REPOST: How to: When writers want authors to Guest Blog…

While speaking at the wonderful Whidbey Island Writers Conference this past weekend, I was asked a question: “If you’re not a literary agent, how do you get an author to agree to appear on your blog?” Oooohhhh. It struck me that it must seem MUCH harder than it actually is to interview an author for your blog or to have them guest blog for you. So raise your sword because I swear by the power of Grayskull…you can do this.

…and here is how, aka, follow the pictures.

Pick an author. For our purposes, we will choose an author that has appeared on This Literary Life: Gitty Daneshvari. Author of the School of Fear series.

Now, there is a reason I chose Gitty. It wasn’t a random choice. I KNOW my readers. They are writers and they write children’s books. This was a calculated choice. You do not want to feature an author whom none of your readers will identify with. Plus, Gitty is just absolutely fantastic.

So, I’ve selected my author. The next thing you will want to do is get in contact with your author. Sometimes you will not be able to do this, and that’s just a fact. But for every author who does not put contact info on their Web site, there is an author that does. So I head on over here:

Then I went here:

Can you feel it? We’re getting closer…

VOILA! So the truth is, the easy part is over. Now you write an EXTREMELY polite and informative email to the author and…WAIT. DO NOT PESTER. I don’t think I can stress that enough. Write once, and wait. If they never get back to you, move on.

So this was my next step:

It took her a few days to respond, and we found a time that worked for HER (do not make this about yourself, they are doing you a huge favor. You work on their time schedule).

A word about blogs: Always tag and use categories on your blog!!! When tagging or using categories, use “hot words” like Gitty Daneshvari and School of Fear and Middle Grade Books, etc. “Hot words” are words that people use in a Google search. You do this so that your blog has a higher chance of appearing when someone searches these words. Advice: Look through your entire blog post after you have finished writing it and think to yourself: what key words or ideas are used in this post that people would Google search? Then tag them or use them in the categories.

Also, use images. Not only does it make reading a blog post much more exciting, but when people Google Image Search for Gitty Daneshvari, the image I used of Gitty will appear with the many others, and will drive traffic to my blog.

ALWAYS feed your blog link through other social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, etc.

**It’s important to remember that authors are people too. Which means a few things: They love to promote their books, as well they should. It also means that they have crazy hectic lives just like all of us, and “no” is very much a reasonable answer. So, be patient, choose wisely, and remember that “if you never ask, you’ll never get.”

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9 thoughts on “REPOST: How to: When writers want authors to Guest Blog…

  1. I agree that you have to be realistic. Most authors have been very generous with their time. Only a few never responded. Or said no. I only interview authors twice a month so I’ve been focusing on debut and middle grade authors and giving away a copy of their book to help promote them. I’m Casey McCormick’s new blog partner on Literary Rambles, and being new, I appreciate how nice authors have been.

  2. Great post! I have found that if you are focused for what you are trying to talk about and accomplish then you will have great response. I also feel that you NEED to do that research on what authors have been asked before. Who wants to do an interview with the same old questions that they always get asked. On top of that, who wants to read the same interview?! Thanks for the great advice.

  3. I had Andrew Smith (who happens to be from the Olympic Peninsula somewhere, Kingston, I think, AND is really awesome) on my blog a few weeks ago. All I did was email him after communicating through blog comments for a few days.

  4. You’re welcome. I think it helps if you show a little interest first, as in “I actually care about your work” not just “I want to use your fame to bring traffic to my blog.”

  5. Just about all I can point out is, I’m not sure what to comment! Except obviously, for the fantastic tips that are shared within this blog. I could think of a zillion fun ways to read the posts on this site. I do think I will finally make a move using your tips on areas I could never have been able to touch alone. You are so innovative to permit me to be one of those to benefit from your helpful information. Please know how great I appreciate it.

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