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 your 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 author platform via your blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, your 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 your book available on retailers popular in each region
When you’re defining your 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 your book available on as many retailers as possible is even more important when marketing your book internationally.
2. Run an ebook price promotion
Discounting your 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 your book for a BookBub Featured Deal, you can easily elect to run your promotion in our international editions, which now include the UK, Canada, and India.
3. Garner reviews in each country
Reviews are an essential marketing element for any novel, 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 should focus on bolstering the number of reviews you have in each region.
Running a price promotion is a great way to build up your reviews in different regions. 70 percent of BookBub partners saw increased measures of exposure after running a Featured Deal. So by promoting your deals in the UK, Canada, and India, you’ll likely get more reviews in those regions, which will increase your book’s credibility for future marketing efforts.
Another great strategy is to reach out to top Amazon reviewers in each region who have reviewed books similar to yours and offer them a free copy of your book. While you can reach out to any Amazon reviewer, top reviewers have proven themselves to be experienced reviewers — they know what makes a good review, they’re willing to take the time to write a genuinely helpful review, and they probably read fast and will be more likely to have a quick turnaround on reviewing.
The easiest way to find top reviewers is to browse through a dozen books similar to yours 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, brief pitch mentioning how you found them, why you think they’d like your book (and even compare yours to a book or two they’ve already reviewed), offer them a free copy, and thank them for their time.
4. Target social media ads to readers in other countries
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter let you target ads to a fine-tuned audience. On these sites, you can target each of your ads based on demographic information, interests, and even friend connections — for example, you can target ads to friends of people who like a comparable author’s Facebook page.
Additionally, you can target your ads based on location. So if you’re looking to amplify awareness of your 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.
5. 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 your 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
6. Optimize your 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 have rights for your ebook. Here are a couple examples of how cover designs differ across regions:
Browse through successful books comparable to yours and in your sub-genre across regions to see if the designs differ, and if so, what the trending tropes are in each region. It may be important to cater your cover design to the unique audience in each region where your 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 your genre in each region.
How have you expanded your international readership? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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