This past Friday, I hosted my first guest blogger, Sunny Frazier. How did she get the gig? Simple – she sent me an e-mail attachment with an engaging essay titled “Am I A Writer?” I read it, liked it, and voila – my first guest. I’ve heard from other potential guests as well, but Sunny was the first to send me a post that was ready to cut and paste.
All of a sudden, I have more empathy for agents and editors who have to handle queries. I’ve received several e-mails from people saying they’d like to be guests on my blog. Sometimes they include the name of a book they’ve written, sometimes not. This tells me next to nothing. Often they ask what I’d like them to write about. Damned if I know – if I did, I’d write it myself! If they would read my blog, react to it, and then send me something they think would be a good fit, I’d be a lot more likely to invite them as guests. If I have to send them individualized e-mails explaining what to do and offering suggested topics, their odds diminish radically.
Gosh, I’m sounding grouchy – please don’t take it personally, anyone. Today I’d planned to post some guidelines for guest bloggers, but I’ve realized I have more questions than answers. Here are some of them:
How do you decide whom to invite as a guest blogger? How would you rank the following in order of importance?
Reputation and/or quality of their published books?
Quality and/or entertainment value of the writing on their blogs?
Number of stats they get on their blogs?
Relevance of the genre they write in?
Reciprocity – the fact that they’ve been a faithful visitor to your blog?
What if someone sends you a post you consider mediocre or worse? Do you publish it anyway? Do you think the quality of your guests will influence people not to revisit your blog?
What if someone sends you a review copy and you really dislike it?
Do you encourage guests to submit posts that consist primarily of promoting their own books?
Are you willing to run posts people have already published elsewhere?
How much do you edit and/or cut your guests’ posts?
How much should you expect them to promote their visit to your blog? Where would you like them to promote it, and when should they start?
What about comments? Should they visit on the day of their posting to reply to peoples’ comments?
For that matter, how important is it for the blog host to reply to comments in general? I know it’s common courtesy, but does anyone really expect those comments about comments? (This is a bit off-topic, but it’s something I’ve been wondering about.)
Is there something else I’ve forgotten that I should be asking about?
There, that’s 20 questions, more or less. I was going to number them so that people could comment by the number, but that would mess up the formatting, so I won’t be that compulsive. Nevertheless, I hope you’ll respond by commenting on those questions that may strike your fancy, or by contributing new questions of your own. Once I’ve sifted through all the answers, maybe I’ll be ready to write up my guidelines for guest bloggers. Oh, and I still haven’t decided on a guest for Friday. If you send me an essay of 400 to 600 words ASAP, maybe you can be the chosen one! Send them to me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for my next post, when I’ll revert to my 60’s nostalgia thread and talk about my close encounters with Jimi Hendrix and other superstars (SPOILER ALERT: don’t get your hopes up – the encounters weren’t all THAT close!)