Use of social media

It used to be impossible, in non-English-language markets, to target readers of books in English. Outdoor promotional campaigns could not be harnessed for English-language editions, and only rarely could local media advertising or features be used (whether print or online). Now, through social media profiles where people describe their reading interests, it is possible to reach by social-media advertising highly specific groups of readers with an interest in e.g. types of genre fiction. Through that outreach, reading communities with shared interests can be built up for marketing and community purposes (with due observance of GDPR requirements), to great and lasting effect.

Author presence on social media

Authors are playing a greatly increased role in the marketing of their books through their online presence and following. They should be encouraged to cultivate, analyse and pass on the international components of that following, which can provide valuable motivation and support to the efforts of partners overseas.

Influencers and bloggers

In an increasingly wide variety of markets around the world there have appeared professional bloggers and influencers focusing on books, and usually on a particular sector. They exist for several book categories, but are proving especially effective in marketing terms for educational, trade-educational (i.e. educational in content but sold through bookshops) and children’s. These influencers build up a substantial following, and their readers come to trust their opinions and recommendations. Local research, and information from partners on the ground (who may already have established contact) will lead to these opinion-formers with whom relationships can be formed and who can be regularly supplied with information and material.

Online author events

The range of technical options for online video connection that sprang up during the pandemic of 2020-2021 established a wide-spread new genre of author event online. The model had existed previously, whereby for example an author in Scotland might connect interactively with a bookshop reading-group in Sweden who had chosen that author’s book as their title of the month. But the pandemic together with travel restrictions and the new technology greatly expanded its use and explored fresh possibilities: one hundred and thirty members of a natural history society in Singapore joined an author in Portugal and his publisher in England for a talk on his new book followed by questions, which resulted in a high proportion of the audience members purchasing the book. The previous week a similarly successful event had taken place with a different author and book. The migration of literary festivals online showed that people were ready to attend events in that way; but such events are particularly effective for a niche subject and committed audience.