Guest Blogging and Author Interviews Tips and Tricks
When invited to guest blog on another’s blog it’s important you make the experience as painless as possible for the person hosting you that day. I know what you’re thinking “but I’m the author, it should be me, me all about me”. Odds are, the person you’re going to be visiting that day is also an author, if you’re lucky one with a very large following or steady fanbase—or they’re probably in the industry somehow. Regardless, they are doing you a favor. They are helping you reach more people, even if it’s just a handful, they are helping.
Here are some pointers to help you make your blog post as “user friendly” as possible. While it may take you a few extra minutes it will make you appealing as a return guest blogger. And you never want to lose marketing avenues.
Tips and Tricks:
Due Date: Be timely and don’t email a bunch of times with various questions. If you have questions, put them all in one email.
Forms and files: Fill out any forms you are given properly. Example: If they have a spot for name and you leave it blank do not be surprised if they accidentally use your real name (on your email if you sent from non-author name account), or if they leave your name blank. I’ve seen this happen before. Not effective marketing in the least.
If no form was sent to you and you’re winging a blog post be sure it’s more than just a shameless “buy my book” self-promo plug. That will turn off readers and do the opposite of what you’re wanting. There is nothing wrong with including a buy link to your book or even mentioning your book but do so in a way that “fits” with a post.
Example: In my upcoming release (name of title) I tackle the age old question of blah blah blah and find that in today’s society blah blah blah. Go on with some related relevant info or discussion starters.
Linkage: Provide proper URLs. This does not mean you type in www.yourweb.com and expect it to link perfectly later. You must type in http://www.yourweb.com (or whatever the exact url to your site is).
Be sure you provide your website addy and that your website is up to date. There is a chance people who are reading the post will in fact click through the link. Nothing worse than having them show up on your page to find it’s totally outdated. Stay current and make it easy for them to navigate around. Once you have them there, the goal is to keep them there a bit not frustrate them into leaving. And ALWAYS make your buy links on your website easy to spot, understand and access.
Cover/Photos: Some bloggers ask that you send the cover to them and they in turn handle sizing and what not. More often than not, they will ask you to provide a URL link to your cover. It is important you send the url to a cover that is sized properly for a blog post. Another words, do NOT send them to your full high res on the web or your jumbo-sized low res. You will often find your cover left off the post if this is the case because they deal with many guest bloggers and time is a factor.
Don’t know how to find the URL of your cover? It’s easy. Simply find your cover on your website or your publisher’s site. Right click on it. Click on view image. The image should then become the only thing you see in the window. If so, go to top of the navigation page and copy the URL in the title bar. Paste this into your form or email. That’s all there is to it. I make sure I have three sizes on my website of each cover. A thumbnail size often shown while browsing online bookstores, the web res, the slightly larger (and most used on the web for blogs) size and then my larger low res. This is rarely used but I still have a “ghost” page on my web that hosts only my covers in various sizes so I can go to it and get the urls for the size I might need.
Does the blogger want you to send them a separate file of the cover at a smaller/different size than what you have and you don’t know how to resize your cover? That’s easy. I made a step by step video on the matter. You can watch it here.
Only provide one cover/url link to cover unless specifically asked to send more. Don’t assume the blogger wants to have endless photos of your covers on their blog. Don’t send a bunch and say use what one you like and if it’s not sized properly, don’t expect a cover on your post. And please, please, please send professional looking covers and photos. Glamour shots are a thing of the past. Pics of your cleavage—not really the “face” you want to put forward to be taken seriously in this industry.
What if I don’t have all the info for my post yet, like I don’t have cover art yet or a book title?
Honestly, pick another book to feature. If you can’t, politely ask the blogger if they would mind you sending this info at a later date. Do not assume they will be fine with this. Many pre-load the posts, meaning they spend several days going through and loading their blog for several months out and do not want to stop again and again to enter or tweak posts. If you really want to feature a book that doesn’t have all its info be SURE you keep YOUR website up to date. So if anyone clicks from the post when it comes up they will then see the cover and the buy links and the title and…. Well, all that good stuff.
This info is all well and good but I’m having trouble finding blogs that will let me do a guest post or interview me. How should I go about this?
You should have a network of peers. It’s very important you be out there, be it facebook, twitter, etc getting to know other authors in your genre. I’ve said this too many times to count but we, as authors, need to support one another. Writing does not have to be the solo career they make it out to be. That means, get talking with other authors, pay attention when they post they’re guest blogging somewhere or if they’re looking for people to guest blog on their site. Read their posts. Read their info and bios and learn from them—buy their books. I know this sounds stupid to type out but really, authors are readers too and what better way to know the industry than to study it from the inside out. Plus, I’ve gotten more readers by recommending fellow authors than I can count. Readers like knowing you’re not all about you—that you’re a team player. If you can’t play well with others, I suggest you get out of the business because at some point you will need the help of the fellow authors you’ve snubbed and then what?
Another way to find places to guest blog/be interviewed is to troll the net. Find blogs that deal with what you do and see if they have guest bloggers or do interviews. Read them to be sure you “fit” with what they do. No point if you write inspirational fiction and you’re on an erotic fiction blog. Not really your target market. Next step: contact them and politely ask to guest blog or be interviewed. Be sure to provide a brief bio, your website, author name, all that good stuff so they can peek and see if you fit what they’re looking for. Don’t be upset if you don’t. Move on to the next one. There are plenty more out there.
What should I do when my interview posts?
You should tell your readers that you’re guest blogging and give the link. Put it in your newsletter, mention on your website, your blog, your author board. And for heaven’s sake, even if NO ONE comments (which is actually quite common bc many people get a blog feed and do not go directly to the blog site) you still need to comment–even if just to thank the host for having you. And if people are there commenting, comment back.
Pay it forward or back or sideways: If you have a blog, open it to the people you’ve guest blogged or interviewed at. The worst they can say is thank you but no. Many will welcome the exposure even if your blog doesn’t generate much in the way of views or hits just yet. Make it easy for them to guest blog or be interviewed by you—have a ready-made form to send them. Keep it light, simple and to the point. Give them a clear date of when it will post.