Guest Blogging and Guest Hosting

Marketing Your Debut Novel Part IV

I’ve been doing a series on marketing your debut novel. You can find Part I, Part II and Part III here by clicking the links.

Briefly, Part I focused on growing your tribe/social media, Part II was about the comparable books section of your book proposal, and Part III was about the audience section of the book proposal. These all focused on one particular area of the writer’s life–the pre-contract phase.

Let’s depart that phase and begin concentrating on the next phase– the contract submission phase. I’m going to define this part of the writer’s life as the time you or your agent are submitting your book proposal but haven’t yet signed a contract.

You may think…there’s marketing to be done during this phase? Yes, absolutely. For me, this phase lasted from December 2009 to April 2011–almost 18 months! Definitely too much time to be sitting idle.

One thing you can be doing during this phase is hosting other authors/experts on your blog and guest blogging on others’ blogs that support your brand. This will lend to your credibility and should also help internet search engines highlight sites with your name. The more sites, the more opportunities for people to find you and the more exposure you have to people who may not have discovered you yet.

My primary blog, Redwood’s Medical Edge, deals with writing medically authentic fiction. This supports my overall suspense brand because I discuss ways to injure, maim, and kill fictional characters.

To help grow my blog and support my brand (therefore exposing Proof to more potential buyers), I began looking for opportunities to guest blog and looked for other authors to host.

For example, I wrote pieces for other blogs that dealt with strategies an author could use for medical research, common medical mistakes in fiction writing, and even offered real medical advice to parents over at Christian Mama’s Guide. Erin is a non-fiction author who published a guide on having a baby and although Erin’s blog is not a suspense blog at all, my guest blogging allowed me an opportunity to reach possible new readers and lent her blog credibility by having an expert post. A true win/win situation.

I also hosted authors like Richard Mabry, CJ Lyons, and Candace Calvert. I hoped to drive their readers, whose fiction is similar to mine, to my blog to learn more about me and possibly become future buyers of my fiction.

Though this isn’t specific to guest blogging/hosting, I did follow many on Twitter who mentioned they were authors. I sent one direct message to them telling them about my blog. From that, I’ve gotten several additional authors to guest blog for me. In return for guest blogging, I highlight them, their books, and their internet presence.

Some people argue that my strategy, primarily focusing on authors as my initial tribe, will not boost sales in the end. We’ll have to see if what they say is true but I know I’m an author and an avid book fan and have bought many more books because I’ve built relationships with these authors and grown to love them as friends.

Next post in this series, we’ll go over how to be a generous blog host and good guest blogger.

How about you? What are some strategies you’ve used to gain readership by hosting guests on your blog and/or guest blogging other places?

Surviving the Summer and Social Media

Let’s talk about how hard it is to get things done right now. Ugh!! Personally, I have been battling getting things done because I am so busy with summer activities, or the heat makes me lethargic (and it’s been a HOT one). For those of you writers who are also parents, your life is especially tricky because the kids are out of school. I just got back from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and I am late with this post. Summer can dish out some unexpected adventures. Remember to be prepared. Learn from me, and I am sorry to those who are a victim of my summer.

Summer in Pine Ridge
photo by Amanda Jensen Photography

I decided to make a list of my best tricks for making summer social media survivable.

First.

Schedule whatever you can ahead of time. Block off time to work for a few hours on social media, and do yourself a favor if you are living in Denver: find the nearest icebox with Wi-Fi and work there. Seriously, take time out and work in a isolated place where you can knock a BUNCH of work out.

Schedule your Facebook posts. Did you notice that with the latest update you can schedule and date your posts? It’s kind of the coolest thing ever!

Second.

GUEST BLOG!! Ask people to blog for you, and you should extend the same courtesy to others. This is the best way to skip a little and give a little. The best thing about guest blogging is that you are able to cross-market with some of your author friends/co-conspirators.

Third.

Take advantage of being outside.  You can take some epic pictures with Instagram and use them in your future blog posts.  Be creative and take trips that could be relative to your blogs.  Strategize.  (If you missed my blog about how to use Instagram, find it here.)

Summer in Telluride

Fourth.

Remember that people are not on Social Media quite as much in the summer.  The times that trend are a little bit different depending on your target audience.  More people are on later at night.  Try some test posts to see what time you are getting the best feed back.

Fifth.

Make sure you have all your accounts linked.  Tools like this plug-in make things easier. Link your Twitter to Facebook and your blog to both.

I hope you all survive the heat and have many summer adventures the next month.

What is your best trick to survive the summer? What makes social media easier when you are busy?