toward the first week’s sales. This is key for hitting bestseller lists. Imagine you have 15,000 pre-orders…that’s 15,000 sales counted in just one week, even if they were gathered over eight weeks.

Let’s put it into perspective. Say your launch date is August 1st. Sure, you could start selling before that, but the real push for pre-orders would kick in post-July 4. This strategic timing helps accumulate a significant number of sales that count towards your launch week.

Now, consider this scenario: you get 5,000 orders in the launch week, then another 5,000 the following week, and so on. The total might be the same, but spreading them over three weeks won’t make the same impact as having 15,000 in one week. That concentrated burst of sales is what propels your book onto bestseller lists.

So, when planning your book launch with affiliates, emphasize the importance of pre-orders. It’s not just about the total number of sales, but how and when you achieve them that can make the difference between a successful launch and a chart-topping release.

Get Your Affiliates the Book ASAP

When you’re managing a book launch, it’s essential to equip your affiliates with the right tools from the get-go. As soon as they sign up, make it a priority to provide them with a copy of your book. Even if it’s a rough or unedited version, this early access lets them familiarize themselves with your content.

When affiliates understand your book intimately, they can promote it more effectively. They can share genuine insights and personal takes with their audience, making their promotional efforts more authentic and impactful.

And don’t stop at just the manuscript. If you’re planning to have an audiobook version, make sure they get that too. Essentially, provide them with every format of your book available. This makes 100% sure that they have everything they need to support your launch and drive those crucial pre-orders and sales.

Start Scheduling Podcasts

Start scheduling podcast appearances for your book launch well in advance. And turn these podcast hosts into affiliates.

Take my book launch in January 2023 as an example. I had podcast recordings lined up a full year ahead! These were strategically planned to go live during the main launch window, maximizing exposure when it mattered most.

And always start with the smallest podcasts possible. Even if they have just ten listeners, it’s still great practice…and it’s better to start small than go big too soon.

In these podcasts, you start to flesh out the ideas and stories. This approach is beneficial for two reasons: it hones your message and reaches dedicated audiences, no matter the size.

Initially, focus on smaller shows. This stage is crucial for developing and refining your material, much like how a comedian tests their routine in smaller venues before hitting the big stage.

As you progress, gradually move to larger podcasts. This methodical approach ensures that by the time your book launches, you’re not just ready; you’re well-practiced and confident in discussing your book’s content in a compelling way.

Create a Communication Plan

When you’re gearing up for a book launch, especially with affiliates, effective communication is key.

Here’s how to do it:

Early Communication: Six Months Out

Start communicating with your affiliates as early as possible. Ideally, six months before the launch, you should be on their calendars. Initially, communicate twice a month – once through email and once via a partner Facebook group (a must-have for affiliate communication). Use this time to update affiliates on important dates, share a copy of the book for review, and keep them engaged with the process.

Ramp Up One Month Before the Launch

As you approach the one-month mark, intensify your communication. Share behind-the-scenes content like unboxing the book or revealing editing insights. Emphasize the importance of the pre-order start date (December 17 in my case), ensuring there’s no confusion with the actual launch date (January 10). The focus should be on pre-orders, as they count towards the first week’s sales and are crucial for hitting bestseller lists.

Detailed Promo Plans

Provide a clear promotional plan for your affiliates. This should include:

  • First email to go out 10-15 days before the launch.
  • Second email about a week before the launch.
  • Final email on the last day of pre-orders.
  • For highly engaged affiliates, suggest additional emails the day before and multiple times on the final day.
  • Develop a strategy that includes email, social media, and live interviews or podcast appearances.

Get the EXACT Template We Give to Our Affiliates to Get Them to Promote More and Generate More Sales! Click Here to Download it Now!

Promo plan for affiliates


Remember, the push is for pre-orders to claim bonuses, not just the book sale.

The goal is to keep affiliates informed, excited, and equipped to promote your book effectively. This communication plan is designed to build momentum and ensure everyone is on the same page as the launch date approaches.

Plan Your Affiliate Contest(s)

When planning a successful book launch with affiliates, contests can play a significant role. They not only incentivize your affiliates but also create excitement and a sense of competition. Here’s how to effectively plan affiliate contests:

Focus on Book Sales

First, determine the focus of your contests. Center them around book sales rather than backend products.

This approach simplifies tracking and aligns directly with your launch goals. Consider contests based on both individual and bulk sales to accommodate different levels of affiliate involvement.

Creative Contest Ideas

Get creative with your contests and don’t just limit them to “Top 5 affiliates” or similar contests. Here are a few ideas for different contests:

Entry-Level Sales Contest – For example, every affiliate who makes 10 book sales gets entered into a draw to win a cash prize, like $1,000. This encourages even beginners to participate actively.

Higher-Tier Incentives – For affiliates reaching 25 book sales, offer something more exclusive, like entry into a special Mastermind group. This provides value beyond just monetary rewards and can be a significant draw for more established affiliates.

Tailor Contests to Your Launch – Your contests should reflect the specific goals and nature of your book launch. If your book has potential for bulk purchases, consider incorporating this into your contest structure. This could mean additional rewards for those who facilitate larger sales.

Remember, the primary aim of these contests is to drive book sales and create a buzz around your launch. By offering these incentives, you motivate your affiliates to push harder for sales and ultimately contribute to the success of your book launch. Keep your contests engaging, fair, and aligned with your overall launch strategy.

Teach Your Affiliates

Teaching affiliates how to promote a book launch

When it comes to a successful book launch using affiliates, one of the most crucial elements is educating your affiliates. Teaching them how to promote more effectively can easily increase your affiliate sales by 200-300%. Here’s how you can effectively train them:

Training Sessions

Conduct training sessions on how to promote effectively. This can include webinars with extensive Q&A sessions or office hours, where affiliates can get first-hand advice and strategies for promotion.

You can get an example of an affiliate training I did for a client plus the slides and other resources for training affiliates here.

Tailored Advice

Share specific tips, like the benefits of mailing more often or choosing the right time to send emails. When running promos, I often suggest mailing on the weekends and share this tip on Fridays to encourage immediate action.

Help Them Understand the WHY

Make sure your affiliates understand why certain strategies are effective. Explain how increased mailing frequency, especially on cart close day, can significantly boost sales and commissions.

Provide Data and Insights

Share statistics and insights that illustrate the impact of their efforts. For example, show them how mailing twice as much can potentially increase sales by 120-200%.

Provide Clear Guidance

Your affiliates need a clear target. Inform them what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and importantly, why they should do it. See below in the Promo Plans and Promo Checklists section.

Share Your Expertise

Don’t underestimate the value of your own affiliate marketing knowledge, and don’t assume that your affiliates are already experts in your specific product or launch. Share your own experiences and lessons learned from other launches or programs. This not only educates but also inspires your affiliates.

One of our former clients, Jeff Goins, shared a valuable lesson with his affiliates about a time he was promoting Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula course. That lesson ended up being a big help to his affiliates.

Success Stories and Experiments

Share stories of what worked and what didn’t. This kind of transparency helps build trust and guides your affiliates in their promotional efforts.

Engage and Interact

Create engaging content like quick tutorial videos or informative blog posts (like this one). Sharing these with your affiliates keeps them engaged and informed.

Answer questions publicly. Remember, if one person is asking, many others are likely wondering the same thing.

By investing in teaching your affiliates and sharing your own experiences, you create a well-informed and motivated team. This approach not only helps them understand the promotional strategies better but also makes them feel more connected to your book launch, leading to a more successful campaign.

Keep in Contact With Your Affiliates

It is absolutely critical that you provide regular updates to your affiliates. The idea is to just keep things warm and keep you top of mind. For a book launch, things like these make for great updates to share:

  • New endorsements – if someone worthwhile endorses the book, share it with your affiliates.
  • Media appearances – if you’re appearing on a significant show or podcast, share it. That will inspire others to have you on their show or introduce you to other hosts.
  • Book cover finalized – Why not? It’s news.
  • Editing done – It’s a milestone. Celebrate it WITH your affiliates.

Other significant developments should be shared as well. Anything you can think of that is a milestone or newsworthy, SHARE IT! This helps build excitement and keeps affiliates informed about the book’s progress.

Create a Facebook Group for Your Affiliates

Start a dedicated Facebook group for your affiliates, either for just the book launch affiliates or your entire affiliate program. This becomes a central hub for communication, updates, and sharing strategies.

Regularly engage with affiliates in the group. Ask if they need anything or if they have suggestions, and be responsive to their requests.

Here are some examples of content we’ve posted for our affiliates during our book launches:

Book launch affiliate facebook group
Set up a facebook group for your book launch affiliates
Facebook group for book launch affiliates

Personalized Support

Ask your affiliates well in advance what they need to promote the book effectively.

This could range from specific promotional materials to more detailed information about the book.

By inquiring months ahead, you have ample time to prepare any requested materials, making sure nothing is left to the last minute.

Ask for Referrals

See above for how to get your affiliates to refer other affiliates.

The important thing here is to send out emails specifically asking for referrals, emphasizing the second-tier commission. And also, include it as a P.S. regularly in your other emails.

Send Physical Mail

Cut through the clutter of email and stand out by sending physical mail to your affiliates (this also works for prospective affiliates that you want to recruit).

A physical copy of the book can be an excellent tool for affiliates. It’s a cost-effective method (especially if sent via media mail, which as of this writing costs less than $4.00 in the United States) and adds a personal touch.

To REALLY impress your affiliates, try sending the book in a nicely designed box. This small investment can make a significant impact on how affiliates perceive and promote your book.

Remember, the success of your launch is closely tied to how well you support and engage your affiliates. Whatever you do, keep in regular communication with them!

For more ideas on communicating with your affiliates check out this post:

How to Communicate with Affiliates

What Affiliates Need to Succeed in Book Launches

The three most important things that affiliates need in a book launch are:

1. Awesome Affiliate Graphics

Affiliates need awesome graphics to share on social media. Yes, email is still the highest converting medium for sales and most people are using text-only emails, but you still need to provide killer graphics for things like:

  • Blog posts
  • Emails for those who use images
  • Affiliates who want to create their own banner ads
  • Social media, such as these:

Graphics for affiliates in a book launch

Affiliate graphics for promoting a book

Here’s how we do it:

You must also provide your affiliates with the following:

  • Headshots
  • 3-D book cover
  • Book being read

Make sure you have a specific page in your affiliate portal.

If you are looking to build your own affiliate portal, we can help. We’ve built more than a dozen high-quality affiliate portals for clients in various industries. Click here to learn more.

2. Swipe Copy

It’s critical that you provide your affiliates with good swipe copy. If this is a new term to you, it’s basically suggested emails and social media posts.

I’ve written an entire post about how to write swipe copy for your affiliates. I highly recommend reading it to learn more about creating killer swipe copy.

If I were to sum up that post in one paragraph, though, it would be as follows:

Quality swipe copy is vital. It’s not just a task to check off; it’s a cornerstone of your launch strategy. Take the time to craft it carefully or better yet, consider hiring a professional. Mediocre swipe copy won’t cut it. It needs to be compelling, persuasive, and aligned with your book’s message.

In your book launch, providing tailored swipe copy for different audiences is crucial.

When it comes to your book, you’re likely targeting multiple groups. For instance, in Jeff Goins’ The Art of Work launch, we focused on distinct avatars:

  • Current entrepreneurs
  • Aspiring entrepreneurs
  • Faith-based community
  • Stay-at-home moms and dads

Each audience had its unique appeal and angle in the swipe copy. We made it easy for the affiliates to identify their core audience and pick the right swipe copy for them.

For your launch, identify three or four key audiences your book resonates with. Once you have these groups, create different versions of swipe copy for each. This customization ensures that your message hits home for every segment of your audience. It’s not just about the book; it’s about how the book speaks to each individual’s needs and aspirations.

And make sure to share this post with your affiliates so they know how to use swipe copy:

How to Use Swipe Copy as an Affiliate

3. Promotion Plans and Checklists

During a book launch, you need to provide your affiliates with a clear promotional plan and checklist. You usually have a very short window for them to promote, so make it easy for them to understand the best strategies for promoting your book effectively.

That’s why we offer them what we call ABC mailing plans.

A – All-In or Aggressive Plan

For the highly committed affiliates, this plan involves sending 7+ emails. It’s designed for those who are all in and ready to go the extra mile for maximum impact.

B – Balanced Plan

This is the ‘Goldilocks’ of plans – not too heavy, not too light. It typically involves sending 4-6 emails and is perfect for affiliates who want a balanced approach.

C – Conservative Plan

Ideal for those just starting out or wanting to test the waters. This plan usually consists of 2-3 emails and is great for affiliates who are not ready to commit fully.

Here’s an example from a product launch that we ran for Michael Hyatt. Note that a longer product launch typically involves more options and thus more emails, but you get the idea from this example:

Here’s how we create the mailing plans and make them easy for affiliates to navigate:

The beauty of these plans is their flexibility. Often, affiliates start with the Conservative plan and gradually move up to the Balanced or even the All-In plan, especially when incentivized with prizes (see above about contests). The key is to get affiliates to commit to a plan, and these structured options make it easier for them to say yes.
Giving your affiliates a promo checklist is a simple yet effective to increase affiliate participation.

Affiliates, like most people, are busy with their businesses and daily tasks. Your launch might not be their top priority. That’s why having a clear, easy-to-follow checklist can make a significant difference.

The Affiliate Promo Checklist should outline daily actions for the launch period, making it extremely convenient for affiliates to know exactly what to do and when. This clarity and simplicity can lead to increased affiliate activity…and…BOOM!…more sales. In our experience, using this checklist has resulted in at least a 10% increase in sales.

Here’s one from a launch we ran many years ago (you can tell because it has “Google Plus” on it lol):

Checklist for affiliate promotion

Remember, you don’t need to create a new plan for every promo. Stick to a tried-and-tested format and adjust it as necessary for different launches. Click here to download a template for the Affiliate Promo Checklist – an editable document that you can customize to fit your specific needs.

Behind the Scenes on an Affiliate Book Launch

If you want to see behind the scenes on an affiliate book launch that we ran a few years ago, check out the video below. I show you exactly what we did when we ran Mark Miller’s Smart Leadership book launch. It will tie some of the concepts I shared in this post together.

Complete List of Resources Mentioned in This Post
List all of the major CTAs
What should the FINAL CTA be?

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