By Marissa DeCuir
Authors based internationally have plenty of opportunities to tap into the U.S. book market. Thanks to a world connected by virtual technology, it’s never been easier to reach readers across the globe. If you’re currently living outside the U.S., check out our 12 tips for promoting your book to American readers.
1. Make sure your book is available for purchase in the U.S.
This may be a no-brainer, but American readers must be able to buy your book. Of course if you’re traditionally published, your publishing house is already handling this. For indie authors, platforms such as IngramSpark and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing make it simple to distribute print and electronic books internationally.
2. Get active on social media
This is the fastest, free way to start building an international audience. If you’re not very active on social media already, focus on building the platform that feels most comfortable to you, whether that’s Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or Twitter. Don’t just promote your own work: follow and comment on the posts of fellow authors in the U.S. who write in comparable genres, as well as American influencers who cover your genre. This could lead to valuable follow-backs and even cross-promotional opportunities later on!
3. Start an email newsletter and actively promote it
This is a great option for extra-engaged fans (and potential new readers!) to get exclusives on news, early content sneak peeks, personal insights into your life as an author (especially any unique details from where you live!) and book promos. You could also use this as an opportunity to review books by U.S. authors who write in your genre to start reaching their audiences. Be sure to regularly promote your newsletter on your social media and website, in your promotional materials, and via your social engagements.
4. Send physical copies and/or unique book swag to U.S. reviewers and influencers
Everybody loves book mail, and book mail with extra goodies always catches attention. Create a target list of 10-20 book reviewers and influencers who you hope will promote your book. Reach out to them via email or social media DM to see if they would be interested in reviewing it. Send out special book mail to these influencers and reviewers with the goal of having them feature your book to their followers.
5. Attend U.S. literary conferences for your genre to network with authors and readers
Whether you attend in person or virtually, this is an invaluable opportunity to meet U.S.-based authors, readers, and reviewers who love your genre. You can also consider advertising or sponsorships to elevate your brand at the conference, or even apply to be a speaker or panelist.
6. Partner with U.S. authors for cross promotions
Here’s where networking–and an active social media presence–becomes really useful. Reach out to similar U.S.-based authors in your genre about cross-promotions: mutual giveaways, social media shoutouts, or even virtual panels together. You’ll get your author brand introduced to U.S. fans and grow your network.
7. Build a street team of U.S.-based influencers who can help spread the word
Approach a handful of dedicated American fans or personal connections about being your “boots on the ground” in America. These fans can spread the word about your book on social media, contact their local bookstores and libraries about your book, and recommend your book to book clubs and events.
8. If your book is set in the U.S., be sure to promote the local connection
Make your book’s American setting clear in your press kit, author website, and overall messaging. Make it clear why you chose that setting, and any personal connections you have in the area. This will also give you an opportunity to form local connections where your book is set. For example, if your book is set in New Orleans, Louisiana, you are more likely to get a “yes” from authors and influencers who are based in New Orleans, so it’s a good idea to focus on forming some local connections where your book takes place.
9. If your book is set where you live, be sure to mention that, too!
Readers love to “travel” via the different places they read about, and who better to welcome them as a visitor than you! So play up the fact that your book is set outside of the U.S.! Many sites often feature reading lists on books by international authors, or books that take place in different countries.
10. Focus on the content of your book
No matter where you live, you certainly have shared experiences and interests with readers anywhere. Have a self-help book? Connect with reporters who cover health and wellness. Writing about business? Reach out to entrepreneurial magazines and other niche podcasts. Created a fantasy set in a magical world readers will want to travel to no matter where you live? Spread the enthusiasm with geek media and influencers.
11. Get to know the U.S. media
With more than 1 million books being published each year in the U.S. alone, competition for media space is steep. Understand who you are pitching and why their readership will care about your work specifically. Be open to finding multiple avenues for garnering exposure, rather than focusing solely on the top tier newspapers and television programs.
12. Consider hiring a book PR firm based in the U.S.
Literary publicity agencies will know the ins and out of the U.S. market better than anyone. If you want a dedicated team who can introduce your work quickly and efficiently to U.S. readers and media, consider working with an experienced American-based PR firm.
Marissa DeCuir is the president and partner of Books Forward publicity and Books Fluent publishing. As a former journalist, she’s always looking for the best hooks to utilize in author publicity and book marketing and believes in taking a personal and strategic can-do approach to help authors reach their goals. Books Forward has implemented a unique program to help authors make the most of TikTok, and other digital platforms. Learn more at booksforward.com.