10 Tips for Growing a Wide Global Audience of Readers


It’s one thing to decide to self-publish “wide” across retail and library platforms, versus being exclusive to a single retailer. It’s quite another to adopt a mindset that can help you grow a larger base of readers.

Pushing the right buttons to launch your book onto these platforms is only one step of the process. If you want to succeed in growing your sales and finding new readers globally, then you must not only embrace a more inclusive mindset, but you need to take definitive action to benefit from the many streams of income available to you.

Below are 10 tips to help you grow your global readership, including strategies that work for each platform and pitfalls to avoid.

Tip #1: Put in the time, love, and tenderness

One of the most fundamental things you can do to grow a global reader base is to recognize the value of nurturing something over time. Patience and persistence are among the most powerful traits when it comes to long-term author success. It usually takes multiple exposures of seeing an appealing book to turn a browser into a reader and a reader into a fan.

This takes time. Often much more time than the typical 90-day “tour of duty” in KDP Select, Amazon’s exclusivity program. It can take upwards of nine to 18 months for an author to gain traction on the average retail platform. So, an author who tries publishing wide beyond Amazon, hoping to see results within the first 90 days (the exclusivity period of KDP Select), will most often pull down their books before giving them a fighting chance.

But every time you unpublish a book from a platform, it not only resets that book to absolute zero — in terms of both ranking and the hidden algorithms retailers rely upon to present Also Bought items to new readers — but it disappoints customers. Think of a customer who downloaded your book on this platform but doesn’t start reading, or doesn’t finish that book until months or even years later. Imagine them loving your book and looking for the other books you mention in your end matter, only to find there’s nothing else for them on that retailer. That potential for a longer-term relationship with that reader was cut short.

Tip #2: Share broadly and inclusively

Be inclusive in your sharing and promotions — whether that’s in your end matter, on social media, in your author newsletter, or even on your author website.

Yes, Amazon is the world’s largest bookstore and is dominant in the US and UK. It’s easy to share a link to your book listed there and assume that’s where everyone shops. But Amazon is only available in about 50 of the 195 countries in the world. A customer in one of those 145 other countries can’t buy your book on Amazon. But they might be able to purchase it on Kobo, Apple Books, or Google Play.

An interested reader could be the owner of a Nook ereader who only reads ebooks purchased at Barnes & Noble. Maybe they only own a Kobo ereader. Or a Tolino ereader in Germany, or a Vivlio-branded ereader in France.

This is why leveraging a universal book link, inclusive of multiple retail and library platforms, is important. There are paid and free options available, including Books2Read (powered by Draft2Digital)Booklinker1Link, and StoryOrigin. These tools also often automatically incorporate geo-targeting. This means that if someone in the US clicks the link, they go to that store in the US. The same rules apply wherever. This gets the potential buyer more quickly to their preferred platform in their own country.

A single universal link for your book can also save you time when adding retailer links to your website. It removes the need to create several dozen buttons or brand icons linking to the many different global storefronts. And it can lead to a much cleaner look and design, thus less overwhelming for a potential reader.

Tip #3: Be inclusive and accessible in format and availability

In the same way that not all readers use the same platform, don’t forget that people also have their own preferred methods for reading. Some read only print. Others read only digital. Still others might prefer audio. In addition, some readers might do most of their discovering of new titles on a platform with a solid search engine like Amazon, but then go seek out those books at their local library. Perhaps they can’t afford to buy as many books as they’d like to consume.

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