How to Write an Ebook: Paying your affiliates

The How to Write an Ebook series comes from my experience selling my own ebook, Tell Your Time. (See all the posts in the series here.)

If you’re using E-junkie, paying your affiliates is a breeze and takes only a few minutes each a month (despite how long this tutorial is!).

Update: Unfortunately, PayPal has made changes to their systems which adversely affects E-junkie users trying to use the Mass Pay feature. The bottom line is, as of October 2011, not everyone is eligible for this feature which makes paying affiliates a 5-minute process. You may have to pay your affiliates manually, one by one, which is, to be sure, not fun. Read more here.

Below are the steps I take in my affiliate payment process:

Choose a payment date.

Decide when you will pay your affiliates. E-junkie recommends paying your affiliates between the 7th and the 10th of the month for the previous month’s sales which makes sense to me, so I go with it. So for example, any of my affiliates who made a sale in February 2011 will get paid for those sales on or around March 7, 2011.

The reason for the delay is because some transactions (like eChecks) take a few days to clear. By holding off mass payment a week or so, you can be sure any outstanding transactions made at the end of the month have cleared.

Make sure you have enough cash in your PayPal account to make the payment.

On the first of the month (see Important Note below), I login to E-junkie and click the “View/Download Transactions Log” under the “View Logs” heading:

How to pay affiliates

At the top of the next screen I make sure of the following:

  1. The correct product is selected.
  2. The dates at the top of the screen indicate the previous month. So, for February 2011, I choose February 1, 2011 as the beginning date and February 28, 2011 from the end date.
  3. Make sure “All Affiliates” is selected.
  4. Click “View Log”

How to pay affiliates 2

After clicking “View Log” scroll down a bit to see your sales figures for the previous month:

How to Pay Affiliates 3

Take note of the last amount which is your Affiliate Share. This is the total amount you will have to pay to affiliates in one Mass Payment.

Next, head over to your PayPal account.

Sidenote: I don’t keep funds in my PayPal account except a very minimal “cushion” amount (usually between $50-$100). PayPal has been known to freeze funds and so I prefer to keep control over them by transferring them to my business checking account immediately. Besides, since my business account pays me a bit of interest (gotta love a free checking account that pays interest no matter how little!), it makes more sense to keep my money there.

In any case, make sure you have enough funds in your PayPal account to cover the Affiliate Share you noted above.

If there are not enough funds (hopefully you previously linked your bank account to PayPal as I mentioned) and you can transfer funds from your bank account into your PayPal account.

Important Note: Transferring money to PayPal from your bank account takes a few days to complete, so this is why I complete this step (ensuring enough funds are in PayPal) on the first of the month — so I know the funds are there and ready to go on the 7th when I make the mass payment.

How to make a mass payment

Update: Since I wrote this post, apparently the Mass Payment feature has been changed from an across-the-board feature to one for which you must be approved. :( To address that, I have written another post called How to Qualify for PayPal’s Mass Payment Feature.  So, if you cannot access Mass Payments, I would definitely head over there first.

On the 7th of the month, I login to E-junkie and click the “Pay Your Affiliates” link under the “Manage Affiliates” heading:

Manage e-junkie affiliates

A new window will pop up which will allow you to download your Mass Payment file from the previous month.

Because the file automatically downloads as “masspay.txt” for me, I immediately rename it something which indicates the correct month (ex. MassPayFeb2011.txt). This way I can keep better track of the file. (You can open it to see a brief overview of who sold what if you’d like.)

Next, login to PayPal and follow these steps to pay all your affiliates in one fell swoop:

  1. Click the “Send Money” tab and then the “Make Mass Payment” link directly underneath.
  2. Upload the file you just downloaded from e-junkie (in step above).
  3. Enter an email subject. Generally I use something like “Tell Your Time February Affiliate Payment” or something like it. Write an email if you’d like. Take advantage of the opportunity to tell your affiliates about upcoming sales or make some sort of call to action or simply thank them.
  4. Click “Review”
  5. If you need to edit anything, you’ll need to re-upload the TXT or CSV file.
  6. Click “Send”
  7. Congratulations! You just paid your affiliates.

How to pay affiliates 4

Once I’m done, I simply enter it into my accounting records and I’m good to go.

Bonus Tip: I use Google Calendar to remind me to (a) check to make sure I have enough funds in PayPal on the 1st of every month and (b) to pay my affiliates on the 7th. I love Google Calendar because I can set a recurring email reminder which is sent to me each month. Of course, many calendars do the same thing, but I have a special affinity for Google. (I talk a little about it in this tutorial.)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. says

    Just wondering if you know which designation you choose when paying via Paypal. Is it PURCHASE {Goods or Services} or PERSONAL {Gift, Payment Owed or Other}. Or does it even matter?


    • says

      Do you mean when paying affiliates? It’s been so long since I set it up I can’t remember (now I just click the button and go). Are you doing this via a Business/Merchant account?

      • says

        Yes, I have a Business account. One that won’t let me do Mass Pay. So, I have to do each payment individually. Someone emailed me and said they were being charged for my payment…and was wondering if it was b/c I picked the wrong type of payment.



        • says

          Hey Amanda, this just inspired another post because I’ve heard the same thing from a few other people as well.

          From my interactions with PayPal, it sounds like you should be able to qualify for Mass Payments which would make things a ton easier. If they still won’t let you, I would ask them how to avoid charging the recipient. Maybe it does make a difference which you choose. (I’m so sorry I’m not more help–I just think they should allow Mass Payments across the board!)

          • says

            I’m off to read it now!

            And I just heard from someone else that they were OKed to have Mass Payments just by proving to Paypal they were who they claimed to be (or something like that). So, I emailed Paypal earlier this week and said, “I want Mass Payments!”. They still haven’t responded, but I’ll let you know when they do! Thanks for letting me ask so many questions about this same ridiculous thing! :)


  2. says

    I have a question…does e-Junkie automatically hold back the affiliate portion of your sales? I ask because the amount of sales and the amount in my PayPal account is much less…about the same amount as what my affiliate share is.

  3. says

    Amy I have researched im for the last 5 years in my spare time. I have invested about 160.00 in ebooks (been duped before). The hot topics of today seem to be “the list” an d seo. As of today I have not mastered either one. I did however go to blogworld 2010 convention in las vegas where I did some networking. My blog “broke” one year ago and I was locked out from posting on it. In that time I still manage to be in the top ten search results for beau social medi aa and social media beau ; you have posted some real gems in here about getting a domain that will rank in the search engines…. A concept I have had to previously shell out money for. I am a firm believer that knowledge is only worth the effort you put forth in implementing it. Thanks for the awesome series; I read it in one sitting. I’m off to brainstorm now.

  4. Ned says

    Woke up early to finally check into e-book writing info. WOW did I ever find the answers to all my questions. This is absolutely awesome and very easy to understand and I could go on and on. Thank you so much. I will be back if questions arise after the starting process, outline, mindmap, etc. I think I have found what I have been looking for and now maybe I can make my dream come true.


  5. Jon says

    Thank you for compiling all of this information and communicating it so well! It has been very helpful! The book I wrote can be sold for both individual use and for use in a selling situation. I expect some reps will purchase numerous copies to hand out to their prospects. Do you know if there is a way to prevent ebook copying? Or a way to sell numerous copies to one individual/organization? Thanks!

  6. says

    Amy: Paypal won’t let me do mass payment b/c of some new requirements they’ve instituted (business account, certain amount of sales per month, etc.). So, now I’ll have to do them all by hand. Ack!

    But my question is when I download the list of affiliates to pay, how can I tell when it’s updated. For example, I’m paying everyone at 8pm, what if someone sells one at 8:30? How can I tell if the log has been updated? Just by comparing it by hand? (Does that make sense?!)


    • Amy says

      Huh? Oh that’s stinky. Will have to see what PayPal is up to. Argh.

      Not sure I’m understanding…are you using downloading the list of affiliate sales for the previous month? So, when I’m paying affiliates, I’m not looking at my log at all, just the downloaded file I get from the “Pay Your Affiliates” link. And so, the first of December, for example, I’m paying everyone who made sales in November. Does that help at all?

      • says

        Sorry, Amy! I left out the most important part of my question–I’m trying to pay everyone NOW. Not at the beginning of the month. It’s almost Christmas, you know?

        It seems like the file isn’t time-stamped. It’s just marked by the month. So, if I pay them now, and then download another file in January, I’ll have to do some subtraction to get their next payment.

        Is there a better way?

        (Does that make sense AT ALL?!!)



        • Amy says

          Ah, I think I gotcha.

          Well, if you use the “Pay Affiliates” link, I’m pretty sure you’ll only be able to get last month’s download. So, it looks like you’ll have to use the log (I’m thinking that was maybe why you referenced it in your last comment). Now it’s making more sense. :)

          So are you paying people immediately after they make a sale? I think that would be pretty tricky. Instead, I would recommend picking a period of time (24 hours, 3 days, etc.) and make a mass payment for anyone who made a sale in that time period.

          So, maybe at 8am each morning, you pay all the people who made a sale the previous day. That way, you could select that specific date range from your log. That would eliminate the issue you mentioned before which would be refreshing and having more people to pay or not being sure if you got the payment in the last round.

          And yes, you would then have to make sure you subtract those sales from next month’s download.

          Does that help at all?

          • says

            Yeah, it helps me realize that paying everyone in the middle of the month is going to be hard! 😉

            Thanks for the clarification. Now to sit down and do it…


  7. says

    Hi Amy:

    Our non-profit needs to start raising funds to finance our expanding website, which helps people deal with student debt in Canada. E-Books are one thing we’re looking at, and today I learned some useful tips from your blog. Thank you very much for your helpful work here.

  8. says

    I’m late to this but, right on time. I’ve got an ebook I’m finishing up now. This helps a great deal.
    I’m going to search around here for more info directly relating to marketing and selling your ebook.

  9. says

    This is something I really needed since I was wondering how will I handle all the technical stuff for a book I am slowly creating. I see this is only a part of a series and I will definitely have to bookmark all those posts.

    How about making an e-book of this series :) I would definitely like a comprehensive guide like this.

    I recently registered as an affiliate for a great book but this seems like a great system. I’ve heard it is better than ClickBank.

    • Amy says

      I have contemplated putting all this info in an ebook of its own. Glad it’s helpful.

  10. says

    Wow, what a great and thorough breakdown of how to use E-Junkie! I haven’t used it yet, but I’ve heard a lot about it and probably would like to experiment with E-Junkie whenever the time comes where I will create and sell an ebook.

    Great resource, especially for someone like me who would be a complete newbie at using E-Junkie.