Of all the things I appreciate about being an author in the digital age, nothing beats being able to reach a global audience. I have never been to Europe, India, Southeast Asia, Australia, or South Africa, but because of Amazon.com, I’ve been able to sell books in all of those places.
There is something liberating about that. In the past, authors without the backing of a major publisher were rarely able to distribute their works beyond their local market. The costs of shipping a physical book even to other parts of the country were prohibitive.
The Internet has changed that. Like thousands of other authors, I can now send an entire novel — in digital format — to someone on the other side of the planet in seconds. The cost to me — and to the online retailer — is measured in pennies.
Challenges remain, of course. It’s one thing to be able to deliver books instantly. It’s another to actually sell them overseas — even in markets where English is the dominant language.
When you write about Americans doing American-like things in the United States, you expect to sell at least a few books to people who know and perhaps appreciate the nation’s customs, culture, and history. You don’t expect to sell books to people from much different backgrounds. At least I didn’t.
One reason I’ve had at least marginal success in other countries is because of bloggers like Heena Rathore Pardeshi of India, who reviewed The Mine this week. By focusing on things their readers have in common with my characters, they’ve opened doors and reminded me that the world is, indeed, a pretty small place.
For that, I will always be grateful.
Technology has made it possible not only to publish but publish everywhere. If you've ever wanted to write a book, there has never been a better time to do so.