With growing book sales and millions of readers, international markets can be attractive targets for authors and publishers looking to expand their potential readership. If you have international rights to a book, there are strategic marketing tactics you can use to gain exposure within each of the regions where the book is available.
It’s possible that you’re already doing promotions that will reach international audiences by default. For example, if you have a thriving platform via a blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, this content is already available to readers worldwide. But we wanted to share a few ideas for how to effectively get more exposure internationally — and specifically target audiences in foreign regions.
1. Make the book available on retailers popular in each region
When you’re defining a global target audience, become familiar with which ebook retailers are most popular in each country. For example, Kobo is the market leader for ebook sales in Canada. Also, the majority of BookBub’s Canadian subscribers use Kobo, so if you’re submitting a book for a Featured Deal in Canada, we would recommend including Kobo in your promotion. Different regions have different top retailers, so making a book available on as many retailers as possible is even more important when marketing the book internationally.
There are several book distribution services that make it easy to distribute books widely across regions. For example, Pronoun offers distribution to all the major retailers (including Amazon), and books go out to every territory possible. You can also easily adjust the price in each region one one screen:
Similarly, Draft2Digital offers regional distribution and has an international pricing screen called “Manage Territorial Prices” where you can set the exact price in any of their supported currencies (though they don’t yet offer distribution to Amazon).
2. Run an ebook price promotion
Discounting a book in foreign markets is a great way to drive ebook downloads and revenue in those regions. By promoting that price drop via discovery tools like BookBub, you’ll reach a wide audience of power readers, 95% of whom are eager to try out books from new authors they discover through a price promotion. When you submit a book for a BookBub Featured Deal, you can easily elect to run the promotion in all of our editions, which include the UK, Canada, Australia, and India in addition to the US. You can also choose to run a promotion exclusively to our international editions:
3. Garner reviews in each country
Reviews are an essential marketing element for any book, and consumers look to reviews to validate their purchasing decisions. But retailers often have different product pages for each region, and the regional pages don’t share reviews. Amazon, for example, has separate reviews for each region based on the reviewers’ locations and where they purchased the book. So you may want to focus on bolstering the number of reviews a book has in each region.
Here are a few ideas for garnering reviews in international regions:
Run price promotions in different regions
70% of BookBub partners saw increased measures of exposure after running a Featured Deal. So by promoting deals in the UK, Canada, Australia, and India, you’ll likely get more reviews in those regions, which will increase a book’s credibility for future marketing efforts.
Ask readers for reviews in the book’s back matter
According to a BookBub survey, 84% of authors who asked for a review in their book’s back matter successfully saw an increase in reviews. So make sure the international editions of a book include a heartfelt call-to-action reminding readers to review. Here are a few great examples of authors asking readers for reviews in their books’ back matter:
Reach out to Amazon top reviewers in each region
Search for top reviewers who have reviewed books similar to the one you’re promoting and offer them a free copy. While you can technically reach out to any Amazon reviewer, top reviewers have proven themselves to be experienced reviewers — they know what makes a good review and will be more likely to read fast and have a quick turnaround on reviewing.
The easiest way to find top reviewers is to browse through a dozen books similar to the one you’re promoting on the region-specific site (e.g. http://amazon.co.uk) and find people who have a “Top Reviewer” badge.
Click through to their Amazon profile page to see what other books they’ve reviewed and what preferences they have listed. If they seem like a good candidate, see if they have their contact information or website URL listed below their profile picture.
If they’ve listed their contact information or URL, it’s fair game to reach out. Send them a short, personal note mentioning how you found them, why you think they’d enjoy this particular book (and even compare it to a book or two they’ve already reviewed), offer them a free copy, and thank them for their time.
4. Run a region-specific BookBub Ads campaign
With BookBub Ads, you can promote any book to BookBub’s millions of power readers at any time. These ads appear at the bottom of BookBub’s daily emails. The auction-based platform’s targeting options let you refine your audience by several criteria, including region. This means you can allocate your marketing budget specifically to reach readers who live in certain regions.
In order to target specific regions using BookBub Ads, first associate a book with the ad in the top section of the BookBub Ads creation form. Then click Check link next to the regions you want to target.
If the retailer/region you want to target does not appear on this list, click Add another link to manually enter the retailer product page link.
5. Target social media ads to readers in other countries
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter also let you target your ads based on location. So if you’re looking to amplify awareness of a book in specific regions, you can allocate more of your budget toward ads targeted to those regions.
Remember not to simply target all users within these regions! Target people within those regions who have expressed interest in similar books or genres, or specifically follow authors who write related content.
6. Partner with book blogs with an international readership
Coordinating with relevant blogs to promote giveaways or publish reviews or author interviews can help launch new releases or reinvigorate backlist titles. Bestselling author H.M. Ward, for example, has successfully launched several new books and celebrated a number of major sales milestones through blog promotions. Targeting blogs based in other countries will give you access to their subscribers, many of whom may also live in those countries.
Compile a list of book bloggers based in the regions you’re targeting who regularly review books, interview authors, or feature guest posts from authors in the same genre. These bloggers may have a regional fan base that would be valuable to your marketing efforts. This will require some research, since every genre and subgenre has its own unique set of relevant sites.
To jump-start your research, here are some curated lists of regional blogs for a few countries with large English-speaking populations:
Canada: Canadian Book Bloggers
India: Top 15 Book Blogs in India
7. Optimize the cover design for different countries
Not all audiences react to design the same way, and countries have different markets with different cultural tastes. On book covers, certain layouts and imagery will better appeal to readers in one region versus another. According to Nathan Burton, a British cover designer:
In Europe you often see book covers with simple images and plain type, and that sells books for them. The UK book market is more competitive, all the covers in shops shouting: ‘Buy me!’ We have to put on a bit of extra spin.
Recognizing the need to customize designs by region, retailer sites often let you upload a new cover design for each country where you own the rights. Here are a couple examples of how cover designs differ across regions:
Browse through successful books comparable to the one you’re promoting, as well as those in the same subgenre, across regions to see if the designs differ. If so, take note of the trending tropes in each region. It may be important to cater a cover design to the unique audience in each region where the book is available. If you hire an experienced cover designer, they will know or be able to research what kinds of covers work well in a specific genre in each region.
Have have you expanded your international readership? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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