However, in this day and age, it’s no longer major publishers controlling the editions, and print books have given way to e-books. E-books know no boundaries: they require no shipping. Geographical restrictions exist, but can be very porous.
The world’s transition to a global village also means that now, more than ever, folks living in other countries may pick up a copy of a book from a US source, or a US resident pick from a German source, etcetera. Add in programs like Kindle Lendable, and Erica in New Zealand can share her favorite book with her friends in Norway, Romania, and Scotland.
What does that mean for readers and writers? Well, you can’t always assume that something familiar to your frame of reference is universal. Case in point: if one of my characters is injured, he might go to the ER for treatment. But it’s not fair of me to expect all my readers to be familiar with “ER”, so some adjustments are needed. At the first usage, I’d be well advised to spell out “Emergency Room”, and then use “ER” thereafter. Yes, my story takes place in the US, where “ER” is the norm, but I don’t want any reader to have difficulty understanding my meaning to the point of enjoying the book less.
But writing for a global audience is only half the issue. What about a blog post announcing a new release that only links Amazon.com or All Romance E-books, while neglecting Amazon UK, JP, DE, etc? I recently became aware of this issue and have made an effort to make it easier for all potential readers to access my books in their local venue.
Another thing that has come to my attention is giveaways. I’ve had winners and non-winners alike send me thank-you notes simply because I offered a chance for readers to win even if they weren’t in my country. Yes, shipping costs extra, but the reader wanted MY book. It’s worth it to me to keep them happy, and be fair. Also, unless they want a signed copy, I can actually order the book locally to the winner, and arrange drop shipping.
Now, I’m careful about countries where the kind of books I write are not permitted, but I value each and every reader, regardless of when they live, and do my best to make sure they don’t feel alienated, either in the wording of my work, or availability of titles.
On that note, someone in France read Diversion and liked it well enough that now it’s soon to release in French. Something similar happened in Japan. I’m not sure when the Japanese version will be available, but look for the French version this spring.
So in answer to the question: readers come from every part of the world, and writers are wise to acknowledge this fact.
I’d like to take a moment to thank my readers, be you in the next town or on the other side of the world. Know that you are near to my heart. And I hope that over Bo, Lucky, Aillil, Malcolm, Tessa, Sebastian, Henri, and all my other characters, we bond.