Amazon Publishing

Amazon Affiliate Links and Social Media

If you have a website or social media site of any kind, you absolutely should have an Amazon affiliate account. That means every time you recommend any product that exists on Amazon – whether it’s a book, movie, software product, or other item, you get a commission on its purchase. It is free, easy money for the things you want to share with your readers.

This includes your OWN books you’ve written. If it’s on Amazon, you get credit for recommending it.

However, there are STRICT RULES about where you are allowed to post promotions. For example, you can NOT put affiliate links in ebooks or email messages. To do so puts in jeopardy your entire Amazon account. Just don’t do it. Amazon is too powerful to get angry, and yes, they absolutely shut down accounts without compunction. Their rules matter to them. Friends of mine have had it happen. I do everything I can NOT to anger Amazon in any way.

Here are the rules.

Your post must be ON A WEBSITE YOU CONTROL.

Not only do you have to control it, but you must have specifically entered that website on the list of your websites in the Amazon affiliate program system. You must have PREREGISTERED that location as one involving your codes. This is part of their quality control system so that you and only you are using your codes.

When you log into your affiliate account at:

Click on your email in the top right, then go to Account Settings. In that screen, go to:

Edit your Website and Mobile App List

You must absolutely put into there every place you are going to post links, and they must be CONTROLLED BY YOU. This can’t be a random comment area of a CNN news report. It must be your personal website or social media feeds wholly under your control. So I can for example put in I can even put in because that is a page I wholly control. However, I can’t just put in (as in the entire Facebook site) because I don’t control that. I can’t claim credit for any links put anywhere on Facebook.

Make absolutely sure you have that area up to date and you only post your links on those pages, which you control. Amazon knows exactly where incoming links are coming from. If they see links coming in from pages not on that list, they can and will shut your entire account down.

If you are the SOLE MODERATOR of a group, you can post there. But if it’s a generic group that many people have access to, then you can NOT post affiliate links there.

Here is the US Amazon page describing this:

Here’s the EU Amazon page which goes into this in more detail.

OK, now on to part 2.

You Must Disclose That You Make Money

This is not just an Amazon rule, it’s also a FTC rule. A legal government rule, to prevent fraud. In the account you are using, you must say somewhere that you make money from Amazon affiliate links. You don’t have to do it with every single post – this would be a huge burden on short-text places like Twitter. However, your account “about me” area has to indicate that information. On Twitter it’s good to add a hashtag like #paidlink so that it is crystal clear what the post URL goes to.

Take this seriously. You have to do this for legal reasons. You have to let people know that you make money from things you recommend.

And part 3.

Your Link Must Be Clearly To Amazon

This only matters if you use a link shortener. You’ve probably see those URLs – the ones that look like garbage letter piles and you have no idea where it is going. Amazon wants to be crystal clear that someone knows they are going to Amazon to buy the thing, and not being tricked into thinking they’re going somewhere else.

So if you use a link shortener, you absolutely must say that this item is on Amazon so the person knows they are being sent to Amazon.

I’ll also add a fourth caveat:

You Cannot Boost an Affiliate Link Post

You can’t in any way pay money to reach people with your affiliate link post. You can’t run that affiliate link as part of an ad campaign. You can’t “Boost” the post in Facebook. This must be a natural, organic link that you are promoting to people.

If you are Amazon to make money with affiliate sales, that is great. People earn quite a lot of money through Amazon affiliate sales. But make absolutely sure you do it within their rules. Amazon isn’t a forgiving kind of company. They are likely to simply ban you for life for breaking their rules. And considering just how powerful and widespread Amazon is, that’s an excommunication which can really hurt.

Lisa Shea Author

Capital One Spark QBO Failure

VICTORY!!! I had caught up all my QuickBooks accounts except my business bank account.

Capital One Spark generates a QBO file but it CANNOT be read by QuickBooks. They don’t tell you this when you sign up, but if you sign up for Capital One Spark online they ARE NOT VERIFIABLE by QuickBooks. So even though you can generate a QBO file through the Spark system, it CANNOT be read in by QuickBooks. Utter nonsense.

I was facing hand-entering hundreds of records manually.

So I coded a script to read in the QBO file and output a generic IIF file, which could then be handled by QuickBooks. It was challenging, but it beats hand-entering all the data, and now I can use this script going forward!

Hurrah!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

What are you up to tonight?

Camera Shutter Count

Free Canon EOS40D Shutter Count Software

Digital cameras might seem as if they take an infinite amount of photos. However, the hardware within the cameras does have a lifespan. If you’re buying a used camera, it’s important to know if it’s been used to take only 100 photos or 100,000 photos. That makes a critical difference to the life left in the components.

However, for whatever bizarre reason, the camera maker doesn’t just tell you that information on a menu screen. You have to download software to your computer, install it, hook the camera up to your computer with a cable, and then have the software tell you the count.

Very strange.

You can’t just look at the numbering on your memory card, either. It’s easy enough to reset that back to zero.

So here’s a few shutter count software packages I have tried. I’ll note I’m on Windows 8.1 and am connecting my Canon EOS40D via two different USB cables. I even tried my Canon EOS 7D Mark II to all programs, using a different cable, to help test.

First, make sure your camera is connecting to the computer. Look in Device Manager under Portable Devices. You should see your camera listed there. If you don’t even see your camera in the device manager, you have to fix that problem with your cable or USB drivers.

Ideiki AstroPhotography Demo

This installs an astro photography tool. It’s all about taking photos of the sky and stars. But as an added bonus, when you connect your camera, it says right there in the log what the shutter count for it is! For free! Quick and easy!


This website downloads the file setup_freeshuttercount.exe. It installs from the publisher Keerby Application.

When you run it, it detects the camera fine. So it is doing something. HOWEVER, it then requires you to install LibUSB-win32 with “Zadig”. It says it is recommanded (their typo) but there is no way to do anything at all without installing LibUSB drivers.

If you look up Zadig, you’ll find it’s an actual entity for installing USB drivers. So it sounds fairly legitimate. When you install this, it says it is from Akeo Consulting. That is an actual software house in Ireland that does work with LibUSB. You get this window.

Make sure you choose Options – List All and choose your camera from the main drop-down. Then over in the WinUSB drop-down toggle down to the LibUSB option.

When you install, you should get a SUCCESS message.

But now, when you open the software, it doesn’t see the camera any more. Or, when it does, it asks you to install the Zadig again.

Which makes me wonder just what is being installed … I wrote them a message, but when I hit SUBMIT it just took me back to the site homepage. So I’m not sure they even got the message.

I’ll also note that in the footer of this website it says: “The software Free the shutter count number at no charges up to 1000 actuations. Premium version needed for shutter count number greater than 1000 is charged 7$.” – that makes me think if your camera has taken more than 1000 photos they’re going to charge you $7 to show you the results. That’s not really free. But since I can’t even get it to work with two different cameras, I call it not worth the effort.

AstroJargon EOSInfo

This is one that a LOT of people recommend, but it’s also quite old. The change history says it was last updated in 2009. The file you download is called SetupEOSInfo.exe. This installs EOSInfo.MSI from “Unknown” publisher.

Unfortunately, this is all it ever shows. My cameras say “Busy” and never connect at all. Since my cameras worked with the AstroPhotography software, I am not sure what is going on here. Nothing useful, it seems.

ShutterCountProgram /

The filename is shown as EOSInfo.exe at a Google Drive. I’m not going to even try this one. You download the software from a google drive account, and the email address in the readme is associated with known scammer software systems that take passwords. It’s easy enough to do a Google search and find those for yourself.

So, to summarize, I highly suggest the top cool astro photography program which for FREE shows you your shutter count simply as the start-up information about your camera. Quick, easy, useful! Heck, get a telescope and really put the software through its paces!

Books and Reading

Do Autistic Readers Prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Common wisdom is that the majority of those on the Asperger’s Autism spectrum prefer non-fiction books, especially about trains and elevators. But there are pockets of interest in a variety of areas, like SciFi / Fantasy or Jane Austen.

If you’re on the spectrum, or know someone who is, what do you / they prefer to read?

Tulips and Chimneys

Remember I did a big push on Jan 1 2019 to republish several out of copyright poetry books? I wanted to report that those are going well.

My top seller is Tulips and Chimneys by E. E. Cummings. Apparently people really enjoy his free spirited approach to poetry and life.

It was fun to work on that project, although really hard to look for formatting issues!ย 

Do you enjoy E. E. Cummings?

Server Move 1 Complete

Hurrah! Hurrah! These last two weeks have been fairly non-stop chaos, and these last two days were worse, but I think it’s done! I think **ALL** my sites (except BellaOnline) are now on the new server. With WordPress blogs and UBB forums running.

I just moved the MailEnable mail server to handle all the email. It all seems to be working! Hurrah!

That means I can prepare for the biggest task of all – moving BellaOnline onto its own server.