Figuring out how to promote your book globally can be challenging, and honestly, I think it’s because we all want to broaden our reach, but international efforts sound intimidating at best.
That’s why when I came across the below piece on The Fussy Librarian I knew I had to share it.
They’ve also always been fabulous about sharing my tips, and those by other thought leaders in the industry, so if you’re not following their site or at least their social, they’re worth an add for sure.
How to market your book globally and reach international readers
Posted on The Fussy Librarian
It can seem intimidating at first, but rest assured that choosing to market a book globally to international readers is a worthwhile approach.
It’s also strongly recommended if you’ve hit a wall in expanding your reader base. Shifting your marketing efforts beyond the U.S. allows you to connect with more potential fans and increase book sales.
The world is a massive place, and avid readers are everywhere. If you haven’t researched other markets, you may be surprised by how much opportunity there is for authors…
Here are a few statistics about book reading around the world:
- Tied with France, Canada has the highest average number of books read per year (17).
- Book readers in Europe spend more than an hour a day reading.
- A quarter of UK adults have started reading more after COVID-19 lockdowns.
- According to a national reading survey in New Zealand, 55% of readers read ebooks.
- Some of the most popular genres include poetry (Canada, South Africa, India), fantasy (Denmark, Germany, Poland, Switzerland), thriller (Netherlands, Belgium), adventure (Australia, Korea), horror (Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina), and romance (Spain, France, Brazil).
- Worldwide, millennials read more books than any other generation.
Common Misconceptions About Taking a Global Approach
Despite the compelling data on international readers, it makes sense if you’re wary of taking the plunge to figure out how to promote your book globally.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about taking this kind of global approach. And if you haven’t made any moves to grow your reader base outside the U.S., you probably share the same concerns.
So, let’s clear up a few things…
IT REQUIRES A LOT OF ADDITIONAL TIME AND EFFORT.
Marketing takes time, so it’s assumed that marketing to readers in other countries will double the workload.
In fact, you may be reaching international readers via social media and third-party promotions without even realizing it.
To be more strategic, you will need to do some research in the beginning. However, the information you gather on this new audience’s behaviors and preferences will serve as the foundation for your efforts.
Once that’s done, you can simply tweak your assets and adjust settings (e.g., for emails, social media posts, and ads) accordingly.
Penny Sansevieri recommends handling tasks in spurts when marketing to international audiences. That way, it may only take a couple of extra hours each month.
YOU HAVE TO TRANSLATE YOUR BOOK INTO MULTIPLE LANGUAGES.
Part of figuring out how to promote your book globally doesn’t mean you have to translate it into multiple languages.
For starters, English is a major language in many other countries besides the U.S., including the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. Plus, several countries have high English proficiency levels.
Moreover, readers in foreign countries can include expats and military personnel who speak English.
THERE ISN’T A HIGH RETURN ON INVESTMENT.
Taking a global book marketing approach may require a slightly greater investment of time and money, but it can also yield a significant return in book sales.
It’s just a matter of identifying international readers who are likely to enjoy your work and connecting with them. Doing so can encourage a whole new audience to read, download, and buy your book.
Ebook market revenue worldwide is expected to reach $18.7 billion by 2026. Remember — it’s not just U.S. residents who buy ebooks.
Giving a wake-up call to authors who don’t think globally, Kris Rusch stated, “If you sell your books in the U.S. only, you’re ignoring 94% of the people in the world who could buy your books. If, like traditional publishers, you only focus on the U.S. and the U.K, you’re still ignoring over 90% of the market.”
How to Promote Your Book Globally to International Readers
Now that you understand the value of getting your work out to international readers, you’re probably wondering how to market a book globally.
Fortunately, we’ve put together some basic steps and practical tips below.
Let’s get started…
DISCOVER WHICH COUNTRIES TO TARGET.
As part of the initial research stage, you’ll want to discover which countries to target. Ideally, you’ll want to find a few and narrow down the list. This will make your new global book marketing approach easier to manage.
Here are some questions to ask:
- Where do your current international readers live?
- What countries have high English literacy?
- What countries have high ebook sales?
- Where is your genre popular?
- Where have similar titles done well?
The more information you can gather, the better.
CONSIDER CHANGING UP YOUR BOOK COVER DESIGN.
If you’ve already put a lot of effort into designing your book cover, you may be hesitant to change it. However, it’s worth considering if you plan to market a book globally.
Creating a unique book cover for international readers can increase the chances of your ebook getting noticed.
There are different cultural tastes and preferences from one country to the next. Even if your book cover has tested well among U.S. readers, it won’t necessarily be the same for non-U.S. readers.
So, spend some time looking at covers from books in your genre sold in other countries and take notes on common colors, images, styles, fonts, etc.
EXPLORE OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS.
Reaching international readers is no different from reaching readers at home — you need to be where they are. And that means expanding your social media presence to include the platforms they frequently use.
Examine popular social media platforms around the world, paying particular attention to those visited in the countries you’re trying to target.
If there are any you don’t currently use, develop a presence there. That way, you can start forging a connection with a new audience via organic posts and paid ads.
Tip: Remember to consider time zones when planning posts and virtual events, taking on new levels of marketing, especially sorting out how to promote your books on a broader scale, means leaving no details unchecked.
CONNECT WITH BOOK BLOGGERS OUTSIDE THE U.S.
If you want to market a book globally, you can’t afford to ignore book bloggers based in other countries.
Building relationships with bloggers allows you to…
- Tap into their audience
- Get editorial reviews
- Gain publicity
And when you select bloggers who specialize in your niche and are based in countries you’re trying to target, those relationships will be more beneficial. Readers are more likely to take notice of your book if there’s a write-up in their favorite blog.
So, do some research into book bloggers worldwide, noting which ones are located in the countries you want to gain traction in. Reach out to them according to their guidelines, and see if they would be willing to review your book.
EXPERIMENT WITH DIFFERENT EBOOK RETAILERS.
If you think listing your ebook on Amazon alone is sufficient to reach international audiences, think again.
Outside the U.S., other platforms have carved out a significant market share that you could miss out on. That’s why you should experiment with adding your book to Apple, Google Play, and Kobo.
OPTIMIZE YOUR AMAZON LISTING FOR DIFFERENT MARKETS.
If you want to market a book globally, optimizing your Amazon listing for different markets is important.
Failing to do so could result in your book going unnoticed by overseas readers. On the flip side, tweaking your listing according to each market you’re in can help you improve sales and rankings.
You should start by choosing the right international categories. This includes categories that are most relevant to your book and those that give you the greatest chances of ranking in the top 10.
Dave Chesson offers additional tips on boosting Kindle book sales in other markets, including selecting specific keywords for each.
SET UP PROMOTIONS TO BE AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE.
If you run an Amazon promotion in which your ebook is available for free or at a discounted price, make sure the special pricing also applies to international readers.
We’ve found that our subscribers in Canada and England get frustrated when they see a sale price but find it’s full price where they live.
The last thing you want to do is mislead those you’re trying to turn into fans, so taking on the task of outlining how to promote your book to international readers means you’re also making big changes to how you execute marketing strategies that may be super familiar to you.
My Two Cents and Recommendations
Deciding when and how to promote your book to an international audience is no small feat.
But if you have the drive and you feel very strongly that your book has real potential with global readers, then I honestly recommend chatting with a marketing and branding professional before you launch into anything.
And no, it’s not just a shameless plug because I do coaching (although I love coaching!), I just know from personal experience that it’s very easy to get too close to your own work, and some objective feedback and recommendations will likely make a huge difference on your potential return for your investment – both in time and money.
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