Many people will tell you that creating a blog is a great way to promote yourself and your works. And regular blogging is great for some authors, especially for those with books about non-fiction topics such as dieting, environment or health, in which plenty is going on and their opinions may be valuable.
But blogging for writers of fiction seems less useful. You will mostly attract only those who already know about you and your stories. Besides, after writing about your books, what’s a novelist supposed to blog about? Writing techniques? Writing techniques are suitable for websites and blogs devoted to writing – but you want your blogs to attract potential readers, not just your fellow writers.
One solution is guest blogging: writing pieces for websites and blogs run by others.
Some advantages to guest blogging:
- A ready-made audience. If you create your own blog, you’re going to have to depend on getting your friends and admirers to visit it and promote it. By contributing to someone else’s blog, you’re promoting to that person’s audience. A whole bunch of different people will be exposed to your name.
- Stamp of approval. If you create your own blog to promote your own works, you’re blowing your own horn and many will ignore you. But by blogging for another site, you have already been accepted by someone else, and not just anyone else, but by someone with a blog.
- Less work. If you guest blog, you don’t have to update regularly, which means you have more time for writing fiction. You also don’t have to worry about the technical aspects; someone else is in charge of web design. Of course you can make suggestions or attach photos if you have them.
- Networking. You are networking, not just with the readers and subscribers of the site, but with the site owners. They may be useful contacts, either now or in the future.
How to guest blog:
- Target some sites. How do you find them? You should look for those that complement what you are writing. For example, my fiction falls into two main categories, mysteries based on Jane Austen’s books and novels set in Greek’s Bronze Age. So I write occasional pieces for a site devoted to Jane Austen and have been reviewing the TV series Rome to complement the Greek-based novels. Study your own stories and determine what aspects would give you the best target market. Then start searching until you find a promising site.
- Study your target blog. Some actively solicit guest posts; at others you may need to make a suggestion. Try to understand what the blog’s main goal is; you want to align your own goals, at least those in your post, to support the host blogger’s. Be mindful of the politics, the style, and the length of articles. Then you can either send an article, one or more suggestions, or both.
- Participate and promote. If your guest blog is accepted, participate in comments, “like” it in whatever way you can, and link to it at your website or wherever else that is relevant. Remember the host blogger wants to profit from your contacts, probably as much as you want to profit from hers.
- Personal details. Make sure to include your name, a link to your works and a short author bio that is designed for the target audience of the website. A good picture can also help.
- Be pleasant and professional. Even if the other blogger says no at first – which often has nada to do with you – you may establish a contact that proves useful later. If you do get to guest blog, thank the website owner, especially if something good comes out of your experience. For example, if you sell some novels as a result of the post, let the host blogger know.
Don’t expect too much from a single blog. Building a market takes time, effort, and luck. And if you still want to create your own blog, go for it!