Blogging is an essential part of book marketing. It’s always a bit mystifying to hear authors say, “I don’t know what to blog.” You’re a writer! It’s part of the job. If readers like the way you put together a post, they’ll be more likely to check out your book.
However, blogging can also feel like writing into the wilderness, especially if your site gets scant traffic, which is usually the case for new writer’s sites. If your blog (or book) is hurting for viewers, a good practice is to post on a blog with a built-in audience.
CreativIndie has this to say about guest posting.
Guest posting is a really great way to do book marketing. It’s a great way to build your author platform. It’s a great way to cement your role as a trusted expert (as long as you write helpful articles). But if you’re going to spend time doing it, post on a clean, nice looking site with high PR, so that it will get more traffic and raise your credibility.
Ideally, you want to look for opportunities to guest post on the type of blogs your ideal readers are reading.
Putting articles out on other high PR blogs will also help your own website rank well (because you’ll get a bunch of high PR backlinks pointing towards your site, which makes Google trust you more).
However, he also links to this piece by Google guru Matt Cutts, in which he says:
So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.
So which is it? I’m sure that Cutts paragraph is going to scare people away, but he’s writing about truly terrible articles that aren’t about a site’s particular niche. A blog post about cars on a site about publishing is going to do nothing, for example. In the early days of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) people posted on places like Ezine Articles to help a site rank higher, which worked for a time, until the Panda update rendered content aggregators like that mostly useless. Those sites weren’t about generating traffic, or interest, but “link juice” that would help your site rank higher in Google searches.
Guest posting on a writing site is a different process, as it’s about relationship-building, not just trying to make your site rank higher (though there is definitely still some value to that). The blogosphere is alive and well, so getting a post on a well-trafficked and respected site in your niche can only help drive traffic to your site, social media accounts, and books. It’s not just about gaming Google, it’s about establishing yourself as a writer, and connecting with other writers and readers.
Here are some good tips about putting together a guest post (and a guest post at that!):
Don’t reuse content from your existing blog, and don’t cut corners. The post should be longform (1000+ words) unless otherwise specified by your host.
At the bottom of your post, write your author byline. The byline should be short (eighty words or less) and include a strong call to action. It’s preferable to link directly to your Amazon book page, as long as it makes sense with your blog post topic.
If you don’t want to send people to Amazon (or your book hasn’t been published yet), include a link to a simple landing page on your site where the reader can sign up for a free incentive and join your mailing list.
When it comes to indie publishing, it’s a pretty safe bet that indie publishing sites are in your niche, so you’ll be reaching a relevant viewership. Many authors may be open to guest blogging as well. This is helpful if they’ve got a built-in fanbase, or write in a similar genre. Even if you’re both starting out, it can still be helpful, as reaching a small number of new fans is better than reaching the same ones again and again.
I’ve limited this to general writing/book industry sites, but there are no doubt hundreds of blogs in specific genre niches that will accept posts. Tip: if you’re looking for a genre-specific place to submit a guest post, do a google search for the genre and “guest post,” as many blogs put Guest Post right in the title: such as a search for “science fiction” “guest post” with quotes around the terms.
Here are fifteen places to get started right away.
- Self-Publishing Review – Of course! All members of the site have the ability to writer for the site.
- Jane Friedman.com – Very competitive, and more likely to be selected if you’re well known or write a very comprehensive post (for example: the tips on guest posting linked above).
- The Creative Penn – She’s recently opened up submissions again after closing it down for quite some time, and hers is a very high-profile site in the self-publishing niche, so put your best pitch forward.
- The Book Designer – A great resource. Joel Friedlander also accepts submissions to the Carnival of Indies.
- The Independent Publishing Magazine – Mick Rooney is one of the best self-publishing minds online, and he’s very open to guest posts on his site.
- Indies Unlimited – Great site, great platform.
- The Digital Reader – Much more tech/industry driven than a book blog, but also asks for “An insider’s take on issues related to traditional publishing, self-publishing.”
- Rocking Self-Publishing – Pretty stringent submission requirements – check the link.
- Teleread: From the linked page: This “write for us” invitation is only for nonmarketers, not “content writers” seeking to promote products. Contact us only if you’re a normal mortal with helpful tips or opinions to share on e-books, libraries or related topics.
- Inkspokes – A nice site with a lot of useful information, which isn’t hugely on the radar in the self-publishing community (which might be an argument against seeking them out, but they may be more open to submissions than a very popular blog).
- Book Hub (formerly U Self-Publish) – Not hugely active, but likely easier to get a post accepted.
- Self-Publishing Advice – Must be a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, so not free to submit.
- Write to Done – A writing-centric blog, so submit blogs about editing, good writing practices, and so on, rather than posts about genre or marketing (though there are exceptions).
- Make a Living Writing – Carol Tice pays $75 for a guest post, so this is very competitive. As the name of the blog suggests, your best bet is to submit a post if you’ve, well, made a living writing in some way – not necessarily just with books, but other types of freelance work.
- The Write Practice – Another venue to talk about the how-to’s of writing, with an interactive aspect to the post: What makes The Write Practice unique is that after every post, we give our readers a chance to practice what they just learned for fifteen minutes. Then, they post their practice right in the comments section where they can get feedback from other writers.
Another option is to sign up for a book tour. Most book tour hosts include guest posts as part of the tour, and tour hosts have relationships with many different bloggers so you won’t need to contact them one by one. For book tours, guest posts are more quirky. So instead of “How I sold 1000 books on Amazon,” it’s, “What’s your favorite magic power?” (or something like that).
This isn’t a bad idea for your own blog as well, as it shows off your creativity, and prospective readers don’t care a whole lot about “How to Select Keywords on Amazon,” and the like (though the above sites may, and so will their readers).
Here’s our list of the top book tour services.
File all of this under another reason that self-publishing can (and should) be a full-time job. It’s not just about uploading a book and hitting “publish.” It’s about hitting “publish” again and again, whether it’s a new book, or a new post.