Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How To Be A Good Blog Guest!

I have been hosting a lot of authors lately to help keep the masses entertained, but it occurred to me there are authors out there who may not realize what is needed for a good blog post. And granted, I'm not perfect. I'm sure someone has pulled their hairs out and wished for a box of color for the grays I gave them.

So today, I'm going to clue you in on how to be an awesome guests who makes sure I have everything I need at my fingertips and not one who turns a blog post into a scavenger hunt. To avoid this scenario (because it's really not fun to do a scavenger hunt with no competition and no prize) consider the below.

What's in a good blog post? 

I've polled a bunch of Facebook friends and the consensus is out! A good blog post is like a great cup of coffee. They want it to savor it right down to the last drop. 

They like posts that contain...

  • Intimate posts about inside things in your life, your writing process, something human
  • A post that connects something to your book. For example, Barbara Bettis had a great post about mercenaries for her historical romance. Not too long, lots of great information, and I really wanted to read her book after! 
  • Excerpts! 
  • Character interviews
  • Anything that's not just a promo post
  • They also like gifts and things to win, too. :) 
Edited to add... Don't be afraid to use your name and your book's name in your post as much as possible. Not every sentence, but make sure it's sprinkled nicely. This neat trick is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The little robots that search the Internet pick up on these usages. When someone searches your name or your titles, they are more apt to be selected in the overall search! This is the one time you want to be a victim to the robots! I try to add it in for my guests, but it's something to consider going foward. 

Ask the blog host/hostess what they need from you. Most will want at the least:
  • Book blurb (back cover copy)
  • Cover(s) of the book(s) you're promoting. 
  • Short excerpt. If you write erotic romance or erotica, ask the host/hostess what heat level the prefer
  • Bio and picture (if you wish)
  • Links: Tell readers where to find you! I did a page of links for all of the main retailers for the book AND for my page, plus my Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest and Twitter accounts. I keep this on file and then just copy and paste into a document. You can hyperlink or do it the old-fashioned way. 
  • Some may want a special kind of post like a character interview. You'll need to work out what is wanted or needed.

Please Do NOT...
  • Tell the hostess/host they can get your bio off your website. 
  • Tell the hostess/host they can get your blurb off Amazon.
  • Make the hostess/host hunt down your links.
  • Make the hostess/host stalk your Facebook page for a cover or banner or anything else. 
  • Send the hostess/host 67 things and tell them to create something fun! If they want to create something fun, they can go write. 
  • Ask the hostess/host for character interview questions. They probably don't know your characters.
  • Send your hostess/host PDF's to copy and paste. Those suckers are IMPOSSIBLE to copy! The hostess/host of the blog is not going to steal your work. Really. Just send a .doc or .rtf.
  • Expect the host/hostess to get links off your sig line in an email. Just have it all ready for him/her. 

Please Do...
  • Proof read and edit your blurb and excerpt! Personal note...I am an editor in my real life. I realize people make mistakes (I do, all the time) but sending me a post full of errors makes me really twitchy. 
  • Send something interesting! On my side, it's hard to help my guests connect unrelated, random things when the host/hostess don't know your book or you. 
  • Send a big .jpeg of your cover. It comes out clearer and the host/hostess can always downsize it if it's too large for the post.
  • Send links! Amazon author page, FB author page, Twitter, Pinterest... Check them to make sure they're correct. 
  • Send your post as early as possible so your host/hostess can start building your post. If you're waiting for links those are easy to insert. 

I hope this is helpful! I've had some awesome guests so far, and the rest of September and October are chock-full of fun things. Stay tuned! 


Sandra Dailey said...

I wish this post was required reading for all guest bloggers. I could tell you nightmare stories.
One guest requested an interview on her new release . I had to send several emails to gather info. Then, I find out the book won't release until two months after the post.

Mia Downing said...

Oh, I bet, Sandy! I will say most of my guests have been wonderful. But when I started having regular guests, I was new at gathering information. I hadn't guested a lot, so I had no clue what to send people. However, I know what I like to read for posts, that helps!

After a few months of tossing this stuff together, though, I'm starting to see where things are lacking. I think if people are guesting more than hosting, they don't realize where the holes in communication start.

Anne Stenhouse said...

Hi Mia, I'm a relatively new author and also relatively new at guesting on blogs. I'm also in the UK and a bit reticent about seeking publicity, although I know it has to be done. I was surprised to see you advise peppering in the name of the book - but I will be taking that up. My new one's called Bella's Betrothal, by the by. It releases on 20th from MuseItUp.
I enjoyed your post and will be referring back at intervals. Thank you. Anne Stenhouse

Nona Raines said...

Mia, what great advice! I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't know most of this stuff when I created my first guest blog. Your info will help a lot of newer authors and save blog hosts a lot of bother!

Mia Downing said...

Anne, welcome to the promo world! Some people love to blog and some people don't. Definitely use your name and your book's title in posts! It makes a difference. So something as simple as changing Blurb: A blurb from Book's Title! Is just one more way to get your information out there. Or, Buy Links... Book Title Buy Links. You can also use it for the author. Follow Author on Twitter! That sort of thing. Good luck! If you would like to see about guesting on my blog, let me know! I'm always looking for guests.

Mia Downing said...

Hi Nona! Thank you! Your post was awesome, though. I didn't have to scavenger at all!

Colette Saucier said...

Hi Mia,

As someone who hosts a LOT of guests, I appreciate your tips! I may start including a link to this post when I send out my guest reminders!


Raven McAllan said...

I wonder if I can send this to someone due to guest on my blog who seemds to think I'm going to go to her blog/web for the info needed.)I'm not)
All so very true, thank you.

Mia Downing said...

Raven, I ended up making a blog check list sheet with a link to this post and things I need to make their post better. I can send you a copy if you wish. I don't know if it will help, but we'll see!

And you're welcome! Thank you for reading.

Anonymous said...

Mia, I am so glad you sent me a link to this post! Now I can go back and tweak my blog post.

MJ Flournoy

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