Although the United States (North America) is the biggest book market authors tend to work with, indie authors are finding more and more book sales from other countries. In fact, we started adding outreach to international audiences as a book promotion strategy several years ago with great success. I love going wide with book marketing!
International audiences may seem like a surprising place to focus your book promotion efforts, or maybe you feel like you just don’t have the time.
However, consider this: Marketing your book internationally doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time.
In fact most of what I’m recommending below can be done in spurts – even in as little as an hour or two a month. And you don’t have to spend a lot of time and money getting your book translated, because there is a considerable English speaking and reading market you should consider reaching. At the end of this piece is a link to an awesome infographic that was shared with us, about international reading habits and book buying!
English is one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet, so it makes sense to try and target this market, yes? So how can you reach English speakers in other countries? There are a whole host of ways you can go about selling more books to these audiences. Let’s have a look:
1. International Amazon Author Central Pages
I’ve written about this quite a bit in prior posts, but it bears repeating. Your international Author Central Pages aren’t automatically populated from whatever changes you’ve made to your US book page. So you’ll want to make sure and tweak these a bit – which honestly takes very little time. It’s a quick and easy book promotion effort you can implement. As I mentioned, I’ve written about this previously, here’s a link to a recent post.
2. Expat Communities
There are big international audiences to be reached here, too. I remember when I lived in Belgium, there were actual groups meetups (this was well before MeetUp had officially formed), as well as publications both for military and regular citizens. We’ll cover military in a moment. But first, let’s take a look at how you can reach the Expat market.
This Ranker page is a great place to start looking into forums and community building sites for expats from a variety of countries: https://www.ranker.com/list/social-networks-for-expats/dot-commander.
This list has more resources as well: https://www.expatinfodesk.com/expat-guide/resources/websites/.
From there, authors can go down the rabbit hole to find ways to expand their book promotion and connect with new readers. There may be some opportunities to pitch bloggers (I’ll cover that in a minute), but also to connect for Amazon reader reviews in those countries too. The rule here will be to get personal to connect with people with shared interests, or whose interests dovetail with your subject matter.
3. Military Stationed Overseas
When I was growing up in Europe, I often listen to AFN (American Forces Network) which is only available overseas, but you can get a sense of the things they cover by visiting their website: http://www.afneurope.net. They have a variety of different programs, as well as a series of digital content only on their website.
Additionally, you can reach military via blogs dedicated to military communities and families, which often have special sections for military service personnel and families stationed overseas. There are a lot of them so this can be a great way to sell more books. Plus, for those living on military bases (APO/AE addresses), the postage is the same as mailing a book domestically if they’re interested in physical copies.
4. English Speaking Countries
In addition to English-speaking communities in countries where other languages are predominantly spoken, don’t forget about marketing your book to other English-speaking countries (UK, Ireland, South Africa, NZ, Australia plus other current and former members of the UK Commonwealth) and where English is heavily spoken (Hong Kong, Singapore, India, and even several countries in the Middle East). As well, most European countries have a strong English speaking and reading market. You can target these international audiences by publications (many of which you can find online) as well as via book bloggers, which I’ll discuss further on in this piece.
5. International Tie-Ins to Your Book
We’ve worked with a number of books that have strong international tie-ins. This can be anything from the setting (for a fiction book) to a travel guide, or a non-fiction book that deals with things that aren’t US-specific.
If you have a book that falls into this area, make sure to include that angle as you’re promoting it to overseas markets. When we worked with a romance novel set in Belgium, we called out the setting, specifically, during our book promotion campaign.
6. Optimize Your Book Cover for International Markets
I’ve discussed this in other blogs as well, but it’s important to remember that often when we’re embarking on our book promotion overseas, we forget that our US book covers don’t always translate to international audiences. While this isn’t mandatory, adjusting your cover could be helpful if you’re serious about reaching a larger book market overseas. I wrote a blog post on this, specifically, and you can see it here.
7. Amazon Reviewers in International Markets
There’s an opportunity to pitch Amazon bloggers specific to the overseas market. I won’t spend a lot of time discussing that specific book promotion angle here, because I did a blog on this recently. So when you have a minute, give it a read!
8. Pitching Book Bloggers Internationally
For international bloggers, the best place to start is googling Country Name + keyword + bloggers. There are some good sites out there dedicated to book promotion and book bloggers, for example, the Book Bloggers International (http://bookbloggersintl.blogspot.com/) has a list although they don’t have much information on country or how current the blogs are, so some serious vetting is recommended.
Additionally, The Book Blogger list (www.bookbloggerlist.com) is a good place to start searching internationally. Although not foolproof, a good rule of thumb is that if the URL includes .uk or .in at the end, the blogger is from the UK or India. Other extensions are associated with other countries (.au Australia, .nz New Zealand, etc.). Another good way to go is to search country name + book blog (e.g. Australia book blog, UK book blog, etc.).
Feedspot is another place that you could add to your book promotion arsenal. Here’s an example of Australian Book Review bloggers: https://blog.feedspot.com/australian_book_blogs/. It’s a great way to find some new places you can reach out to for book promotion. An added bonus: Feedspot tends to update their lists fairly regularly, making it a great resource. We use them regularly for our international outreach book promotion campaigns and love this site a lot!
9. International Social Media
While social media is global, there are things you can do to focus in on particular international audiences. Let’s say, for example, that your book has an international tie-in. Remember that romance novel set in Belgium I referenced above? As part of our campaign with that author, we pitched some social media influencers who were based there. How did we do this? By including the word “influencer” in our online research. For example:
Top + Country Name + Topic + Influencers will likely net you some social media powerhouses in each area as well as some great bloggers. “Top UK Fitness Influencers” will get you some of the top people in that country with a fitness interest. You can narrow it down further by searching the specific network “Top Australian Instagram Parenting Influencers.”
You can also go down the hashtag rabbit hole and find out who is using certain hashtags and then find ways to reach out to them as well.
Finally, most social media platforms let you do targeting by country, too if you’d like to go that route!
10. International Distribution
If you’re serious about getting international sales, make sure that your book is available on websites that cater to overseas markets. Bol.com, for example, is pretty big in Europe and we know that Kobo does well for overseas eBook sales. eBooks, however, aren’t as big in European markets as they are here, so make sure you have a print version of your book, in overseas distribution channels, so buyers aren’t paying a lot for shipping. While the international market expects to pay shipping (unlike the US market, thanks to Amazon Prime and others who have followed suit), you’ll still want to keep this affordable.
11. International eBook Promos
Everyone loves a sale regardless of where they live. So if you’re planning an eBook promotion be sure to market it to international audiences to sell more books!
Check out this list of eBook promotion sites and be sure to pay special attention to the ones that have international book marketing options. Then as you set up your discount promotions this year, be sure to spend some time focusing on international readers.
Bottom line, book promotion can take a lot of work, but adding a focus on international audiences can really help you sell more books. Some of these strategies will take some research time, but the reality is that if you’re focusing on similar book marketing efforts domestically, adding international audiences to the mix won’t add a whole lot of time. And the payoff could be huge. With over 4500 books published every day in the U.S. reaching out to international audiences could be just what you need to take your book to the next level.
Finally, remember that infographic link I promised you above? Check it out here! There are some fabulous insights that I think you’ll love.
If this post inspired you to add international audiences to your book marketing, then please share!