Author Blogging: Guest Posting and an Invitation

by Joel Friedlander on March 21, 2011 · 46 comments

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The practice of guest posting—writing articles for other people’s blogs—has become one of the most frequently recommended methods of bringing new readers to your own blog or website.

Bloggers have written lots of articles about guest blogging and there are even books for sale about guest blogging.

Why? It works for the guest, for the blogger and for the readers. I’ve been able to share with you articles by novelist Will Entrekin, self-publisher Michael N. Marcus, blogger Joanna Penn, author Susan Daffron, author mentor Laura Cross, and many others.

Here’s how this works as a win-win-win situation:

  • It works for readers, because these articles bring different perspectives to the blog, offer expertise in areas I’m not that familiar with, and add variety.
  • It works for the blogger, because it gives me a day off, and a chance to write for other venues.
  • It works for the guest, since some people who respond to their writing will follow them to learn more.

Rules of the Road

In the interest of transparency, I want to make it clear that I welcome guest articles from any reader who would like to query me. Here are the guidelines I use for guest bloggers on The Book Designer:

  1. Original content only. This is part of my basic commitment to you. I don’t reprint articles from directories, from bloggers’ archives, or from other sources. You might find an article somewhere else that first appeared on this blog, but it has to be original to be considered.
  2. Authentic voice. I get a lot of articles submitted that are obviously turned out as production content. They have a bit of information in them, but are flat and uninteresting to read. You have to be engaged with the content to come across as authentic.
  3. On topic. Articles that are on topic deal with writing, publishing and marketing books, with typography and book design, and with personal experiences doing one of these things.
  4. Relevant backlink. Yes, I will go and look at the site you want to link to from your post. That’s another commitment I make to you. Even if the article is on topic, if it’s leading you to a site selling Florida vacation homes or online degrees, it gets bounced.
  5. Only two backlinks. You want to convince people you’re worth reading, not plant 10 links in your article all leading back to your blog. Only 2 “self-serving” backlinks, and one of those should be in your bio. Links to resources that amplify the article are fine.
  6. 30 day exclusive. Goes with original content. Please allow your article to remain in place here for 30 days before reposting it elsewhere. It’s your article since you wrote it, but respect your host.
  7. Answer comments. If you open a discussion, hang around and take care of your guests.
  8. Appropriate length. This is the most common question I get from guest bloggers, and here’s my answer: my articles run from 800 to 1200 words, which is long for most bloggers. Guest blogs should be 500 words to whatever it takes. If you can keep it interesting and informative, go for it.
  9. Resources. I’m partial to articles that give readers resources to pursue on their own. Take the time to treat your readers right.
  10. Make an approach. It’s easier to say yes to someone who suggests topics than it is to someone who asks “What should I write about?” Does that make sense?
  11. Format. Lots of bloggers like posts as attachments in Word. Since I work in the HTML window of the WordPress interface, I would prefer plain text. Provide the full URL of anything you want to link to, and if you can put in formatting codes then by all means do it.
  12. Break it up. It’s more interesting to read articles that are punctuated by lists, bullets, block quotes and subheads. Use them.
  13. Put yourself out there. There’s something that makes writing compelling, that draws readers to your work: it’s when you put yourself into your article. Make us feel what you felt, tell a story from your experience, be honest about things you did that didn’t work out. However you do it, find a way to make it personal and authentic and you’ll be a success.

As part of my launch for A Self-Publisher’s Companion, I’m also guest posting on a number of blogs starting next week. If you have a blog where writers congregate, would you like an article written specifically for your blog? I want to write for you!

I’d like to hear from you, since many readers here are writers, too. Do you want to guest post here? Got something you want to say? Let me know.

Photo by Erin Kohlenberg

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    { 44 comments… read them below or add one }

    Michael Selmer November 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Joel,

    I am planning to write a blog post about my experiences during the past six months during which I had both a publisher and an agent, parted ways with both, and decided to self-publish. The highs and lows of going through that process were excruciating. Fear and doubt made the months of August and September a trying ordeal. Now I am less than four weeks away from my book launch and feeling confident that I made the right decision.
    Would you be interested in this as a guest post. If so, is there an issue with me posting it on my own page?

    Michael Selmer

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander December 9, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Michael,

    Your article sounds interesting. For guest posts, we require original content but after 30 days you are welcome to repost it to your own site. Complete info on guest posting policies can be found here:

    Guest Author Guidelines

    and thanks for your interest

    Reply

    Victoria Noe November 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Joel,
    What a lovely offer! I would’ve commented sooner, but just minutes after this popped up on Twitter, I got a DM from someone else…asking me to guest blog. Obviously, great minds think alike!
    I’m getting ready for a trip to NYC, but will put this in my “to-do-now-and-not-later” pile.

    Reply

    Steven Lewis November 2, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Hi Joel,

    Great post. Disturbing that some of it needed to be said but there you go, it does.

    I would love a guest post from you for Taleist.

    And I will give some thought to what I could suggest to you for your blog. I have some thoughts and will send them to you.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander November 2, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    That would be great Steven, I’d love to have you as a guest here. And in a few weeks I’d like to also reciprocate. What fun!

    Reply

    Susan Ross November 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Hi Joel,

    I would also be happy to do a guest post. I am a children’s author with four self-published picture books. I would be happy to write about self-publishing from my own experience. The only thing I’m not sure about is your following statement:

    Lots of bloggers like posts as attachments in Word. Since I work in the HTML window of the WordPress interface, I would prefer plain text. Provide the full URL of anything you want to link to, and if you can put in formatting codes then by all means do it.

    I don’t know what “plain text” is or how to do it.

    Susan R.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander November 2, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Susan I’m sure many readers would be interested in your publishing experiences. Let me know what you have in mind, and don’t worry about the plain text, you can submit a Word file with no problem.

    Reply

    Susan Ross November 2, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks Joel. I would discuss print-on-demand versus traditional printing.

    Susan R.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander November 2, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Excellent, thanks Susan!

    Reply

    Susan Ross November 10, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Joel,

    Sorry for the delay. I have finally finished the post. Where do I send it?

    Susan

    Joel Friedlander November 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Hi Susan, that’s great. Send it to jfbookman (at) gmail.com.

    Liz Broomfield November 2, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Hi there Joel,

    A good post – I wish I’d had something in place for my guest posters about staying around for the discussion, as I have one I’m about to have to take down from my blog, as it contains a possible error which the author is not coming back to me about!

    I’d love to have a guest post from you on my blog! It’s quite a varied one, on language, writing and running a small business, but I have had posts from writers in the past and know that quite a few writers read the blog.

    I’d also be glad to submit a guest post to you. I’m an editor, of full-length fiction and non-fiction books and academic work, etc. I’d be very happy to submit something on editing – I’ve worked with some first-time novelists as well as more established writers, and can put something together for you if you’d like me to.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander November 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    That would be lovely Liz, why don’t you send me some ideas you have of what you would like to write about? I’ll be freeing up time for more guest posting next month, so I’ll be in touch about contributing to your blog as well.

    Reply

    Lin A. Lacombe March 23, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Thank you for the invitation to be a guest columnist on your Blog. Let’s rock and roll.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 23, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Terrific, thanks Lin. We could really use some of your PR savvy, I know readers would appreciate it.

    Reply

    Derek Oscarson March 22, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Book Cover Design 101? Mainly what not to do, like Comic Sans, script font all caps, etc.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 22, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Derek, that’s always a good topic. Rather than a set of rules, I find I’m more interested in your actual experience or examples of things that work and things that don’t, and why that is. Think about it.

    Reply

    Derek Oscarson March 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Well, I’ve done just about everything beside book covers so I don’t have a book full of them. How about “here’s how I would do it” approach with before and after, demonstrating simple little techniques that can make a big difference. Basically take existing cover designs and mock it up with those adjustments that seem subtle but have a big impact. Nothing too complicated. You know, effective use of white space, drop shadows, kerning, leading, etc.

    My main question is are authors using applications other than Photoshop and Illustrator?

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Great idea, the “bad” covers don’t have to be yours!

    As far as software, I would not assume most DIY self-publishers are using Photoshop or Illustrator. This type of article seems to work better when you talk more about principles and examples rather than the technical background of how they are done.

    Reply

    Tom Evans March 22, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Hi Joel – looking forward to our interview on the Barefoot Broadcast on the 11th April. In the meantime, I’d love to post anything you like on the Bookwright blog.

    If you like, I will come up with something for you about my transition from bored IT consultant to author to sharing the same platform as Brian Tracy and Mark Victor Hansen if you like.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 22, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Tom, that sounds like an awesome story and I’m sure readers would be interested in how you did it, as well as lessons learned along the way. Thanks!

    Reply

    Ann Smarty March 22, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Joel, we’d love to have you as member of MyBlogGuest.com

    My Blog Guest is the free platform for guest authors and blog owners. You’d make an awesome member of the family!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 22, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Thanks for the invitation, Ann, I’ll check it out.

    Reply

    Susan Daffron March 21, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks for the shout-out Joel. I’m happy to write another guest post for you any time! Just say the word ;-)

    – Susan

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 22, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Susan, it’s a pleasure to host your content, and I’m sure it won’t be long before we find another opportunity. Thanks.

    Reply

    Roger C. Parker March 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Dear Joel:
    As is usually the case with your advice, you manage to weave a story while providing a detailed list of actionable tips and strategies.

    I agree with Tony: this post is one of the best resources on guest blogging I’ve encountered.

    Any chance you’re free next Tuesday, at 4:00 PM EST, (or, the following Tuesday) for a Published & Profitable expert interview on necessary first steps for self-publishing?

    Your Self-Publisher’s Companion is a book that only you could have put together.

    Roger

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 22, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Thanks, Roger. Yes, I can certainly be free for an interview, I would be thrilled. I’ll email you to make arrangements.

    Reply

    Tony Eldridge March 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Joel, this is one of the best resources on guest blogging I have read in a long time. I have used the principles you described to build a strong network of experts I really respect. I’m excited that you will be among them by being a guest on my blog next week!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 22, 2011 at 1:08 am

    Tony, thanks. I’m really looking forward to it also.

    Reply

    Tara Woolpy March 21, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I would love to do a guest post. I’m relatively new to blogging, but I have plenty of ideas about indie publishing. My first book comes out August 1 and I’ve spent the last year reading and thinking about how to make it work.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 21, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Sounds great, Tara. Let me know what aspect you’d like to address in a guest post and we’ll go from there.

    Reply

    Levi Montgomery March 21, 2011 at 6:41 am

    Joel,

    I don’t think you want to post my guest rant about how depressing flat-lined sales can be, so I’ll keep that to myself, but I did want to just mention one thing: you say you work in the HTML window of WordPress, so you prefer plain text, and that those who can add formatting codes should do so. I’d like to point out that those who use offline editors, such as Windows Live Writer, should be able to write their post, then switch to the HTML view and copy the contents from there. I know from experience that this can be simply dropped into WordPress’s HTML window.

    Should make things a little easier for those who don’t want to learn HTML itself.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 21, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Levi, thanks for the tip. I should have been more explicit in my post because I really don’t mind getting articles that are well formatted in Word or an equivalent. Being naturally lazy, of course, an HTML post that’s just “drag and drop” has a certain appeal.

    And by the way, “how depressing flat-line sales can be” would be a fantastic blog topic precisely because most people will not write that post, especially if it’s complete with real statistics, some idea of what influences the sales of your books, what you’ve done to try to increase sales, and the results you’ve gotten, along with any lessons learned. So my response is “Oh yeah, why not?”

    Reply

    Levi Montgomery March 22, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Hmmm… well, then, why not? I’ll see what I can come up with.

    *wanders off muttering*

    Reply

    Roger C. Parker March 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Dear Levi:
    Thanks for sharing your HTML tip: my http://www.publishedandprofitable.com website is based on Membergate and requires formatting codes.

    Your advice can possibly save me a lot of time in the future. Thank you!
    Roger

    Reply

    Levi Montgomery March 22, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Glad to be of assistance! :)

    Reply

    Emma Newman March 21, 2011 at 6:04 am

    What a wonderful offer! I know that there are many self-publishing authors who read my blog and are in my Twitter community, so I would love it if you guest posted on my blog.

    I would also love the opportunity to write a guest post for you, I’m a regular reader and would be so excited to be part of the blog. One topic that springs to mind is my experience of having a self-published short story anthology picked up by a small press – creating a new edition to be published in April. Does that sound of interest?

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 21, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Thanks so much, Emma. I’ll send you an email so we can make arrangements.

    Your subject sounds great, and I’m sure many readers would be interested in your experience.

    Reply

    Jenn Mattern March 21, 2011 at 4:08 am

    I’m a big fan of guest posting. I’m in the middle of a month-long virtual blog tour right now actually, to promote both my new indie publishing blog and my primary blog on freelance writing.

    They’re a nice spin on an old PR tactic (and one that still works quite well — professionals offering free features to trade mags). And while I find they don’t always lead to immediate sales increases when promoting products (depending on your bio and call to action), they’re great for community building. I’ve been thrilled to meet so many new readers this month as a result — people who lurk and now come out to comment, people who read similar blogs but hadn’t discovered by own yet, etc.

    You’re welcome to stop by AllIndiePublishing.com any time if you’d like. And after surviving this month-long blog tour you can bet I’ll be in touch with some guest post ideas of my own if you’re interested.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 21, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Jean, thanks. I’ve already checked out the great content on All Indie Publishing and I’m sure it will be helpful to authors. When your schedule frees up do get in touch.

    Reply

    Judy Croome March 21, 2011 at 3:43 am

    Joel,
    I, too, would be pleased to feature a guest post from you on my blog.

    I would be happy to do a writing-related guest post for you as well, if you would satisfied with giving me a post date after end of June 2011. My schedule up to then is pretty full.
    Regards,
    Judy (South Africa)

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 21, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Hi Judy,

    I publish guest posts almost every week here, so just let me know a good date for you. I’m installing some new software that allows me to set up an editorial calendar for the blog so putting you in for a future date should be no problem.

    Reply

    Lillie Ammann March 21, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Joel,

    I would be delighted to have a guest post from you on my blog.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 21, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Thanks, Lillie, I’ll be in touch by email, and I appreciate your offer.

    Reply

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