Monday, August 5, 2013

The Woes & Joys of International Marketing

Marketing books is a tough enough proposition when you're attempting to reach readers in your own country, but when you'd like readers around the world, it's even more difficult.

My first solo novel, Raspberries and Vinegar: A Farm Fresh Romance, released a few days ago from Choose NOW Publishing, a brand new small publisher in the USA. I'm Canadian. Because I live within a 15-minute drive of the American border, I have some options that other Canadians (and other foreigners) don't have. For instance, I could have my box of author copies shipped to a post office box just south of the border and bring them across myself. From past experience with Rainbow's End, that little trip saved me about $60.00. Well worth it.

Talking to the border guard revealed that, while I can bring the books into Canada, I can't take any of them back across into the US and sell them at conferences or book signings. When that time comes, I'll have to order more books and never bring them into Canada in the first place. (I have a box of Rainbow's End sitting in the home of an American friend these days for that reason.)

Then there's the issue of mailing giveaways. While folks in the USA can mail books within the US for under two dollars using media mail, I don't have a similar option within Canada. Popping a single book into the mail costs me about ten dollars, more if it's overseas, making giveaways prohibitively expensive when coming from my stash.

Because my book is my publisher's first release, she's learning the ropes, too, as we take these steps. She doesn't have the option of testing the international stuff on a different release later. She knows how important it is to sales to have a presence on and Kobo via Smashwords (Canada's most popular e-reader). She's jumped through a bazillion hoops to make it all happen.

We have a Goodreads Giveaway on until August 15, but only for US addresses. Again, we're operating on a slim budget and can't afford the additional expenses of international shipping, even to Canada. However, I'd be thankful if you put my novel on your to-read shelf at Goodreads! And enter if you can.

Raspberries and Vinegar: A Farm Fresh Romance is available via several different digital formats, though. Situations like this helped drive me to prefer reading e-books over paperbacks. How about you? Does the availability of books in your country determine your reading habits?

One thing we're doing that is accessible by anyone worldwide is our Facebook Launch Party tomorrow, August 6, at 9:00 p.m. EST. Accessible, but perhaps not practical for your time zone. Still, if you can make it to the party, please do! Bring an item of local food (something that is local to you) and join the chat. From there we'll move into a webchat, but the entire party is scheduled for only one hour. You'll have to "like" my author page to participate.

Fellow international authors, what ways have you connected with readers in different countries for promotional purposes? Readers, what are some of the ways we could connect with you? What are authors doing that's working? What's not working? Let's talk about it!

I'll give a digital version of Raspberries and Vinegar: A Farm Fresh Romance to one commenter (winner's choice of pdf, epub, or mobi format). If you'd like to put your name in the hat, please add your email address with your comment before Monday, August 12, replacing @ with (at) and .com with (dot) com.

"Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws."

Valerie Comer's life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance and farm lit. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local food movement as well as their church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters. Visit her website and blog to glimpse inside her world.


  1. Hi Valerie,
    I can't imagine living near the border between two countries. It sounds like a very cool spot. I hope the marketing for your book goes really well, challenges and all. The launch sounds like an original, fun idea and I'd love to be along if I can work the time differences.
    Paula V

    1. Thanks, Paula! I hope you can come. Any tips on international marketing?

  2. I am so eager to read this book! I live on a small farm in Australia & we are slowly able to grow more of our own food. I also love seeking local products! I came across from Valerie's website :) My email is:


  3. Hi Valerie,

    Congrats on your book release and launch party :)

    I've been thinking a lot about international book marketing, with only six months until the release of my debut book. For print, The Book Depository with free international shipping is a good option for giveaways. Amazon Kindle Giftcards that can be used to gift a specific ebook are another option. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on marketing ideas that work well for international authors when our home market is North America.

  4. Congratulations, Valerie--the book sounds wonderful. Can't help with any further international marketing ideas though, I'm afraid, but I like Narelle's idea of using The Book Depository for book giveaways with its free postage!