Dominate International Self-Publishing
I myself don’t think often about international publishing, and that’s because so much of the work is already done. I upload my book to Kindle Direct, and right away I can tick the boxes that allow me to sell in Amazon’s other stores around the world. This is great, because even though the bulk of my readers are American, just like I am, not all of them are--and I don’t want to be exclusive.
But true international publishing takes more than checking a few boxes. You need to work to make your books fully available. That means translation work (most often to Spanish, German, and French), correct pricing (which isn’t necessarily the automated price Amazon suggests), and foreign rights management.
That’s a lot of work!
Fortunately, there are several ways to go about this, and it’s easier today than it’s ever been before to get your book read around the world.
Traditional Publishing, Internationally
Some indie authors decide on a hybrid model or get approached by international publishers. These publishers do all the work for you. They’ll translate, edit and market your book to their audiences while at the same time catching cultural differences that you might miss if you try to do it all yourself.
This includes things like book covers, where taste varies more than one might expect in different countries. (If you have any doubt, check out this fascinating article comparing covers of the same books as they were released in the UK and in the US. For similar markets, the visuals are strikingly off!)
There is a downside to working traditionally. Just as you should be careful about your rights when working with in-country publishing houses, you need to watch out internationally. As it stands, a shocking 47% of authors who publish internationally don’t actually know the status of their rights.
The rights to your writing are sacred and a key reason many of us choose to publish independently instead of trusting a publisher. Learn them. Protect them.
Still, if you care about getting your books out to an international market, and if you want to maximize your chances, this is a great way to do it.
Explore The World Alone.
If you speak Spanish fluently and have grandparents from Mexico, and if you’ve grown up immersed in a Hispanic culture, there’s no reason to trust someone else to take your book and publish it to Spanish-speaking audiences. You’ve already got everything you need.
If, on the other hand, you don’t know a word of Spanish and have lived your whole life in a small town in the UK, publishing to a Spanish market will come with a little more work. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
The most basic skill you’ll need to hire is a translator. Yes, you can publish your book to Mexico or Spain without translating it into English, but people who don’t know English won’t be able to enjoy it and probably won’t bother checking it out.
You’ll want to check for other things, as well. On an American market, I might price a book for $3. Directly translated into other currencies, that might be a high price for a book, or it might be suspiciously cheap. If you want to maximize your sales, you’ll need to look into that.
As for graphics and visuals (both ads and your book cover), there’s a good chance you’ll need to change it if you want to do exceptionally well with a foreign market.
Is it worth it?
I personally haven’t bothered much with an international audience. I expect most of my readers to come from the US and other English-speaking regions, and at this point, it’s more effective for me to focus on maximizing my current strategy instead of branching out.
There’s a lot to be said for reaching out to other parts of the world to sell your books. You might have a miracle story to relate. Some writers hit it off big as soon as their books are picked up by the right market.
The more readers have access to your books, the better. If you’re looking for a way to boost your writing and make it available to a broader audience, this can be an effective solution.
Join my Facebook group or comment below for further discussion. Have you ever published internationally? What international market would you want to pitch?