Guest blog: Mary O’Sullivan

Apologies to everyone who was expecting a blog post this morning. I was taken into hospital earlier this week and hadn’t managed to change anything. Anyway, without further delay, here is the guest blog from Mary O’Sullivan:



The Promotion Maze

I type ‘The End’ on the first draft of a novel and know it is only the beginning. I rewrite and know I must do so again. I edit and face the fact that my manuscript needs at least two more edits before I can say I can’t do any more with it. I submit it for professional editing and learn there is still more work to do. This is work I revel in – the playing with words, the chopping and changing, the forensic search for faults. A perfect book requires a perfect author. To the best of my knowledge all authors are human and subject to human frailties – which can sometimes include mixing up character and place   names, using big words in the wrong context and bending timelines to an impossible extent. I have been blessed in my writing career with excellent editors, so I am confident that most errors have been nailed before publication. Pre-publication is the stage where I relax and allow myself celebrate. Done, finished, story created from fledgling idea through to completed book. Time to crack open the Walnut Whip chocolates and celebrate. Or is it?

This stage, in fact, is where my real problems begin. After eight published novels, I have established a pattern. Three months to mull over an idea and develop a theme for a new novel, three months research, six months writing, three months rewriting and editing.  I love every minute of this creative process – all of it, the reading and writing, the getting lost in the story, the becoming familiar with the characters, the challenge of rewriting and editing. Once my work has been published, I am already mulling over an idea for a new novel. Here is the sticking point – a new book – particularly in today’s uber- competitive global market – needs promotion. And promotion needs confidence, marketing and media skills, an outgoing personality, preferably a thick skin and the dedication to self-promote on every available outlet. All of that leaves little or no time for mulling over anything except where to post the next status update.

There you have the dilemma for creative writers.  We are expected to be – must be now if we are to survive as authors – at once sensitive and introverted enough to spend countless hours working alone while we create fictional stories and then, when we have poured heart, soul and all our emotions into a story, we suddenly change tack and become extrovert, media savvy people who wow the reading public with our wit and our insightful online posts. It’s not just your book in the market place, it’s also you, the author. Of course, this is understandable. When I read a book, I feel, as a reader, that I have shared an experience with the author. Naturally you want to know more about the person who wrote the work you have just spent time reading and hopefully enjoying. I like to know where they live, about their other publications, what they look like, what they enjoy reading. Social media has introduced a new level of intimacy between reader and writer. You can see author’s homes online, families, pets, even what they eat depending on how much they wish to share. A whole online promotion industry has emerged around book publishing. And why not – the demand is there.

I have a Facebook account. I make contact with friends there most days. Through Facebook, I have met both online and in person, some of the nicest people I have ever known. I treasure those friendships – which is what makes it so embarrassing to canvass them to buy my book when I have a new publication. Worse still, is asking for a review. I saw a report recently that claimed only one percent of readers actually post reviews online, so if you want reviews you must ask. Unless of course you are one of those rare creatures, a top selling author.

Like they say, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. I chose to submit my work for publication and am privileged to have had it accepted, so it would seem mean-spirited to want to pick and choose which elements I like and which I loathe. There is no alternative to grabbing every publicity opportunity you can get since, according to reports, each new book has to compete for sales with ten million other books, between online, print, traditional and self-publish. The UK, in 2014, published twenty new books per hour over the course of the year. (The Guardian). The figures are daunting and the reality of trying to eke out a space for yourself in this over-crowded market is even more so.

So , I’m blushing now , but I’m still asking you to buy  my latest book , Thicker Than Water . It is published by Tirgearr Publishing and available to buy from the following on-line retailers.

Thank you to Charlotte for hosting me on her blogpost and thanks also to Lucy Felthouse (Writer Marketing Services) for organising my visit today.



Excerpt from Thicker Than Water

Maeve Crocker liked to have the radio tuned in as she worked about the house. She didn’t always pay attention to what was on but she was concentrating now as she listened to a renewed appeal for information on the whereabouts of a missing girl. The fourth to disappear without trace in the past eighteen months.  This girl was a student named Andrea McGee. Nineteen years old. Two months ago Andrea had caught a bus from the college in Waterford city to her native Dungarvan in the county.  Witnesses and CCTV proved that she had arrived safely in the square of her home town at five fifteen in the afternoon.  She then left the town on foot to walk the mile to her house on the coast road.  But she had not reached home and there had been no contact from her since. A cold shiver crept down Maeve’s back. Andrea, unlike the other girls, was not a prostitute. Her fleeting thought, that the disappearance of the student was more tragic than that of the prostitutes’, filled Maeve with self-disgust. All the girls had parents, siblings, people who loved them. All had a right to be safe.

She switched off the radio, picked up her phone and keyed in her daughter’s quick dial number. It rang a few times before she heard Evelyn’s voice deliver her ‘sorry I can’t take your call. Leave a message, please,’ recording.


Blurb for Thicker Than Water:

When local teenager, Keira Shannon and her father, business man Gerard Shannon, go missing, the town of Ballyderg unites to search for them.

 As the search continues rumours of domestic violence, extramarital affairs and criminal behaviour are rife. The crisis causes families and lifelong friends to doubt each other.

 The only certainty left is that the town has been visited by evil. Or has it? Could it be the evil one has always lived there sharing history, laughter and tears? And if so, who could it be?

 Buy Links

 Amazon buy links:            

Tirgearr   Publishing                 

Amazon Author Page:              



Author Biography:

Mary worked many years as a Laboratory Technician. Her hobby, her passion, has always been writing. Busy with family and career, she grabbed some moments here and there to write poetry and short stories. She also wrote a general interest column in a local newspaper.

As the demands on her time became more manageable she joined a local creative writing class. It was then, with the encouragement of tutor Vincent McDonald, that the idea of writing a novel took shape. She began to expand on a short story she had written some years previously. It was a shock for her to discover that enthusiasm and imagination are not enough. For the first time she learned that writing can be very hard work.

Mary now has six traditionally published novels, nine eBooks and hopefully more to come, inspiration permitting.

Social Media Links

Please visit my web page at:

Chat to me on Facebook at :

Follow on Twitter at:        



Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here:

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