10 Tips on Guest Blogging and Blog Tours

Hosting guests and author tours on your own blog is a way to attract more readers to your site as well as introduce your guests to a new audience. As a blogger and author, you also have an opportunity to make special appearances from time to time, or to schedule a virtual tour for a new book release.

When I was promoting my second mystery, I did a few guest appearances for more experienced bloggers. In mid-2010, after I’d mastered the basics of Blogger, I began inviting authors to write for my blog . These are a few of the things I’ve learned.

GIVEAWAY: Patricia is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Petrea won.)


Guest column by Patricia Stoltey, author of two Sylvia and Willie
mysteries from Five Star/Cengage, The Prairie Grass Murders
and The Desert Hedge Murders. She has just begun looking for
an agent for her latest manuscript,
Wishing Caswell Dead, a
story of a young girl in frontier Illinois who searches for a
protector among the flawed adults in her village.
See her author website here. She’s also on Twitter.



1. Create specific submission guidelines and make sure the author receives a copy before you set a date for the appearance. If you create a comprehensive set of guidelines once, you’ll never have to do it again.

2. Be very clear about your requirements: length of article needed, topic preferences or restrictions, quality of writing expected and how you’ll deal with unacceptable submissions, deadline and format for submissions, and the required format for supplementary materials such as photos, links, and the author’s bio. Explain that the author is expected to check in at the blog a few times the day the post publishes and respond to comments.

(How many blog page views are enough to impress an agent?)

3. Write introductions and/or summaries for your guest’s piece, and make the layout as attractive as possible. Don’t start featuring guests until you know how to add, resize, and place photos, how to create links, and how to embed code for video clips such as book trailers.

4. Promote the author on as many sites as possible. In addition to Twitter and Facebook, I put notices on any Yahoo! Groups where the guest and I are both members. Ask her to promote the post as well.

5. Notify the guest the day the article publishes and provide the permalink (as opposed to the blog’s link) as well as any shortened links you’ll use on social media sites. Remind her to make appearances to respond to comments.


1. Follow the host’s guidelines to the letter. Don’t send 1,000 words if the host has requested 500. Don’t tell the host to go to your website to get photos if the guidelines tell you to submit photos as .jpg attachments. If there’s something in the guidelines you don’t understand, ask.

2. Proofread, proofread, and proofread…before you submit.

(The term “platform” defined — learn how to sell more books.)

3. Submit your materials on time.

4. Show up and respond to comments the day of your appearance. If you won’t be able to do this, or don’t know how to do it, tell your host ahead of time.

5. Discuss special requests or promotions (such as giveaways or featuring a book trailer) at the time the appearance is scheduled.

For more helpful information about hosting virtual tours, visit the Blog Book Tours blog. I participated in two discussions there with Holly Jahangiri called “Pat and Holly talk about blog book tours and other adventures”  and “More Tea and Advice with Pat and Holly.”

Feel free to ask questions in the comment section here, or contact me through the email link listed on my blog profile.

GIVEAWAY: Patricia is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Petrea won.)



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Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
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19 thoughts on “10 Tips on Guest Blogging and Blog Tours

  1. Petrea

    Sorry for the late response! I momentarily lost my login…
    Just want to say thank you, Chuck, for a great blog that’s such a valuable resource. And Patricia, I look forward to reading your book!

  2. skidawayme

    Thanks for the good advice, Patricia. Am in the process of collecting this kind of information prior to my book release. Especially helpful to have the guidelines. Thanks for donating the book as well.

  3. AnnSmarty

    Hey Chuck, thanks for the great post and the head-ups on how guest blogging is beneficial to everyone.

    I’d be honored to have you and the readers of this article as our community members:

    MyBlogGuest.com is the community that connects guest bloggers to blog owners. There are plenty of guest blogging and networking opportunities inside!

  4. Patricia Stoltey

    Thanks for all the great comments. From time to time I do receive a guest post that needs a little editing. When that happens, I always notify the author, even if merely correcting typos. So far I’ve never received a post that I had to reject, so I think authors are savvy about their responsibility to the host.

  5. wondering04

    Good advice – I had an offer to write a goest post for a site. The author contacted me with revisions he wanted, all helpful for me. I made the revisions and thanked him for his guidance. Being willing to work with someone on their site is also necessary. I’d invite him back for a return post but I’m still building this new blog’s following. May invite him for my other blog though.

    Have a blessed day.

  6. Nancy

    Thanks for the guidelines. I’m new to blogging and always gathering information. I will definitely save your information and use it later.

    I wish you continued success on your writing career.

  7. Petrea

    These are wonderful ideas, Patricia, thank you. I host guest authors on my blog and I also hope to be a guest author someday. I created guidelines as I went along with the first several posts, learning as I went. I’ve been doing it for almost a year now and the guidelines don’t change very often anymore.

    I appreciate your guidelines for guest authors, too. There was only one who didn’t seem to appreciate the opportunity–sent me to his website for .jpgs (which were too small), wrote way too much copy and generally made extra work for me. I won’t ask him back. All the others have been a pleasure and my readers have loved them, too.

    Responding to comments on the day of the post might just be the most important point. That interaction with readers is absolutely key.

  8. Patricia Stoltey

    Thanks bunches for checking in, Holly. After reading the comments so far, I’m inclined to add a new page to my blog so the guest guidelines are there for all to see. One more goodie for my To Do List.

  9. Patricia Stoltey

    I should also add that Facebook is a great place to make contacts for guest blogging. Use the private message function, however, instead of posting to the blogger’s wall.

  10. Patricia Stoltey

    Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Most bloggers who invite guests either have a page or link to their guidelines or an e-mail address link in their profiles. If you’ve find a blog that seems like a good fit for the type of writing you do, and there are no guidelines posted, then contact the blogger by e-mail and ask. Be sure to explain who you are and a little about your books. If the blogger has room on her calendar and is open to your type of writing, she’ll respond with all the information you need. Save yourself and the book bloggers a lot of time by taking a good look at several past guest posts to see how they look, who the guests are, and what they write about. You want to write to the blogger’s audience, not necessarily your own audience.

  11. HollyJahangiri

    Patricia is such a fun and gracious writer – I was surprised (and quite pleased) to find a link to our little chat on guest blogging and guest bloggers here! I have enjoyed her books immensely, and I am glad that the lucky winner of her book will get to discover how engaging and entertaining her characters are.

  12. clarbojahn

    Thanks for this informative post and for the give away. Both are appreciated. Count me in.
    I finally got some guidelines but don’t know how to be a guest on someone else’s blog without their guidelines. How can I courteously ask them to get some. I want to be welcomed as well as welcoming to them. Once I guested on their site and wasn’t formated correctly. It was a disaster. I don’t want a repeat. 🙂

    1. HollyJahangiri

      That’s a really excellent question. I rarely approach other bloggers and ask to guest post, but when I do, I just charge in and ask! I will have to give some thought to posting guidelines – I’ve seen it done on blogs that actively seek out guest writers, but mine’s more on a case-by-case basis. I hadn’t thought of seeming “unwelcoming.” Thanks for giving me a different perspective!

  13. leighh5

    Great advice, Patricia.

    I’ve hosted guest writers and author blog tours and haven’t yet created standard submission guidelines. This would save me time.

    Also, I belong to LinkedIn and Facebook groups, among others, but not Yahoo! groups. I will check this out.

    I was born on the prairies so look forward to checking out your book! Thanks, Leigh


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