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Seven Tips for Selling Books Overseas

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Seven Tips for Selling Books Overseas

by Johanna Vondeling

On a recent trip to Singapore, I met with our partners at McGraw-Hill Asia, which distributes our English-language print editions in that part of the world. I was pleased to see that Berrett-Koehler books were amply represented on Singapore bookstore shelves, and delighted to get advice from our partners about what publishers and authors can do to help their books sell overseas, advice I’ve heard from other distribution partners in Europe, Australia, and Africa as well.

Here are their pointers for the top six things you can do to influence international sales, plus a seventh leading to another, equally helpful source:

1. Travel overseas. The single most powerful impact you can get comes when you visit in person. Just as in the United States, immersive speaking events build community and drive sales. And foreign media are much more likely to cover your book if you’re coming to town.

2. Make sure the book includes international examples. Since overseas book markets are just as crowded as the U.S. market, if stores abroad are faced with choosing between a book that has local applications and one that’s just U.S.-centric, they’ll go local every time.

For a book that has already been published without international examples, consider creating an online supplement that shows international applications and case studies.

3. Make connections with international professional associations. Groups like Global Speakers Federation and the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) 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 we share endorsements from overseas luminaries with our partners to help build buzz and sales in their territories.

5. Team up. Over the last several months, I’ve seen impressive and inspiring examples of authors helping other authors by sharing their international networks, and by planning joint overseas trips.

When you’re planning travel abroad, consider posting about it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and posting news of your trip and what help you’re looking for on your blog site. And if you haven’t started blogging yet, now is a good time to start.

6. Keep in touch—and plan ahead. If you’re scheduling international travel, or if a community of fans centered on a book or an author already has a sizable international component, alert all 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 in their territories.

7. Read “7 Ways to Get International Publicity” by Alan Stevens, originally posted at mediacoach.co.uk and also available at bkcommunity.com/profile/JohannaVondeling.

I hope this advice is useful to you. And if you’re a globetrotter with additional suggestions, I hope you’ll let me know so I can pass them along.

Johanna Vondeling is vice president, international sales and business development, at Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. To learn more, visit bkconnection.com or email jvondeling@bkpub.com.



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