So it seems guest blogging is a popular pastime among authors. After last Thursday’s guest post by writer, raconteur and man-about-town Steve Vera, I’ve gotten interest from other authors about guest blogging here. Since Steve’s post generated some increased traffic for both him and I, let it be known that I will offer a regular series of guest posts for selected authors. Cue the fanfare.
I consider this a win-win. With my own blog subscribers and Twitter followers, along with my auto-linking elsewhere, I can potentially reach quite a large number of people with each post. So it’s good for you. And you’ll be pointing your fans and followers toward my site, where they will come face to face with my writing as well. So it’s good for me.
That means, of course, I need to figure out how to do this. You know, rules and stuff. Damn.
For now, and until I can come up with something better, I’m simply going to have each guest answer one question:
“What makes YOUR book so gosh-darn special, anyway?”
That’s exactly the question I want you to address if you want to guest blog here (though you don’t need to actually reiterate the question in your post.) There’s a lot of urban fantasy, steampunk, hard SF, military SF, epic fantasy, etc. What sets your work apart from everything else on the shelf?
Maybe it’s setting, or character, or plot. Maybe you’re trying something new stylistically. Maybe you have fresh characters, or you’re subverting genre tropes. Whatever it is, make your case. Fans’ funds are fickle and finite, sadly, so your job is to convince them that your book will give them something different, and interesting and fun. Please, however, when writing your guest blog, try not to give a all-too-thorough recap of your book. This is a thought piece, not a synopsis or sales copy.
Now, with the theme out of the way, I need a process and some criteria.
Let’s start with criteria. As much as I would like to, I’m not going to cover-to-cover read every book by every author who might want to borrow my digital real estate. So I’m going to need some basic quality assurances. For starters:
- You’re going to need to be published somewhere other than self-publishing or vanity press. At some point along the space-time continuum, you’ve been published by a respected outlet of some kind or another that paid or will pay you real cash money. It can be a short story in a good SF/F literary magazine, it could be an e-book-only press (that isn’t in trouble with SFWA or a similar body), or it can be a traditional publishing house like mine. You can promote a self-published work here, so long as a professional publisher at some point in the past paid you for your writing. The SFWA qualifying list is a good place to start, but I promise to be a bit more flexible than they are. (For example, Steve’s publisher, Carina Press, isn’t on the SFWA list, but I’m OK with them.)
- The work should be somewhat relevant. I have broad tastes in literature, and I’m willing to showcase different genres on here. That said, I’m a science-fiction/fantasy writer, and my primary readers are most likely SF/F fans. So maybe your horror novel, political thriller or YA book might have a thread that might interest my readers. Your straight-up Harlequin-esque romance might not, however. Give it a shot, but I’m the final arbiter, and honestly, it might feel arbitrary. Think about my audience before you ask.
- Nothing gratuitous, please. Not to be a prude, but if you’re writing erotica or splatter-gore, that’s just not for me, and I’ll have to decline your request. My kid’s gonna read this blog some day. Likewise, when you do submit something, let’s keep it PG-13.
“But wait!” you say. “I’m only self publishing because I don’t believe in the current industry system! You’re discriminating against me, capitalist swine!” Or, perhaps: “You never know what might resonate with readers, you illiterate philistine!” Or: “You’re a prude! You suck!”
You know what? I’m OK with all that criticism. My blog, my rules. Nothing’s stopping you from opening up your own blog and, if you like, turning ME down if I should ever ask to guest on your blog. I need some criteria to keep life sane, and I’m sorry if you fall outside it, but I’m gonna stick to my guns here.
Now, finally, we get to process. Here’s how you go about potentially getting a guest spot, the steps for which I’m gratefully ripping off from John Scalzi. Drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following:
- A subject line that says “GUEST POST REQUEST: [your name], [title of work you want to promote], [release date].”
- An explanation of who you are and how you fit the above criteria. If you are indeed promoting a self-published title, I’m going to need proof that you’ve been professionally published in the past. We’re talking actual working Web links, at a minimum. If I investigate and find that your short story wasn’t a paid gig, I will be peevish and put out over it all.
- A link to the work you wish to promote, whether it’s preorder or already for sale. If it’s so early in your process that your preorder links aren’t up yet, time to rethink your marketing and check back with me much later on. Also, let me know if there’s a specific date that would be nice for you.
- A hint as to what, indeed, makes your work so gosh-darn special.
That’s it. If you don’t hear back in two weeks, drop me another line. But if you send me multiple badgering emails, that will be immensely not-good for your chances.
To start, I’m going to do a guest post once or twice a month, depending on demand, and will try to aim for dates that coincide with whatever timing you desire. If it picks up, I may do more. If there’s little demand, it could simply be a fun occasional thing. If a bunch of people fail to read this, ask for guest space, and get angry when I turn them down, this may not last long at all. We’ll see.
So there you go. Go for it.