Welcome to day 19 of the Basics of Author Online Presence Challenge. We’re almost done with #AuthorOPChal. If you’re just joining us, catch up on tasks here.
The point of your author online presence is to reach out to your target audience (your thousands of online followers, book buyers and adoring fans around the world) and to connect with other writers, experts, editors, publishers, agents, book sellers, librarians, etc.
How do you do that, exactly? Through guest posts and interviews.
The Value of Guest Posts and Interviews
You want to be interviewed when your book comes out (blog tours are very popular among writers and readers). So how do you make sure you get interviewed when the time comes? You join writer groups and take part in blog hops (like I mentioned with task 15) and you feature other writers on your blog (whether interview, guest post or book blast). Pay it forward and you’ll be happy with the results.
You can also contact an expert for an interview post. Or another writer to share their experience (let’s say about a specific writing platform you want to try out). The possibilities are endless. The point is that you’ll establish your expertise with interviews (which will make it more likely that other writers will agree to be interviewed by you, etc.).
How to contact someone for an interview:
- Find an expert for the topic you want to cover.
- Locate their email. Or, more likely, DM them your request on Twitter (remember to send them a tweet telling them that you’ve sent them a direct message). Note: this works best if you’ve already established a relationship with them. See task 8. Otherwise, use the contact form on their blog. (Told you it’s a good idea to have a contact form on your blog.)
- In the email/DM/contact form, ask them if they’ll be interested in an interview on your blog (insert blog’s URL) on (date the interview will be live) about (topic). Include why you’re asking them. If they say yes, send the questions. If they decline, respond with “Thank you for considering my request. Maybe another time.”. Always be polite.
How to handle the email interview:
- Start the interview with a question pertaining to the topic and the person being interviewed.
- Keep the interview short (10 questions or fewer). You don’t want to overwhelm the expert or your readers.
- Don’t get too personal. Asking what their animal avatar would be is fine. Asking them what they wear when they write isn’t.
- Request that they add their author photo, author bio and social media links. It seems obvious, but not everyone sends this along automatically. This will make the interview worth the expert’s time (everyone likes a bit of free promotion).
Once the interview is live, send the specific URL to the expert via whatever the two of you agreed upon (I like to +mention them on Google+) so they can share it with their tribe. Remember to share this interview on all of your social media networks.
There are several blogs that allow guest posts. The important thing to remember: follow their guidelines.
Don’t pitch a post about cars to a blog about cats. Actually read the blog before pitching a guest post.
Some blogs only accept guest posts from established (read: lots of followers) bloggers. Others accept posts from those who have something to meaningful to add to the conversation.
For a full guide on how to pitch a guest post for another blog, check out “Guest Blogging – the Ultimate Guide.”
Here’s a couple of quick tips to keep in mind when pitching a blog post:
- Let the blogger know that you’re familiar with the blog. Something like “I really enjoy the writing tips you’ve been sharing” and something specific like “especially the one about writing flash fiction” should be sufficient. It shows that you’re not a spammer or, worse, someone who just wants to put their blog post about cats driving cars everywhere.
- Propose your ideas. Write a short paragraph explaining each idea (max. 3) you’d like to write about on their blog. Be specific without going into minute detail. If the blogger is interested, they’ll ask for more information.
- Mention if you’ve had success with this type of blog post or if you have previous experience writing guest posts (add the relevant URLs – people like to check claims).
- Include your name, email address, blog URL, that short author bio from day 2 and your social media networks (if it’s important to your pitch).
When your pitch is accepted:
- Write an amazing post. This is your time to shine, to show people what you’re capable of. You are now writing for a new audience, so hook them so they’ll read more of your stuff on your blog.
- Turn your post in on deadline. Most every blog has a deadline for a guest post – they have editorial calendars too, remember. Don’t make them wait for your post, or worse, send something sub-standard. This is your chance to impress the other blogger and forge a connection. Make a good impression.
- Promote your guest post every chance you get. Remember task 17? Use your skills to make sure everyone knows about this opportunity you’ve been granted.
Get pitching! Don’t undervalue what guest posts and interviews can do for your online presence: they bring your writing in front of a new audience that might become your greatest fans.
And if you’re rejected it isn’t the end of the world. Try and try again. What rejection means is this: you’re getting out there. And that’s the right thing to do.
Have you sent a pitch for a guest blog post? Did you try and interview someone for your blog? If a total stranger is too scary for you, why not interview one of the writers from Writer to Writers? Leave your request (blog URL, topic of interview, and name of who you’d like to interview) in the comments, and we’ll get back to you. Alternatively, use this email address firstname.lastname@example.org and pitch your interview like showed above. Share your experience in the comments. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Author: Ronel Janse van Vuuren
Ronel writes dark fantasy filled with mythology and folklore, some of which can be read on Wattpad and on her blog Ronel the Mythmaker. When not leading her Rottweiler pack or arguing with her characters, she’s writing award-winning fiction.