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.)
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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.

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FOR BLOGGERS WHO WANT TO FEATURE GUESTS

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.

FOR AUTHORS WHO AGREE TO SUBMIT GUEST POSTS (POSSIBLY FOR BLOG TOURS)

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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