Although an international audience may seem like a surprising place to focus your book promotion efforts, they represent a growing market segment for many authors. In fact, while North America remains our biggest book market, we have also had good success with international outreach on behalf of the authors we work with.
You’ll find that although connecting with international readers may require some creative thinking, it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time. With as little as an hour or two a month, you can see some great results. Better still, you don’t have to spend the time and money getting your book translated, because there is a considerable English language reading market even in countries that primarily speak a different language.
After all, English is one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet, so it makes sense to target this market. And, there are a host of ways you can go about selling more books to these international audiences.
International Amazon Author Central Pages
I’ve written about this quite a bit in the past, 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—which honestly takes very little time. It’s quick and easy.
There are surprisingly large international audiences to be reached, too. When I lived in Belgium, there were actual groups that got together, as well as publications both for military and regular citizens. We’ll cover the military in a moment. But first, there are so many options for reaching the expat market.
This Ranker page is a great place to start looking for forums and community building sites for expats from a variety of countries: https://www.ranker.com/list/social-networks-for-expats/dot-commander.
And this list features even more great resources: https://www.expatinfodesk.com/expat-guide/resources/websites.
From there, you can go down the rabbit hole to find ways to connect with new readers. There may be opportunities to pitch bloggers (I’ll cover that in a minute), but also to get some Amazon reader reviews in those countries. The rule here, as with many of your book marketing strategies, will be to get personal. You’ll want to start by connecting with people who share your interests, or whose interests dovetail with your subject matter.
Military Personnel Stationed Overseas
When I was growing up in Europe, I often listened to AFN (American Forces Network). While the broadcast is only available overseas, you can get an idea of what they cover from their website: http://www.afneurope.net. They feature a wide variety of different programs, as digital content that’s exclusive to their website.
Additionally, you can connect via blogs dedicated to military communities, which often have special sections for military service personnel and families stationed overseas. There are a lot of these out there, so reaching out to them can be a great way to sell more books. As a bonus, the postage rate from the US to folks living on military bases (APO/AE addresses) is the same as it would be if you were mailing a book domestically. That makes it relatively inexpensive to mail physical copies overseas.
In addition to English-speaking communities in countries where other languages predominate, don’t forget about marketing your book to other English-speaking countries (the UK, Ireland, South Africa, NZ, Australia plus current and former members of the UK Commonwealth). Other countries where English is heavily spoken are Hong Kong, Singapore, India, and even several countries in the Middle East. And of course, there are many European countries where English is widely spoken as well. There are a number of ways that you can reach out to these international markets. A good place to start is by searching online for publications and book bloggers, which I’ll discuss further on in this piece.
International Tie-Ins to Your Book
We’ve worked with a number of books that have strong international tie-ins. It may be a travel guide or have a setting or even a title (fiction or nonfiction) that deals with things that aren’t US-specific.
If your book that falls into this area, be sure to include that angle when promoting it to overseas markets. When we worked with a romance novel set in Belgium, we called out the setting, specifically, in our outreach.
Tailor Your Covers to an International Audience
I’ve discussed this in other blogs as well, but it’s important to remember that when embarking on book promotion overseas, your US book cover doesn’t always translate to an international audience. While this isn’t mandatory, adjusting your cover could be helpful if you’re serious about reaching a larger book market overseas.
Amazon Reviewers in International Markets
You can also pitch Amazon bloggers specific to the overseas market. If you’re interested in this strategy, read this article to learn more!
Pitch International Book Bloggers
If you’re getting ready to reach out to book bloggers in other countries, a solid place to start is googling "Country + keyword + bloggers", or "Country Name + book blog", especially if you’re targeting a particular country. There are even some good book blogger directories out there, like Book Bloggers International (http://bookbloggersintl.blogspot.com/). Their list doesn't include much detail on where the blogger lives or how current each blog is, so we recommend some serious vetting.
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 for Australia, .nz for New Zealand, etc.).
Feedspot is another great resource for your book promotion arsenal. They tend to update their lists regularly, making their site a great place to find some new options. In this example, they feature Australian Book Review bloggers: https://blog.feedspot.com/australian_book_blogs. We use them regularly for our international outreach book promotion campaigns and love this site a lot!
International Social Media
Social media is a great equalizer when it comes to outreach. And, there are a number of ways that you can hone in on a particular international audience. If for example, your book has an international tie-in like the romance novel set in Belgium I referenced above, you'll want to target social media influencers in that country. You can find audiences for your book by using the word “influencer” in your online research. For example:
"Top + Country Name + topic + influencers" will likely net you social media powerhouses in each area as well as some great bloggers. “Top UK fitness influencers” will get you a selection of the top people in that country with a fitness focus. You can narrow it down further by searching the specific network “Top Australian Instagram parenting influencers.”
Try also searching on each social media network by using relevant hashtags and then find ways to connect to them as well.
Finally, most social media platforms let you target by country, so that can be another powerful option.
If you’re serious about getting international sales, you’ll also need to ensure 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 you’ll want to explore overseas distribution channels, to make shipping print books affordable for buyers over there. 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 the cost reasonable to convert those buyers.
International eBook Promos
People everywhere love a sale, so be sure to market any of your planned discount eBook promotions to your international audience!
Check out this list of eBook promotion sites and pay special attention to the ones with international options so that you can devote some time cross-promoting your discount promotions to international readers.
Bottom line, book promotion can take a lot of work, but adding a focus on international audiences can help you sell more books. Some options will take extra research effort, but when you focus on similar efforts in North America, adding international audiences to the mix won’t add a whole lot of time. And the payoff could be huge. Pursuing an international audience could be just the boost you need to make your book stand out above the 4,500 other books published every day in the U.S.
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. To learn more about Penny and AME, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.