by Zsofia Macho , @maifosz
While some factors are outside our power (like the preferences and trends of a particular market), there are things you can do to influence your international success as an independent author. This article does not aim to give you general marketing tips: there are plenty of guides on building a consistent brand across platforms. (Just to recap: be everywhere that counts and use the same picture and colours so people easily recognize you.) I am, however, giving you some very specific tips authors should consider in terms of branding.
- Creating globalized blog content
Having a blog is a powerful marketing tool most authors utilize and readers of this blog know a lot about. If you aim for a global audience, though, bear in mind that people speak a different English everywhere.
Writing for an audience that speaks English as an additional language is a profession with its grammar guidelines to make machine translation easier – if you are a fiction writer, you probably don’t want to go to that street, but if you write nonfiction, you should consider not using many idioms like the one I just have.
Even if your main target is English-speaking countries, consider not only that British spelling could look old-fashioned and pompous for a considerable chunk of your audience, but that you can’t treat certain cultural themes and items as ‘norms’.
While I’m not saying that you should ditch your style just to become more easily understood, you could consider using ‘international friendly’ measurements: while I only have a rough idea about one ounce of something, one cup is clear and saves me from doing a Google search, wander off and never come back. (The same goes for dates: if your readers can’t easily figure out if 03/05/17 is the 3rd of May or the 5th of March, they’ll probably go elsewhere.)
- Know when to market where
If your youngest has just started school, you are not alone; at least not on the Northern hemisphere. If you have written about the emotional difficulties that come with seeing the little one taking his first steps towards adulthood, re-share the post aiming for your Australian and Brazilian audience late January.
Your content has a bigger chance to resonate with your readers if it reaches them at the best time. (And you’ll earn extra ‘coolness’ points just for simply thinking about them.)
- Get the search engines on your side
It is not enough to provide relevant content if your readers can’t find your blog at the first place. Google is trying to provide localized content to everyone: searching from Google.co.uk, I get mostly British content.
Once you have identified a country or language that is more likely to bring you readers than others (either by using Google Analytics for your blog or by tracking your book sales per country), you can create language or country relevant subsites. (If you are an expert in ebook copyrighting, it is just proper courtesy to bring your international readers straight to the relevant local page.) You don’t even have to translate anything if your results show that it doesn’t worth it; but you can insert region and language codes into your page’s metadata: en-US, en-CA and en-GB if you mainly target North-America and the UK.
- Local stores for smart pricing
While you would think that you don’t have to do anything for your books to be available globally (at least, practically available), bear in mind that unless you use local or localized stores, your readers can’t use their own currency and will see prices in EUR or USD.
For example, Amazon is legally accessible from Hungary (through the German store), but somebody might think twice before paying for something in Euros. On one hand, it demolishes the joy of browsing through a web store if you have to open the currency exchanger every time you see something. On the other hand, nobody really likes spending money in a different currency – even though extra charges for using foreign currency are increasingly rare within the EU.
The solution is to try getting into local or localized stores: your readers will already feel your content closer to them if it appears in their usual ebook store and they don’t have to find a workaround (like changing their Amazon location settings or use a VPN provider) to get your content. You can sell in foreign stores directly or by using an aggregator: look for one that lets you set your RRP individually per markets, otherwise you might end up with irrationally high prices.
- Scheduling Facebook
If you came here by searching ‘when is the perfect time to schedule a Facebook post’, I have to disappoint you: there is no such thing. Posting to Facebook more than two times a day might be considered spamming, so if you have readers all around the world, you just simply can’t please everyone. While there are some trends you can count on (most people check their FB during their morning commute and towards the end of the workweek), there are no general rules and they are not much help if half of your readers are asleep when the others are most active.
Thankfully, Facebook itself provides us with some tools that can help us to gain insight into when and how are our readers most likely to engage (like, comment, share) with our posts. If you don’t have an author’s page on facebook yet, these tools themselves make it worth creating one.
You can reach Facebook Insights straight from the admin platform of your page. Fortunately, the page is extremely intuitive and it provides you with valuable personal information on your readers not even many paid tools provide. You can see when most of your readers are online (in your own time) and which posts gained the most attention. It is OK to try some things out to see what works best: there is no one-size-fits-all of marketing.
- Never underestimate the power of a great email list
You are probably already using an email list service (like Mailchimp) – most of them are automatically able to collect location data from the subscribers. It would be a shame to not use this feature smartly: you can use your localized email list to only send posts and updates to people who could potentially be interested in it – and not bother your Australian subscribers with autumn thoughts just yet. The more specific your content is the more likely you are to keep your current subscribers – and how many times have I unsubscribed from a newsletter just for giving me updates of fascinating events in Chicago.
Of course, for all these tips to work, I presume that you already have an amazing marketing strategy at your home market: this does not only include a consistent online presence but also a well-defined genre and niche market. To sum up: marketing for an international audience is not that different from marketing for your home audience. You just have to learn to think locally in order to think globally again.
Zsofia Macho is a bookish person: she writes, edits, translates and proofreads books and articles. She also likes to read them. As a UCL linguist graduate, she has a tough time displaying scientific journals on a traditional Kindle. When she is not writing for PublishDrive, she spends her time playing co-operative board games or badminton.
PublishDrive is a fast-growing and intelligent ebook publishing platform that was created with international publishing in mind. Allowing publishers to offer their books in 400 bookstores and 240k digital libraries worldwide with one click, it simplifies the process of going into foreign markets. The new Advanced Pricing feature provides publishers with the option of setting an individual price for every currency separately or choosing a straightforward conversion using actual exchange rates – but still receiving royalties in their own currency. In addition to this, PublishDrive lets publishers to easily control production, metadata management and distribution, with cutting-edge business intelligence analytics, sales reports (including real time sales data by countries and stores) and billing.6 promo tips for connecting with an international audience (via @maifosz and @publishdrive) : Click To Tweet
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