fbpx
How to guest post successfully: 6 tips for authors

How to guest post successfully: 6 tips for authors

With publications closing and book review sections of newspapers and magazines getting smaller and smaller, authors need to work very hard to find publicity opportunities for their books these days.

Whether traditionally- or indie-published, authors must seek out new and different ways to get their books in front of readers.

Fortunately, in a world where so much has moved online, authors are lucky enough, by their very nature, to have a hugely effective weapon in their publicity arsenal: words.

Having your own author blog and building an engaged community is one way to use your words effectively (and I’ve written about this herehere and here).

But another approach is simply to borrow someone else’s blog or website.

Guest posting 101 for authors

Guest posting is where you write a post or article for someone else’s blog or website, thereby drawing their audience’s attention to you and your work. Sounds simple, right?

Yes, and no. There are a few hurdles to jump between ‘I’d like to use guest posting as an author marketing strategy’ and ‘oh, look, there’s my post being shared widely on that established blog’.

Firstly, you need to know which blog might be interested in your post.

Secondly, you need to reach out to that blogger and actively pitch your work (it’s a rare occasion where a blogger will contact you and say ‘I see you have a new book out, please publicise it on my blog’)

Thirdly, you need to know what it is you intend to write about AND how this post will help to showcase your new book.

But more about that lately.

Let’s look at the first point.

Where to put your words

There are several ways to find bloggers/websites to pitch for guest posting. You could try the scattergun approach, whereby you just google ‘writing websites’ or ‘author blogs’ and work your way down the list.

Or you could just decide you’ll only target blogs or authors that have minimum 10K followers on Facebook – or some other arbitrary system you come up with.

You could do that. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you have a lot of time to spare, then go for it.

Instead, look at your own communities. Look at the websites you follow, the authors you like, the Facebook groups you like to be part of, the people you like to engage with.

Who are they? What do they have in common? Are they sharing links from particular websites over and over?

Make a list.

Now look at your list and ask yourself this question: if I write a post for this blog, will the audience be potential readers for my book?

This is a really important question. Lots of new authors will look at guest posting on blogs where they can write about a subject dear to their hearts: writing. Which is great. There’s no doubt you’ll probably come up with a cracking post.

But the people reading that post will be WRITERS.

And while most writers are also readers, what percentage of them will want to read your book after gleaning all they can from your pearls of wisdom about writing?

With that in mind, have another look at your list of potential bloggers/websites.

And then make another list about the kinds of websites/blogs you think the ideal reader of your book* would visit.

That’s your actual list.

You’ll note there’s a * on that description and it’s this: if you are writing for children, for the most part you’ll need to be looking for the ideal buyer or recommender of your book. You’re looking for parents/teachers/librarians and the other adults who putting books into the hands of your ideal reader.

Who are you writing your guest post for?

Guest posting takes work. Sorry, but it’s true. Now that you have your list of potential blogs/websites, it’s time to take a very close look at each of them.

First question, does that blog/website take guest posts? Is there any evidence that other guest posters have paved the way for you?

If yes, then great. If no, chances are that you don’t need to waste your time.

Next, read through the last eight to ten blog posts/articles on the site. Even if you’re a regular visitor, don’t rely on your memory. The tone and flavour of blogs can change from month to month as the blogger’s circumstances or focus changes, so a guest post idea that might have worked three months ago may not work now.

As you read through, make a note of the tone or flavour of the posts. Try to get an idea of who the blogger is writing for – what’s their audience?

Have a look at any associated social media – what kinds of things is the blogger sharing on Facebook? What kinds of comments are they getting? What posts are really working for them on Instagram? Who’s engaging?

Once you’ve got a clear picture, it’s time to brain storm some ideas for THAT blog. Pitching is precise.

The key to a successful guest post

A successful guest post is one that provides the blog or website host with valuable content, while ALSO promoting the author’s book in a meaningful way.

You can write about similar subject matter for five different blogs or websites, but the ANGLE of each post/article needs to be honed differently for each blog or site you’re pitching.

As an example, say I was going to write a post about how to keep 13-year-old boys interested in reading, because my next book is an adventure story for 13-year-old boys. I might pitch three different stories thus:

  1. 15 exciting adventure stories 13-year-old boys will love
  2. The secret to getting tween boys back into reading
  3. The reason 13-year-old boys give up on books (and it’s not what you think)

These are obviously all ideas for blogs or websites that have an adult audience.

If I was pitching the same idea for a website that caters TO 13-year-old boys, I might go with something like:

The 10 best books you’ve never read

“But where is your book in all this Allison?” I hear you ask.

Oh, my book is in there. If it’s a book list, my book is on that list. If it’s a blog post aimed at adults about why boys don’t read, it’s got all of my experiences with my own sons and why they inform the brand-new exciting adventure story I’ve written.

In fact, that’s a tip for new guest posters – do NOT forget to put your book in to the text. Don’t just rely on the bio at the end, because readers may not get that far. Instead, start with “When I was writing [my book], with its themes of action and adventure, it reminded me of 10 classic adventure stories that kids today will love… As with [my book], these are books with [insert characteristics] etc etc”

Get your book upfront! And in the middle! And at the end!

But in a natural way.

Now for the pitch

Once you’ve brainstormed all of your ideas and worked out which is the best fit for each particular blog or website, it’s time to reach out via email.

Keep your pitch concise, covering who you are, the guest post topic you are proposing, how it fits into their site (if they have different series or post types, flag which one you are targeting), whether you can supply images (hint, bloggers really like it if you can) and when you’d be able to get them the post.

If they don’t have guest posts regularly, with a standard template for credits, let them know what kind of info/links you will supply along with the main article (eg, I’ll send links to my website and book info, along with a 100 word bio and a book cover), to show them your expectations around crediting. You might as well be upfront about this, otherwise you might end up writing an 800-word article for one link buried deep in the middle of the text.

Then cross your fingers.

Be warned that popular bloggers and websites are often inundated with guest post pitches, and you may not even hear back from them unless they’re keen to take up your pitch. Wait a week or two, then send a polite follow up.

As someone who receives a lot of pitches myself, I can tell you that the ones that really spark my interest are the ones where its clear the author has really thought about my audience. If you can tell me quite clearly what’s in your guest post for me, I’m much more likely to look closely at it.

As a hint, proposing that I do a Q&A with you about your book is probably not going to get you over the line.

After your guest post is published

I’ve got one word for you: share. Share. Share. Share.

Yes, you’ve written the post to effectively borrow someone else’s various platforms, but extend the reach of that post by sharing on your own as well.

Some of you are probably thinking ‘but, of course’, but, and trust me on this, I’ve seen many instances where it hasn’t happened.

Guest posting, as with most things on the internet, is best if it’s a two-way street. And, remember, if your guest post does well, your relationship with that blogger is strengthened – and chances are, you’re going to have more books to promote down the track!

When to start guest posting

As with most things to do with book promotion and marketing, the answer to this is NOW.

Even if your book is not out for six months, start researching potential blogs and websites now. Begin establishing connections, start to make a big list of potential ideas. You could even write some posts that will start to build your name in that blogger’s community.

Six weeks out from publication, start pitching, giving the blogger a time frame for the post. “My book is out on 1 August 2020, so ideally this post would run that week.”

Don’t overcommit yourself – remember you have to write all the posts you’re pitching and you need to do a quality job on each and every one of them. You’re better to send out six highly strategic and well-thought-out guest posts than 13 that you’ve dashed off for anyone who will have you.

Good luck!

Meet ‘So You Want To Be A Writer’ the BOOK

Meet ‘So You Want To Be A Writer’ the BOOK

It’s been a big year for the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast team!

Not only have we screamed past the ONE MILLION download mark (you’ll find my 15 favourite interviews here), with a LIVE event at VIVID Sydney (book now!) in the works, but we’re happy to announce that we’ve written a book!

So You Want To Be A Writer book by Allison Tait and Valerie Khoo

So You Want To Be A Writer: How To Get Started (While You Still Have A Day Job) by Allison Tait and Valerie Khoo will be on sale from 8 June (be at our event to be the first to own it!)

Here’s the blurb

The ultimate guide to making your writing dreams come true!

Want to write a novel or earn an income as a freelance writer, but not sure how to go about it? Authors Allison Tait and Valerie Khoo – co-hosts of the popular So You Want To Be A Writer podcast – will give you the steps you need to make your dream a reality.

In this book, you’ll discover everything you need to be a successful writer, including how to connect with people who will help your career grow and productivity tips for fitting everything into your already busy life. You’ll also explore how to keep your creative juices flowing and where to find other writers just like you.

This book lays out a blueprint to help you get started and thrive in the world of words. With advice from over 120 writers, you’ll tap into proven wisdom and find the path that will lead YOU to success!

Here’s what five of Australia’s favourite authors have said about the book

‘Practical, grounded and inspiring. When a thousand voices tell you that you can’t, you need a voice to make you believe you can. This book is that voice.’
Candice Fox, #1 New York Times bestselling author

‘So many pro tips in here from working writers. This is like Tim Ferriss’s Tools of Titans but exclusively for writers. I loved it.’
Tristan Bancks, award-winning children’s author

‘Perfect for the person who wants to write but doesn’t have the confidence or the know-how to start.’
Pamela Hart, award-winning historical fiction author

‘Essential reading for any aspiring writer.’
Graeme Simsion, international bestselling author

‘Val and Al were a godsend to me before I was published, offering a guided tour to the world of publishing that was otherwise closed to me. Their advice is highly, highly recommended.’  
Dervla McTiernan, international bestselling author

And here’s a picture of the co-authors on the day (nearly a year ago) we decided to write a book

Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait So You Want To Be A Writer book.

We are thrilled to bring this book to our podcast audience, our writing community and to new and aspiring writers everywhere. It will be available through a range of online booksellers, here and overseas, so stay tuned for more details.

If you’d like to read more about So You Want To Be A Writer the book, or register your details to receive notice as soon as the book is on sale, you’ll find all the details here.

Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here.

My top 10 posts for writers (2018 edition)

My top 10 posts for writers (2018 edition)

top 10 posts for writers (2018) | allisontait.comI can’t believe it’s that time of the year again! I’m taking a break from the online world for a few weeks at the end of this week, so I thought I’d start sharing some of my ‘new year’ posts early, starting with this one.

I’m always fascinated to see which of my ‘writing’ posts resonate the most each year, and this year is no different. So here they are, in descending order from 10-1, the 10 most popular posts about writing on this site in 2018. (Click the title to see the full post)

The one superpower that all published writers have

Industry Insider: How do you know when a story is finished?

Ask the writer: How to build your author platform

Starting Out #3: Do you need to do a course to be a writer?

6 skills you need to make it as a copywriter

Writing for kids: How to create remarkable characters

Writing for kids: 10 top writing tips from bestselling author Jacqueline Harvey

My top 3 tips from nine years of author blogging

Industry Insider: How to tell when your writing is ‘good enough’

10 things I’ve learnt from writing my debut novel 

Want more? You’ll find all of my posts about writing here.

Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m the author of two epic adventure series for kids 9+, and you can find out more about me here. Click the images below to discover more about my books.

The Ateban Cipher adventure series for kids 9-12 is out now!

Be prepared for anything: the inside story on author talks

Be prepared for anything: the inside story on author talks

The inside story on author talksThe life of a children’s author is a funny one. On one hand, we sit alone in our offices, talking to no-one, revelling in isolated splendour. And then term three of the school year rolls around, and suddenly we emerge, blinking, into the light, and into the wonderful chaos that is author talks and Book Week (which now seems to extend for about three months).

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been talking. And talking. And talking. To thousands of kids. After a week of Book Week school sessions in Sydney, which looked (in part) like this…

allison tait speaker in schools | allisontait.com

 

 

 

 

 

I rolled into a week that included a school literary festival, which looked like this…

David Legge, Belinda Murrell, Louise Park and A. L. Tait | allisontait.com

With David Legge, Belinda Murrell and Louise Park.

A. L. Tait author talk Book Week 2018 | allisontait.com

Can you spot me?

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then straight into the amazing Word Play program at Brisbane Writers’ Festival, which looked like this…

A. L. Tait 'Find Your Writing Superpower' Brisbane Writers' Festival 2018 | allisontait.com

Full house for ‘Find Your Writing Superpower’ presentation.

Allison Rushby, Megan Daley, Allison Tait @ Brisbane Writers Festival 2018 | allisontait.com

With Allison Rushby and Megan Daley: The Your Kids’ Next Read Team at BWF

A. L. Tait Online Literature Festival Brisbane Writers' Festival | allisontait.com

My first webinar presentation as part of the Online Literature Festival at BWF

A. L. Tait Brisbane Writers' Festival | allisontait.com

The weirdness of seeing your face on a wall…

BWF Top 10 bestseller bookshelf | allisontait.com

The excitement of The Mapmaker Chronicles being in the Festival Top 10 (for a minute)…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the process of all this, I lost my voice, caught up with author friends, met new author friends, and remembered the reason

why we all do this in the first place – because kids are enthusiastic and creative and incredibly entertaining and it is an absolute honour to write a book that a 10 year old will tell you is ‘the best book ever’.

I also answered questions. Lots and lots of questions. And I am here to tell you that if I had to give an aspiring children’s author any advice about author talks and presenting to kids it would be this:

Be prepared for anything.

When you get to the Q&A section of your author talk or presentation, and you are looking out at a sea of waving hands, all desperate to find out… something… brace yourself.

Questions you are likely to be asked include, but are not limited to:

How much do you get paid? (Be ready with a short, succinct answer to this)

Where do you get your ideas?

How long does it take you to write a book?

Did you draw the picture on the cover of your book?

What’s your favourite book?

Who was your favourite author as a child?

When did you know you were going to be an author?

When did you write your first book? (I’ve always wished I could answer ‘when I was six’ like some of my author friends, but this is not me…)

But then there are the other questions…

Over the course of three weeks, I was asked everything from ‘what colour is your toothbrush?’ to ‘does your dog ever get tired of walking?’ and ‘do you have any time to spend with your own children?’. Pulling out a favourite question wasn’t easy, but in the end, I think this one wins:

Tips for author talks | allisontait.com

To show just how ready you need to be, I asked some of Australia’s favourite children’s authors to give me their favourite question from their Book Week presentations this year…

‘Do you sleep with your books under your pillow in case of burglars?’ – R.E. Devine, Jack McCool series

‘Can I have your jacket? / How was your weekend? / Can you dab? / Do you play Fortnite?’ – Mick Elliot, The Turners series 

‘Does your mother ever steal your story ideas?’ – Allison Rushby, The Mulberry Tree

‘How do you have blonde hair?’ – Jacqueline Harvey, Kensy and Max series

‘When you were at school did you use a pen or a quill?’ – Catherine Pelosi, Quark’s Academy

‘Can you take your beanie off?’ – Matt Stanton, Funny Kid series

‘What do you want more than anything else?  – Zanni Louise, Errol

And now I’m heading back into my quiet study for a few weeks, before my next appearance at Burdekin Readers’ and Writers’ Festival in October.

It’s time to get some writing done.

Are you new here? Welcome! You can find out all about me here, and all about my books here. If you’re interested in talking to me about presenting at your school or event, go here. And if you’re keen to write your own book, you’ll find a heap of posts about writing here, as well as information about my courses, and you can listen to my podcast here.

The first-ever Shoalhaven Readers’ & Writers’ Festival wraps up

The first-ever Shoalhaven Readers’ & Writers’ Festival wraps up

If you’ve been reading my blog, or listening to my podcast, for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been heavily involved over the past six months or so in organising the inaugural Shoalhaven Readers’ & Writers’ Festival. Well, the event took place on Saturday (4 August) and I’m excited (and, yes, relieved) to say, it was, by all accounts, a roaring success.

Huzzah!

I thought I’d share some images and impressions of the day, for me as much as you!

As the director of the children’s program, I was thrilled to see audiences turn out for terrific sessions by Tim Harris and the incredibly popular Jackie French. (Even Wombat from The Block came along to meet Jackie French!)

Tim Harris in action.

wombat and jackie french srwf | allisontait.com

Even Wombat from The Block came to meet Jackie French!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An unexpected highlight for me of the children’s program was the storytime session in the morning, where the Nowra Library’s Children’s and Youth specialist librarian Carla De Castri gave as splendid a storytelling performance as I’ve seen anywhere. My school visit on the Friday morning, part of the festival, also went really well!

shoalhaven readers and writers festival stage by so and so events nowra | allisontait.com

The stage is set for the Shoalhaven Readers’ & Writers’ Festival 2018.

Arnold the vintage coffee van outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The adult program was held in the beautiful old School Of Arts building in Nowra, with staging by the team from So & So Events setting up a fabulous ‘literary salon’ vibe right from the beginning.

Who could resist a signing room like this?

As an author, I was delighted by the gold velvet curtains that created an air of glamorous mystery for the signing room.

Highlights from the adult program included a thoughtful conversation between Walkley Award-winning journalist and non-fiction author Mark Whittaker and Catherine McKinnon, shortlisted for this year’s Miles Franklin award for her novel Storyland; a lively panel on the role of place in historical fiction, featuring Jackie French and Eleanor Limprecht; and an entertaining discussion on the everlasting appeal of genre fiction, starring Dianne Blacklock and Alan Baxter (both of whom also conducted popular workshops for writers).

They all look at home on couch, don’t they?

catherine mckinnon and mark whittaker at shoalhaven writers festival | allisontait.com

Mark Whittaker and Catherine McKinnon

eleanor limprecht at shoalhaven writers festival 2018

Eleanor Limprecht

genre fiction shoalhaven writers festival

Kathy Sharpe, Dianne Blacklock and Alan Baxter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allison Tait and Melina Marchetta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The highlight of my day was interviewing the wonderful Melina Marchetta, author of  YA classics Looking For Alibrandi, On The Jellicoe Road and Saving Francesca, as well as a host of other titles (her crime novel Tell The Truth, Shame The Devil is a great read!). We snuggled into the comfy seating and just got right into it. I have lined her up for a podcast interview early next year when her new novel, The Place On Dalhousie, comes out.

All in all, it was a terrific day and being part of the organising team for an event like this really opens your eyes to the work involved. As an author, literary festivals of all kinds are invaluable for a host of reasons, from sharing ideas to lifting your profile, meeting readers to finding new writers to read, and allowing you to connect face-to-face with the huge community of people out there who love books and words as much as you do.

So I tip my hat to every volunteer out there who works hard to ensure that Australia’s wonderful tradition of readers’ and writers’ festivals not only continues, but flourishes.

Thank you!

Pin It on Pinterest