Time was choices were restricted. Authors relied on book reviews, displays in bookshops, promotional tours and word of mouth. Ditto for anyone wishing to buy. That still goes on, of course, for established writers and household names. For everyone else, particularly new writers, it can be a hit and miss affair, with success often depending on the whims of a publisher or personal contacts of the author.
Now BooksGoSocial.com, offers another option at minimal cost, attractive to new and established authors alike and user friendly to the reader who likes to browse before buying.
Launched in February 2014 and tailored for today, it addresses questions of interest to writers, readers and book buyers alike. How to reach the widest possible audience? How to find if a book is for me? How to find new books and good new writers?
How often has a writer wished that everyone could see a sample of their book, without too many clicks, knowing that most books are bought only after the reader’s interest is aroused? The BooksGoSocial site and the books on it are promoted daily to 325,656+ followers on Twitter and Facebook, which means each book gets exposed to a large audience, who have followed the site to see new books, a crucial issue for authors whose books sit in undiscovered corners of the web.
Brain child of successful Irish author Laurence O’ Bryan (The Istanbul Puzzle trilogy, published by Harper Collins UK and translated into 10 languages), the site allows authors to publicise their book by providing a sample extract of approximately the first page in a clutter free format, also featuring the book’s cover. Laurence’s philosophy is simple. “What makes me read a novel is the writing. I start when a first page interests me enough to buy the book.”
BooksGoSocial aims to recreate the best bookshop experience – browsing, looking at covers, dipping in and out and seeing what’s available Like any good bookstore the browser can visit different sections – twenty at current count, ranging from crime and thrillers through women’s and sci-fi to erotica. Non–fiction sections include memoirs, travel, self-help and religion.
One of the unique aspects of this sort of online book promotion service is that most books can sit in multiple genres. If you have written a sci-fi romance you will be listed in both sections.
Recommendations are also made at the bottom of each book for other titles you might like to read. Anyone can submit and be promoted to the site’s followers, for a small annual fee. The only requirements are that the book is available on Amazon or another major book selling site, have some genuinely positive reviews and have a professional cover. This keeps the selection focused on titles that are likely to sell.
Readers can subscribe to an ebook-offers newsletter with a monthly Kindle ereader prize. Author members can submit their special offers for the coming month for no extra charge, to be included in that monthly email to readers. This type of email book promotion service is increasingly popular and the BooksGoSocial service of providing it free to authors each month is a real bonus for cash strapped authors who want to reach a large audience.
There’s also a front table with short reviews of a few of the latest additions – just like a bookstore window.
And it’s working. Seven hundred and fifty authors signed up in the first nine months. There are already testimonials from writers who’ve seen their sales boosted significantly by the publicity generated. The site is evolving too and now provides book trailers through a YouTube channel, audio excerpts and advice each month about how to find readers and build your online presence as an author.
As an average reader, what pleased me most was becoming acquainted with the works of new authors. Most of those featured have web sites or blogs so you can get to know more about them and their works. It’s a win-win for everybody. But, most importantly, some of those first pages are really very good! This is a site, which helps to ensure that new authors get a real chance to have their books discovered. No doubt we will see more of this sort of thing in the future, but for now BooksGoSocial.com is the service to watch, whether you are a reader looking for new books or a writer looking for readers.
(c) Sean Farrell
Sean Farrell is a former Irish ambassador, ardent bibliophile and aspiring novelist.