Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Skinny on Affiliate Links

Affiliate links are a hot topic for me. I've been cussed at, been called an asshole, and probably worse things. Do I care? Not at all. Have you ever really read the operating agreement you have with the merchant? You'd be pretty surprised about the things you can and cannot do.

For those of you who have NO IDEA what I'm talking about, affiliate links are special links that the person is designated to use and will be compensated for purchases using those links. These accounts are FREE and I suggest you get one if you are an author or blogger. I'm going to use Amazon affiliates as an example because that's what started this whole rant.

Identifying Affiliate Links:

Here is what a shortened URL looks like….you can use bitly for these. I’m using Eva’s book as an example. (LOVE HER!!)


Looks like a regular shortened link right? Also, when using shortened links Amazon says "Please remember that you must clearly state that the link in question will take the user to the Amazon site when clicked and ensure that the site on which you are posting the links includes the required statement to identify yourself as an Associate."

When you click on it, the string will be a lot longer and there will be an Amazon Associate affiliate link.


This is an affiliate link. As you can see, there is a special code for each affiliate. I used mine as an example.

When you sign up to be an affiliate, READ THE FRICKING AGREEMENT!

Okay, now that I've said that, the first line in the agreement states "The purpose of the Program is to permit you to advertise Products on your site and to earn advertising fees for Qualifying Purchases"

We're all readers here right? So you can clearly see that is says for YOU to use on YOUR SITE!!! When did other peoples blogs and Facebook pages become YOUR SITE? Guess what, they aren't! Just because everyone else is pawning their affiliate links off on everyone else to share doesn't mean you should do the same.

When you sign up for an affiliate account, they ask you what sites you own/operate and will be using the links on. So I had to name my website, my facebook page, twitter, etc. Again...not YOUR SITE. Mine.

After you're approved you can start using your links. Again, this is stated directly from their terms "After you have been notified that you have been accepted into the Program, you may display Special Links on your site.  “Special Links” are links to the Amazon Site that you place on your site in accordance with this Operating Agreement."

See? There's that funny thing again that says that these are for YOUR SITE. Does it look like I'm getting somewhere?

Oh, and here's the last one.

"nor will you create links formatted with your Associates tag for, or display such links on, a site that is not your site.  "

I can go blue in the face telling you that these links are for your use only. I use another affiliate account for a different merchant that clearly states the you cannot send these special links to an email list or subscription. For all of the tour coordinators who embed their affiliate links into promo kits, that goes for you too.

So why do I care at all? I have a big problem with people taking advantage of others. When I started blogging in 2011, it was fantastic. I've met some amazing people and gone to some amazing conventions. I've always believed that you should help people out.

I'm going to give you a big "what if" situation and let you decide what's right.

Said tour host/author sends an email to 400 bloggers with an affiliate link embedded into a promo kit to post on their blogs. Say all 400 bloggers post that exact kit on their blogs and 400 people buy that book. Guess who just made 400 sales? Not you, the blogger...it was the person who created that link. A link that was meant for use on THEIR SITE! Not yours. I'm all for helping someone until they stomp on you. Not telling me that these links are there is akin to LYING. I'll be damned if someone is purposely using my blog to make money for themselves. It's one thing for me to agree to promote you for free and ask nothing in return but don't go taking advantage of people, because that's exactly what you are doing.

Then you have to factor in FTC guidelines....because one set of rules isn't enough anymore. It sucks, but hey...they're looking out for consumers. The FTC states that "Required disclosures must be clear and conspicuous." So those links that you're hiding need to be disclosed (because lets face it, you are hiding them if you're cloaking them and not telling people about them) The disclosure needs to be within eyesight of the link, not buried at the bottom of a post or in a policy that's pages away. Go ahead and look at dot com disclosures on their website.

I'm not sure if you are allowed to ask people to share these links for you since it says they are for use on your site, but I would gladly help anyone in sharing if they disclosed it properly and made me aware of it. Don't get offended when I tell you they are for your use only and continue to argue with me. People can report you for misusing these links. I'm not that much of a jerk unless you piss me off. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean it's okay to do it. Everyone else just jumped off the bridge because they thought it was the in thing to do. Are you going to jump next?

All of there rules can be found on their website if you feel like being bored to death with rules and regulations.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Release Day Blitz: Lie to Me by Gracen Miller

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

Lie to Me
Author: Gracen Miller
NA Dystopian Romance

In the 23rd century, war has ravaged the planet.
A biological weapon has decimated the population, and those who remain have been driven to desperate measures to survive. Over the course of a century, evolution delivers an answer — the Xeno gene, which provides its bearers with immunity to disease. All adolescent girls are tested for the X-gene, and carriers are obligated to bear children for the good of the human race.
The promise of salvation comes at a terrible price.
Stone Emmerson, heir to a position of supreme power, is surprised to learn his best friend Kella is an X-gene carrier. He’s quick to claim her as his own, but as a mere servant, Kella can’t help but doubt his motives. Before he can offer the protection of his name, she escapes his household. Mourning her loss, Stone becomes a black sheep among his peers by focusing on the welfare of his people.
While survival and freedom hang in the balance…
Starting over under an assumed name, Kella is a founding member of the X-Diplomats, a radical group dedicated to stopping enforced X-gene testing and promoting equal rights for commoners. Years pass before she crosses paths with Stone again. As the web of deceit that has come between them unravels, their love begins to grow. But can Stone turn a blind eye to Kella’s violent revolution and see the justice of her cause? Or will their differences prove too great to overcome?
What price would you pay to break the chains of oppression?

Buy the Book

Gracen is a hopeless daydreamer masquerading as a “normal” person in southern society. When not writing, she’s a full-time basketball/football/guitar mom for her two sons and a devoted wife to her real-life hero-husband. She’s addicted to writing, paranormal romance novels, movies, Alabama football and coffee…addictions are not necessarily in order of priority. She’s convinced coffee is nectar from the gods and blending coffee and writing together generates the perfect creative merger. Many of her creative worlds are spawned from coffee highs. To learn more about Gracen and her writing or to leave her a comment, visit her at the following sites:

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Dating Game by Lavinia Urban

The Dating Game by Lavinia Urban

Coming this April.

The Dating Game
is the first book in a brand new series.

This series is
a New Adult RomCom, and it is definitely NOT
for children.

As a best-selling author Rita Davies has the world at her feet,
but there is one thing missing.
All Rita wants is a man and she is determined to go to great
lengths to find one. Even if that includes auctioning herself off at a charity
The only single one in her group, Rita is desperate for a plus
one so she can Netflix and chill with because her tubs of ice cream just aren’t
doing it for her no more.
Rita is quirky, flirty and, at times, downright dirty.
Follow Rita on her dating journey then decide which path she
should take.

Do you want to know a secret?

As a reader you will be given a choice. To find out more then pick up the book and tell Lavinia your thoughts. J 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Book Review: A Shade of Vampire (A Shade of Vampire #1) by Bella Forrest



I really, really enjoyed this book! This lovely young adult paranormal novel had all the right elements to make it a classic read for my vampire loving heart. The heroine was vulnerable, but strong and extremely likable. It had some dark elements and explored fear and violence. In the heaping pile of young adult, new adult, and adult paranormal books I've consumed, I've come to really have a soft spot for books that don't just delve into sex, blood, and violence. This author did a lovely job of maintaining the obvious darkness that accompanies this genre (hello, duh, blood suckers), but it's no overwhelming or saturated with unnecessary sex scenes.

The romance between Derek and Sofia might be a bit spontaneous, but I appreciate the elements that held the romance from teetering into the ridiculous. The plot twists, world building, and background the author provides wraps the story into a very engrossing, but entirely easy to gobble up story.

Read via Kindle Unlimited.


Bella Forrest is the million-bestselling author of the "A Shade of Vampire" series.

Sign up to Bella's New Release email list and you'll automatically get notified as soon as her next book is released: www.forrestbooks.com

Visit her website: www.bellaforrest.net

List of Bella's books:


Derek & Sofia's story:

A Shade of Vampire (Book 1)
A Shade of Blood (Book 2)
A Castle of Sand (Book 3)
A Shadow of Light (Book 4)
A Blaze of Sun (Book 5)
A Gate of Night (Book 6)
A Break of Day (Book 7)

Rose & Caleb's story:

A Shade of Novak (Book 8)
A Bond of Blood (Book 9)
A Spell of Time (Book 10)
A Chase of Prey (Book 11)
A Shade of Doubt (Book 12)
A Turn of Tides (Book 13)
A Dawn of Strength (Book 14)
A Fall of Secrets (Book 15)
An End of Night (Book 16)

The Shade continues with a new hero...

A Wind of Change (Book 17)
A Trail of Echoes (Book 18)
A Soldier of Shadows (Book 19)
A Hero of Realms (Book 20)
A Vial of Life (Book 21) --> Releases December 22nd 2015. Pre-order now!


A Shade of Dragon
A Shade of Dragon 2 --> Releases January 6th 2016. Pre-order now!


A Shade of Kiev 1
A Shade of Kiev 2
A Shade of Kiev 3


Beautiful Monster 1
Beautiful Monster 2

This is Bella's website: www.bellaforrest.net

And don't forget to come say hello on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AShadeOfVampire
Instagram: @ashadeofvampire
Twitter: @ashadeofvampire