How to be a Gracious Blog Guest
by Nancy Lee Badger
Promotion is one of those things an author must endure, after they write the book. There are many ways to promote your work, such as tweeting 140 character spurts on Twitter; posting a newsy spot on Facebook; sending newsletters; buying adds in periodicals; etc. One cheap but-in my honest opinion-productive method is to appear as a guest on another person’s blog.
Blog Tours and Blog Hops are other aspects, but for the newby author, even one not yet published, who might be on the path for name recognition, appearing on a blog is an easy way to get you noticed…as long as you behave like a gracious guest.
Finding bloggers wanting to host you is a whole other article, which I cannot go into, though I invite readers to contact me directly for ideas. What I want is to help you with the following:
1) How to approach a blogger
2) What to offer a blogger to help get you a spot
3) What to look for when they say ‘yes’
4) What to send them
5) How to follow up
6) How to say thanks
How to Approach a Blogger
Let’s say you have made a list of blogs you like, or that others have recommended, or that have requested guests. These blogs usually have a contact me tab and this is where you put your request. If wanting to promote a recent or future release, mention the book’s title and genre. You should also add that you are open to write an article, answer interview questions, make up a character interview, or are looking for a review (that is a whole other article). You should also mention what weeks or months you are looking at for a post. Some bloggers are booked months in advance, so be ready for that as well.
What to offer a blogger
I mentioned that your first contact should offer several options, but only if you are comfortable with them. If you just want somewhere to spotlight your new release, say that. A spotlight basically includes the book blurb, an excerpt, the buy links, the cover photo, and the author bio. Most bloggers want more, so be prepared to fill those requests.
When they say YES
Congratulations! When you get a ‘yes’ with suggested post dates, respond immediately. The blogger should either have included a list of what they require from you and when, or will once you verify the blog date you have agreed to. I suggest taking a wall calendar and posting when this or that blog will go live. It is best not to have several promo dates too close together, or you will not be able to promote them equally. Make a note of the due date! Nothing irritates a busy blogger than to have to scramble after their next guest!
What to Send Them
Again, they should mention in an email what they want. The things that should appear in every blog post AT LEAST are:
The book cover: a jpg in a medium size
The Book Blurb: if you have a short one or the one on the back cover, that’s best
Author Bio: Readers always want to know about the author.
Social Media Links: Your Twitter account, Facebook author page, Goodreads author page, Amazon Author Page, Website, etc.
Buy Links: If the book is coming out the day of the post, or you don’t know the other buy links, you can always include a link to your website’s BOOKS tab. (you DO have a website, right?) That way you can update your own website quickly, and not have to bother the blog host. Some bloggers might send requirements in the form of a document. SAVE IT as a doc, then fill it out. Follow instructions! Again, make sure you email it back before the DUE DATE.
Don’t do what I recently did that ended up screwing up a perfectly nice relationship with a blogger. Believe me, I have been at this for about 7 years and should have known better. I worked on my post, created a free Rafflecopter Giveaway, and sent the document with my photos to the blogger. On post day, the blog was not up. I waited until noon my time, since bloggers could be in different time zones, then emailed her. Her response? (and I quote) “I never got your items so I can’t put up a post if I don’t have it.”
Oops! I guess I should have followed up the day I sent the post to make sure she received it. All I could do at this point was ask if I could resend it and get it posted or could I reschedule?
She never answered me.
I cannot argue with her and say that the emails went through, and possibly ended up in her spam folder. I was in the wrong in her eyes. Another thing is to ASK if a Giveaway is okay, and make sure you do not assume the blogger will chose the winners. I use Rafflecopter.com because my blog will not store emails, so I cannot contact a winner.
How to Say Thanks
Always comment on the blog post once it is live with something simple, like “Thank you for having me as a guest.” Go back and check comments all week, and reply to nice ones. Make a point to show that you are interacting with her guests. This is another reason to spread your blog appearances. I try not to do more than two a week, and once every 7 days is usually my goal. Some authors like to blast away on dozens of blogs. More power to you, but I want to get back to what I love best. Writing!