Laurence O’Bryan is an author and the founder of BooksGoSocial and the Dublin Writers Conference. He believes in author collaboration, mutual support and the principles of good marketing, learned through a successful 30 year career in sales and marketing. Find him on Writers Boon under our Book Promo Sites topic and get 15% discount on his services.
In one of the very best author interviews we’ve done so far, Laurence O'Bryan shares with us his story on how and why he created BooksGoSocial and explains how his platform empowers authors from all over the world.
Welcome to Writers Boon Laurence! It's great to have you with us. Let's cut to the chase. Can you please tell us more about BooksGoSocial and how it helps authors?
BooksGoSocial.com is a service that helps sell books on Amazon. We have helped over five thousand authors, many of whom swear by our services. We reach over one million readers daily. Many of our authors are selling lots more books because of us. Those one million readers are on our email lists, follow us on Twitter or are members of our Facebook Groups (November, 2017 count). We tell these readers about members’ books every day of the year.
But our service does not work for all books. We cannot sell poetry or experimental literary fiction, YA or children’s books. Our readers buy books that are well presented, entertaining and informative.
If your book is for adults, and is in a popular genre, we can probably help you sell it to readers, especially if it has an amazing cover. I know, it’s not very “literary” to focus on book sales and covers, but writers have to eat too, don’t they?
In addition to book promotion services BooksGoSocial provides a range of training courses for authors. These cover critical areas of modern author marketing, such as Master Classes in blogging for authors, Twitter for authors, Facebook for authors and email marketing for authors.
By mid November 2017 three and a half thousand authors had signed up for these courses and dozens of reviews had been received. Average review ratings are 4.7 out of 5, with many lavishly praising the fast track nature of the courses, the useful content and the style of delivery, making it easy for authors to acquire the skills they need fast.
You got published by Harper Collins in 20 countries and 11 languages. How much marketing do you need to do for your own books? Or does the publisher takes care of it completely and you just write?
Harper Collins ran competitions, got me interviews on TV and radio and in magazines in 2012-2014, but my editor has gone! She ran away! And her replacement has gone too! To Amazon! So, I bit the bullet, and self-published the next two installment in my mystery series, The Nuremberg Puzzle and The Cairo Puzzle and I’m getting paid every month by Amazon and can buy anything I ever wanted! I just thank God I have always had limited tastes. A meal in a fancy McDonalds, a few pints, and a trip to the sun every few months to stop my skin getting even paler and what more could you ask for!
And now I help other writers experience these luxuries too!
You have been writing a book a year, well nearly! How long does it take for you to write a novel? What’s your process?
My current novel took two years to write and edit. I had most of it done in the first six months, but then I paid for two edits and a proofread, which sent me back to the beginning for major re-writes. I believe it’s important to deliver the best possible book we can. Especially if you’re going to ask strangers to read them. Which is the whole point, isn’t it?
Is Social Media the key to growing your reputation? What if the author does not have this skill?
One of the reasons I started helping other authors was because many didn’t have the time or inclination to expand their following on Twitter or promote on Facebook or build a giant email list. Our promotion service gives authors instant access to a huge reader base. The fees are low, and compared to the time you’d have to invest in building such a following it’s an amazingly cost effective way to reach new readers.
What about Networking? We have heard that you found your editor at a networking event, the 9th you had attended in 5 years! What would be your advice to authors who are bad at networking? How can they increase their chances of getting discovered?
Yes, I enjoy networking, especially with writers. It’s one of the reasons I founded the Dublin Writers Conference in late June every year. It’s a small and friendly conference ideal for anyone new to networking.
Sure, you don’t have to network, but if you can push yourself the rewards are amazing. We had a Hollywood producer coming for two years and have something special lined up for next year as well as lots of great writing teachers with lots of great ideas.
The social aspect of writing is something I enjoy. I know, sad, but true. Whatever happened to the writer in the ivory tower?
How do you manage the different hats you wear? You are a busy author, manage an online portal and run a conference.
With difficulty! But we have six staff at BooksGoSocial.com, so it is getting easier. Though I still work seven days a week. It’s my last addiction!
Where do you find your inspiration to write?
Reality is an amazing inspiration! I was reading about the Vatican’s involvement with Adolf Hitler, which inspired me to write The Nuremberg Puzzle.
Online news sites, and history books inspire me. There is so much that has been hidden. I want to make stories about it all!
What is your view on writer’s block? Do you get them?
Yes, I do occasionally. It’s hard to stay inspired, especially if life is difficult. Reading and finding time for writing helps, as will networking. It’s not an easy road, being a writer, but it is hugely rewarding.
One question I ask all my guests - what’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink?
Your advice to aspiring writers?
Persevere. Be patient. Be open to learning. Never give up! And good luck with all you do from all of us at BooksGoSocial.com.