Seven Tips for Selling Your Book Overseas

Hello BK community members,

I just returned from a trip to Singapore, where I met with our partners at McGraw-Hill Asia, who distribute our English-language print editions in that part of the world. I was pleased to see that BK books were amply represented on Singapore bookstore shelves; click here to see the 100+ or so I spotted. Our partners offered some advice about what authors can do to help their books sell overseas, advice I’ve heard echoed by other distribution partners in Europe, Australia, and Africa. Here are their pointers for the top six things authors can do to influence international sales (and a seventh one from another, equally helpful source):

1. Travel overseas. The single most impactful thing an author can do is visit in person. Just as in the US, immersive speaking events build community and drive sales. And foreign media is much more likely to cover your book if you’re coming to town.

2. Include international examples in your book. Overseas book markets are just as crowded as the US’s. If the stores are faced with choosing between a book that has local applications and one that’s just US-centric, they’ll go local every time. If your book is already published, consider creating an online supplement showing international applications and case studies illustrating your ideas in action.

3. Make connections with international professional associations. Groups like Global Speakers Federation and the Australian Institute of Management may be interested in hosting member events featuring YOU. AIM has a particularly good reputation for planning events well and supporting book sales at those events.

4. Collect international endorsements. Space on your book's cover is limited, of course, but just like us, publishers can share endorsements from overseas luminaries with their partners, to help build buzz and sales in their territories.

5. Team up with other authors. Over the last several months, I’ve seen impressive and inspiring examples of authors helping other authors by sharing their international networks, or by planning joint overseas trips. If you’re planning international travel, consider posting about it on Community Groups that you belong to on LinkedIn, or post news of your trip and what help you’re looking for on your blog site. And if you haven't started blogging yet, is a good place to start.

6. Keep in touch...and plan ahead. If you’re planning international travel, or if your community of fans already has a sizable international component, do let your publisher know, so they can alert their relevant partners. Remember that it can take several weeks to ship books across oceans and continents, so the more notice, the better. Many of our partners request at least two months notice to ensure adequate support of author travel in their territories.

7. Read
7 Ways to Get International Publicity, a piece by Alan Stevens that BK author Jennifer Kahnweiler recommended to me (thanks, Jennifer). It's brilliant and I have also posted the piece on my blog.

I hope this advice is useful to you. If any globe-trotting authors or others have additional suggestions, please do feel free to share with your fellow BK community members here.

All the best,

Johanna Vondeling
Vice President, International Sales and Business Development
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