Brainshark Spotlight: Award Winning Author Amy O'Brien

Brainshark Spotlight: Award Winning Author Amy O'Brien
May 23, 2011

We wanted to start the week off right by congratulating a Brainshark team member for an impressive personal achievement. We are pleased to announce that Amy O’Brien, our Customer Success Manager, is also an award-winning author. Her book, Stuck with Mr. Wrong?  Ten Steps to Starring in your own Life Story won an International Book Award for Self-help, Relationships and ranked as a finalist in Best New Non-fiction last week. It also came in as an Indie Excellence Finalist for Self-help. Luckily, we were able to get a few words from Amy, now that she’s gone big time. Here’s what she had to say:

In late summer, 2009, I felt a strong desire to write this book.  I had something interesting to share, and I wanted to help women who were in situations similar to what I'd experienced. 

When people see the title, they will invariably ask, "So, I take it you were stuck with Mr. Wrong?"

I find it funny, because it isn't exactly a memoir, but I have to answer, "Yes." 

And what makes the book unique is how I became unstuck.  I started viewing my life from an audience's perspective, as though my story were playing out in a movie.  I decided that I wanted to play the inspiring character, so I began making changes.  As a result, I left the relationship, found a better home, a better job, and discovered a calling to write. Every step in the book follows a movie-making analogy, so it's a fun and engaging way of shifting your perspective to create a better life.

Most people who write self-help books do it as a way to gain credibility and clientele in their business, or as one woman said to me, "It's basically an expensive business card."

For me, it was always about the writing. I just had this strong inner urge to complete this and treated it like an art project--a book of wisdom from a woman with life experience. It was important to me that it be well-written.  It took me nine months from start to finish, and my first interview was on NECN

on Labor Day, so I guess you can call my book my baby.

I'm the kind of person who works well when I have an accountability partner, so I chose to work with a book coach,, meeting once a week for eight weeks with a group of women on a similar journey.  I learned that it can take up to two years to find an agent and a traditional publisher, and given all the changes in the publishing world today, they look for people with platforms and big lists.  They basically want someone who can guarantee sales.  Given that I had neither, I decided it wasn't worth the hassle and went straight to self-publishing.  Marketing and promotion has been a big learning experience for me.  Even with all the experience I've had at Brainshark, I've had to learn a lot about social media, publicity, and interviewing.

Winning three book awards has been incredibly exciting and validating.  I can't wait to write another.