Today we are rolling out the ALLi Partner Spotlight, a regular feature that will introduce you to the valued partner members who help drive the self-publishing industry. For our debut, we sat down with Laurence O'Bryan of BooksGoSocial, a longtime member of ALLi and a fixture of the indie author community.
John Doppler: Tell us a little about your company. What does BooksGoSocial do for authors?
Laurence O'Bryan: BooksGoSocial is a marketing service for authors. Our goal is to provide reliable, innovative and wide-reaching online marketing campaigns for books. Our reach is over one million now, including email, Twitter and Facebook. Our campaigns integrate all these key book promotion tools.
We are based in Dublin, Ireland, but 96% of our readers and authors are in the US and UK.
I don't think authors should confine themselves to one channel, such as email or Facebook ads for marketing, or be forced to become advertising experts, developing copywriting and graphic design skills. Some want to do all this, but a large percentage of authors don't, and they don't want to risk their shirts on ads that may or may not work as well.
John: BooksGoSocial's money back guarantee is very unusual for a promotional service. How does that work?
Laurence: Our money back guarantee is real. We are the only book promotion service offering this. Every month we refund authors whose books didn't sell. Mostly one or two, and every time, when I look at the books I know why. We advise authors to get professional covers and plenty of reviews, but in some cases the authors know best.
And we don't waste time arguing. Luckily, our fees are low, so neither us or the author is risking too much. I believe we have saved ourselves a lot of heartache by simply saying yes, you can have your money back, and good luck with your next steps.
And the net effect of the guarantee is that the authors whose books do sell, email us to thank us and to ask how to keep our promotions going.
John: That's a great policy, and one I'd like to see more service providers offer. What made you decide to launch BooksGoSocial?
Laurence: I had 3 mystery novels published by Harper Collins in the UK and US and translated into 10 languages. I had a big Twitter following and blog and the following exploded after I was published.
For one year I featured authors on my blog for free, then, in 2013 I saw the bills coming in for hosting and design tools and I knew I had to charge small amounts to keep it all going. The pricing strategy has always been to charge low fees so authors can test the market for their books.
John: Can you tell us about yourself?
Laurence: I spent 30 years in sales and marketing in the IT and software industries. I was a sales manager for many of those years and I also helped start-ups achieve their first sales. There is only one thing you are judged on in sales, results. I was fortunate to lead some wonderful teams and to help some wonderful products find an audience. The quality of the product – the book in our case now – is key.
I am married with three children. I live in Dublin and I founded the Dublin Writers Conference, which takes place on the last weekend in June every year. And I am still writing. I have a Roman era series beginning soon. I also hope to encourage as many people as possible to write, and to not give up their dreams.
John: Coincidentally, I just started reading The Istanbul Puzzle, and I was annoyed when an appointment forced me to set it down — always the mark of a good book! I see that you're a science fiction fan, too. What are some of your favorites?
Laurence: I read all the giants. The Foundation Series was a personal favorite as was anything written by Arthur C Clarke. I'd like to see the Foundation series on TV. I like more contemporary writers now, such as Robert Harris and Anthony Doerr.
John: Are there any deals or discounts for ALLi members?
Laurence: Our offer is a 10% discount on our key promotion services (Premium, Mid & Basic.) Details of these services at this link.
To order please use this discount code to receive your 10% discount at checkout: 84AK3UY4RR.
The site accepts PayPal and normal credit card purchases. Email [email protected] if you have any problems.
John: Is there anything special you would like our readers to know?
Laurence: We now have online reader magazines, a Facebook Chat Bot, a partnership with NetGalley, offering the lowest cost access to NetGalley for indies anywhere, and we are innovating all the time. We have some new products and services in the pipeline that we believe will transform the book marketing business. Get involved with BooksGoSocial!
John: Thank you, Laurence! We always watch BooksGoSocial for new developments, and I hope other indie authors will, too.
To help authors find the best companies for their needs, the Alliance of Independent Authors' Watchdog Desk evaluates a wide range of publishing and related services. Exemplary services may be invited to join ALLi as partner members. Partner members are rigorously examined for adherence to our Code of Standards, and those who are accepted demonstrate the best qualities of self-publishing services.Meet @LPOBryan, ALLi Partner Member and the driving force behind BooksGoSocial.com. Click To Tweet