When it comes to writing a blog post on the subject of affiliate marketing books you have one of two choices.
The first is to roll out the same shit as everyone else.
And the second is to prove that you know your subject matter.
Here’s how most affiliate marketing bloggers have dealt with it:
- Go to Amazon
- Search for books on affiliate marketing
- Rewrite the intro and description of each of those affiliate books
- Write 300 words of crap on the “best books” and pass it off as a review
So yeah…I decided not to do that.
Especially because 99% of the books on affiliate marketing other sites “recommend” are so laughably bad I know they didn’t read them.
Instead, I wanted to share with you the books that have had the most profound effect on my mindset, habits, and knowledge as an affiliate marketer.
Because being an effective affiliate is about far more than just understanding what steps it takes to build a website, or find an ideal affiliate program.
And after reading these five books, you’ll understand that too.
#1 Deep Work
I first came across Cal Newport during a random YouTube binge.
He was giving a TEDx talk, in the most humble manner possible, about quitting social media because of something called “deep work”.
The more he talked the more I found myself nodding in agreement.
And what it came down to is this – there are two types of work in this world:
- Deep work
- Shallow work
Deep work is when you’re completely immersed in what you’re doing, free of all distractions.
Writers call this “flow” state – it’s like watching somebody else write for you and you’re just along for the ride.
Then there is “shallow” work.
This is social media, Netflix, or picking up your smartphone every three minutes to check it.
None of which are actually productive or worthwhile uses of the limited time you have on this planet.
And the harsh truth is that 95% of affiliate marketers focus on shallow work.
They get distracted by every new shiny object, the more profitable niche, etc. All of which directly hinder their ability to make money online.
They then complain that they’re not making enough money from their site(s), never realizing that their “14-hour days” are 12 hours of shallow work and 2 hours of actual work.
Read Deep Work.
It’s…and I hate this cliché… a game-changer for the affiliate mindset.
- Author: Cal Newport
- Formats: Paperback, Hardback, Kindle, Audiobook
- Pages: 304
#2 Web Copy That Sells
So now that we’ve discussed mindset, it’s time to take a look at another key skill for affiliate marketing –the art of writing.
Now, I know some of you are going to say, “…but I outsource all my content.”
Cool, but that doesn’t change the fact that you should have a foundation in what good web copywriting looks like.
And Maria Veloso’s “Web Copy That Sells” is a great resource to have at your disposal, regardless of whether or not you’ll actually do any writing for your affiliate marketing website.
This has been the “go-to” guide for writers for a long time, not only because it’s useful but because Maria practices what she preaches.
She writes web copy for a living.
The focus of the book leans more towards sales copy than how to write product reviews, so if you’re looking for that you’re better off using the templates in The Authority Site System course.
But there are timeless lessons in here too, and one of my favorites is, “Words tell, emotions sell.”
And it also covers how to craft a great headline, which is important not just from a copywriting point of view, but also because it can massively impact your clickthrough rates in the SERPs.
The book is now in its third edition, which is probably a good thing considering that the screenshots in my second edition feature Internet Explorer.
So in summary, Web Copy That Sells is a great read for anyone who wants to have a solid foundation, built on proven principles, in writing good web copy.
Or just buy it and give it to your writing team.
- Author: Maria Veloso
- Formats: Paperback, Kindle
- Pages: 314
#3 SEO 2020
If you want your affiliate sites to be profitable then you’ll need to get your head around SEO.
Again, it doesn’t matter if you’re outsourcing this aspect of your online business, you should understand the principles of search engine optimization.
In the interests of full transparency, I know Andy Williams, the author of this book.
We first met on a small SEO forum way back in around 2002.
Basically, there are very few people I trust outside of the Authority Hacker community for advice on SEO except for Andy and a few others.
He was the first person to tell me that Google would penalize all article directories months before it happened, predicting Google Panda in the process.
And he actually makes money from affiliate marketing and has done now for the best part of 20 years.
So what can his book teach you?
You get coverage of all the major algo changes, in-depth keyword research, choosing a domain name, how to write quality content (he calls it ‘Fat Content’), getting your on-page SEO right, structured data, site structure, including siloing with examples, backlinks – what does and doesn’t work, Google analytics basics, etc, etc.
You get the idea.
Is it the only SEO book or resource you’ll ever need as an affiliate marketer?
But you’re not going to find a better book on the subject, for this price, anywhere.
- Author: Dr. Andy Williams
- Formats: Paperback, Kindle
- Pages: 415
#4 How To Make Money As An Amazon Associate
So after actually sitting down and reading several books on the subject, I found a pretty decent guide to affiliate marketing amongst them.
It’s not perfect, but it’s the best of the bunch on Amazon right now.
What I like about How to “Make Money As An Amazon Associate” is that it’s pragmatic in that you could pick it up, follow the advice and get a basic affiliate site up and running.
He advises against using free blogs (smart), has a basic tutorial on how to set up a WordPress site, covers elementary search intent, how and where to outsource your content, and even has info on how to come up with content ideas.
One really nice touch is his advice on how to get your hands on demo products to review even if you can’t afford to buy them.
And he also shows how to use cheaper products to keep your Amazon sales volume numbers up so you can benefit from higher commission rates.
But what really surprised me was that he gives live examples of his affiliate sites, which is very rare these days.
Things I didn’t like include that he mentions “previous screenshots” when there’s nothing there, and he also mentions a certain keyword tool that is well past its sell-by date.
Also, his recommended web host…well…I parted ways with them 3 years ago because they’re awful.
He’s obviously recommending each affiliate program to earn a commission, which is fine, but that’s all the more reason for him to update the book.
And yes, it really is only 48 pages in length, so manage your expectations on this one – this is a guide to affiliate marketing for absolute beginners.
- Author: Chris Guthrie
- Formats: Paperback, Kindle
- Pages: 48
#5 Atomic Habits
Habits of any kind take time to form.
The problem is that most people try to correct a current behavior they don’t like by making a massive effort to change it.
Then two weeks later they quit.
Affiliate marketers do this a lot – run headlong into a project, “working” 14 hours a day on it and then just stop cold for weeks or months. Or forever, in many cases.
A smarter way to change your affiliate marketing behaviors is with micro habits, which is exactly what author James Clear discusses in “Atomic Habits”.
Basically, don’t try to do 100 push-ups a day within a week.
Instead focus on doing 10 push-ups a day, every day for a month.
Or even 5.
The logic is that you’ll automatically do more and achieve more by setting realistic goals that your subconscious sees as being reasonable.
And it really, really works.
How this relates to your affiliate marketing business is because the process of building an authority site is best thought of like a long-distance race (okay…maybe jog) rather than a 100-meter sprint.
You need to create the habit of doing 1 or 2 small tasks every single day for your affiliate site, and within time that habit will deliver mind-blowing cumulative results.
And Atomic Habits is the best book on the subject that I’ve read.
- Author: James Clear
- Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook
- Pages: 280
But What About Book X by Author Y?
Look, I know everyone has their own favorite author on a given subject.
But there’s a problem in the affiliate industry originates in the Internet marketing industry – people looking to make a quick buck.
The vast majority of the available affiliate marketing books are used as a way to drive traffic to an affiliate program and/or the author’s website.
That’s why they’re so cheap – free in some cases.
Basically, 95% of the affiliate marketing books I bought and reviewed were genuinely bad.
One of them was written so long ago it actually mentions Squidoo as an option for creating backlinks to your affiliate site.
Two other books kept referring to 2013 as if it was yesterday, proof those affiliate marketers never update their books.
And a third spent exactly 37% of the book talking about the history of affiliate marketing, terminology, etc, etc. I’d lost the will to live by the time it actually got to talking about how to make money online with affiliate sites.
The affiliate marketing books I read were redundant in every sense bar the one listed above by Chris Guthrie, and even that needs an overhaul.
So that brings us to the end of our roundup on the best affiliate marketing books.
Except there are no “best books” on affiliate marketing.
That’s why my end goal here was to introduce you to reading material that will help make you a more effective online business owner and affiliate marketer.
You can learn everything else you need to know about affiliate marketing inside The Authority Site System.
We operate in a very dynamic industry where things change so quickly it can be hard to keep up.
That’s why I suggest investing your time and effort in books that will improve your mindset, habits, and systems more than any single book on affiliate marketing.
The changes you make internally will reflect massively on your success in affiliate marketing.
As will being part of a community full of people who are learning how to make money online from others who already do that.
Which is exactly what you’ll find inside The Authority Site System.
A shameless plug, but a valid one.