Monday 22 May 2017
The Trials Of An Indie Author: Guest Blogs, Interviews & Everything Else
GUEST BLOGS, INTERVIEWS AND EVERYTHING ELSE
So one thing I have learned over my years as an indie author is that it never stops. There is always something more to do, and today I'm going to be talking about guest blogs and interviews and everything else that will help get you exposure, make connections and all that jazz. One thing I learned early on when I started my blog was that people want content, and sometimes that content shouldn't be from you. They like the variety of hearing from similar authors, and discovering new books and blogs. And although it took me a while to get a proper flow started, I think I'm there now.
So, how do you get that content? I mean it has to work both ways right? Other people are going to be wanting your content for their blog and you're going to be wanting theirs for yours. The problem is it's not easy to get started with that. When you've just set up a blog, whether you have books already published or not, you're now an unknown. If you do have connections or friends who are also authors in either the same genre or style of writing as you, then yay! You can get started. But for the rest of us, we have to make those connections and find a way to both bring traffic to your blog, and find people whose content is suitable. There are a few tips I can share with you and hopefully they'll be helpful for you.
#1 - KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
This is the most important thing I could say. If you don't know who you're reaching out to, then how do you start to get the right kind of content? Once you know who is reading your blog, whether they be readers of your genre or fellow authors looking for advice, you need to be sure that your posts are right for that. It will take a while for you to get a good idea on who your readers are, and it may be that you have to try a few different things before you find that sweet spot. But when you know, start looking for other authors, readers, bloggers, and reach out to them for both guest blogs and interviews. That way when your post their pieces, it's not going out to people who have no wish to read about it.
#2 - BE CONSISTENT WITH POSTING
Now I fell into this trap for a long time. I started my blog in 2012 and for the first year, as a newbie I only posted about my books. Big mistake. My second mistake was that when I did start posting advice pieces and the like, I wasn't consistent about when they'd be on my blog. If you need to set a schedule, then do so. But stick to it. Unless there's an emergency that prevents you from posting, or you go on holiday, then make sure that if you say you will post new content every Monday and Friday, that you actually do post it then. I found that choosing Mondays for advice pieces and Friday for guest blogs, reviews and interviews, worked really well with my own schedule, but you need to find one that works for you.
#3 - VARY YOUR POSTS
Again, I fell into this trap too. I didn't post anything for the first year except about sales and new sites having my work. While you should make sure you have information about your books and where to buy them, you should also have other posts too. If you're gonna talk about your books, leave it to sales and release days, along with cover reveals if you choose to do that. You also want to be sure that the people you choose to guest blog are going to be talking about different kinds of things. It's no good having one guest blogger do a post about writer's block if the next week someone else does a similar post. That's only going to annoy and/or bore your readers and you don't want that.
#4 - GENRES MATTER
If you're, like me, a young adult author, then it's gonna make a lot more sense for you to be having guest bloggers who are also young adult authors. If you're a crime writer, the same applies. So long as there is some cross over - like I have YA fantasy interviews coming up and I don't write fantasy, but I do write young adult - then it should be okay. You want someone who is going to appeal to your audience and is also going to bring readers to your blog who might also enjoy your work. It's all about making sure that both your readers and theirs are gonna be happy with the content.
And finally, #5 - RECIPROCATE OFTEN
I can't stress this enough. If you're asking people to host you on their blog, then it should go both ways. Even if it's later down the road, you should be planning for them to have a spot on yours. Now this doesn't always work. Sometimes while the genres do cross over, it's just not a good idea. I've hosted crime and mystery adult authors, and while their readers might like those elements in my work, they will probably not enjoy the fact that they're young adult books. However, that's not always the case and it is possible that the majority of the time, it should go both ways.
So those are my tips on guest blogs and interviews and everything in-between. It's something that you'll find you come across often in both the indie world and in general. I am always getting emails asking me to help with promotion from both indie and traditionally published authors. It's all about the exposure and if you work well with others, then you'll find that they are just as happy to help you, as you are to help them. Good luck and keep going!
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