The most important thing a newcomer to affiliate marketing needs to focus on and learn is *how to generate a large and engaged audience*. Without a large and engaged audience, or the skills to grow that, then affiliate marketing will be completely ineffective. Learn one top-level acquisition channel (partnerships, SEO, whatever) and then learn the middle of the funnel with marketing automation/email marketing to further convert people time and time again to different offers once they are within your network.

23. Affiliates – There are many affiliate networks, such as FlexOffers and CJ Affiliate that allow you to promote other people’s products and services. You simply put a link or a banner on your page and then you get a percentage if someone clicks through and buys the product/service. You’ll want to select products that are specifically within your blog’s category.This is an effective way to earn money once you have the traffic coming to your blog.
If I have a blog that is getting 100,000 page views a month that means that I’m probably getting at least 50,000 people to the site (most blogs will do between 1.2 to 1.4 pages per session). That means I have to try and get some small percentage of those people to buy something from me if I really want to do well. If I can’t get them to buy something then (in some cases) I have ads running on the site that will make me money anyways.
When there are multiple affiliates involved in one transaction, payment gets much more complicated. Sometimes it’s even possible for affiliates to jump in at the last minute and claim commissions for customers brought in by other affiliates. Successful programs use multi-channel attribution to ensure the affiliates that create the most value get paid the most.

You can sell your ebooks through Amazon's Kindle program or Apple's iTunes Connect, which gives you access to a large majority of the digital-book reading market and the barriers for entry are incredibly low. You don't need to invest lots of money to make this happen, but you do need to invest lots of time, not only in writing the ebooks, but in marketing them as well.
Now as to your comment on traffic it is true, traffic is important. But the truth is, acquiring traffic is easier than converting it. Plus we have many posts dedicated to traffic generation on this blog. Simply check this post, this post or this post. But must importantly, the reason why people struggle with traffic is that they try to promote a sales page or a heavily biased piece of content. Nobody wants to share that, nobody wants to link to that, and as a result you don't get traffic and blame your lack of success on traffic (like you did in your comment above).
To do that, you have to harbor a few fundamental guiding principles in your mind. Today, if you're at all serious about generating a full-time income (and more) from your online activities, then you need to focus on passive income as opposed to active income. Sure, the active income will help you survive. That's the scarcity mentality at play. But it's the passive income ideas that will help you thrive.
Write pitches. If you have located a client for whom you want to write, send pitches, which are topic ideas for articles. Write pitches that not only show your expertise, but also demonstrate your enthusiasm for the topic.[21] First, read the publication to which you are sending pitches to familiarize yourself with what they publish. If applicable, identify a specific section and send our pitch to the appropriate editor. Also, include a brief summary of who you are.[22]
Cafe Press: This website allows you to create digital designs that can then be sold on the platform. You'll earn a commission for everything that sells and you'll never have to deal with printing, warehousing, customer service and so on. The site has over 2 million independent designers that have created products being sold online here. If you have some graphic design skills, then this is a great potential source for your web-based income. 
Don’t exhaust all the information about the product with your link. Offer enough information to your readers so they know what the link is, but I don’t recommend giving too much detail on your own site for a two reasons. First, product information, like price, often changes. If you mention the price on your site and someone clicks over and finds a different price, it’s confusing. Second, many times, the product details and features are better explained by the makers of the product. It’s best to stick to your own experience on your site.
Create a killer course experience: With your course validated and in the works, you need to figure out how people will take it. Most course creators choose to host their courses from their own websites. This way, they get all the value of bringing customers back to their site on a regular basis. I host my own courses from a subdomain on my own site so I can easily add more. The course experience is incredibly important as well. And after trying most of the solutions, I highly recommend Teachable—an online platform designed specifically for courses.
Tip: Aim for products with reasonable commission. No lower than let’s say 40 percent, to make your efforts worthwhile. Also, you should note that ClickBank deducts transaction fees from a sale. Here’s a calculator to help you calculate your actual commission. More so, you need to remember to disclose all your affiliate links and mark them as nofollow. Here are a few reasons as to why you need to do this.
Alibaba is a Chinese eCommerce store that matches Chinese suppliers with buyers all over the world. Prices are extremely cheap, providing the possibility of large profits. However, with the potential profits comes more risk. As you are dealing with suppliers in China, if the quality of the product that arrives isn’t up to standard there is little that you can do about it.
In November 1994, CDNow launched its BuyWeb program. CDNow had the idea that music-oriented websites could review or list albums on their pages that their visitors might be interested in purchasing. These websites could also offer a link that would take visitors directly to CDNow to purchase the albums. The idea for remote purchasing originally arose from conversations with music label Geffen Records in the fall of 1994. The management at Geffen wanted to sell its artists' CD's directly from its website but did not want to implement this capability itself. Geffen asked CDNow if it could design a program where CDNow would handle the order fulfillment. Geffen realized that CDNow could link directly from the artist on its website to Geffen's website, bypassing the CDNow home page and going directly to an artist's music page.[10]
If you offer freelance services or have a physical services business, then creating a blog is a must. On your blog you can write about the services you offer and how they will benefit your clients. Importantly you can add a ‘Services’ page, outlining the services you provide, what they include, and any other important information potential clients may need. This is an effective way to promote your services, generate leads, and increase your revenue.
As someone who's been immersed in a number of online industries for quite some time, I know a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in this arena. However, just like you, I started at ground zero with little knowledge, but a great deal of passion. What I learned along the way were some invaluable lessons from failure that hurt at the time, but helped immensely in the grand scheme of things.
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