Writing guest posts for blogs is a great way to help new readers find you and promote yourself and your books for free. Writing for blogs can help grow your fan base and can help you connect with writing communities. There are scores of book, literary, and industry blogs out there, many of which accept guest content. But finding a blog whose audience mirrors your own and successfully pitching articles can be time-consuming and frustrating.
To make things easier, we’re sharing tips on how to successfully guest write for blogs. This post includes suggestions for finding the right blog to pitch to, deciding what to write about, forming a strong pitch, and plugging yourself in the post.
1. Identify which blogs reach your target audience
Start by finding blogs whose audiences match your desired audience. You can find blogs that focus on your genre(s), area of expertise, or audience’s demographic, and blogs that produce content covering a wider range of genres and categories.
Choosing a blog or outlet that promotes your genre is always a great way to begin. Odds are, if the blog owner or editor already likes work within that genre, they’ll take the time to look at your book, too. In addition, it’s never a bad idea to do your research. – Ashley Johnson, She Reads
To find some blogs that are relevant to you, use a search engine, check to see if any authors or bookstagrammers who cover genres relevant to you have a blog, and explore some of the many online book blog directories. Start a list of a few book blogs that fit your work. Here are a few directories to help you start:
- Book Blogger List
- Book Reviewer Yellow Pages
- “Book Bloggers on Instagram”
- Book Blogger Listing https://bookbloggerlisting.blogspot.com/
- “Top 50 Book Blogs”
(If you’re offering publishing services or selling books to authors or other members of the publishing industry, try a blog geared toward a professional audience rather than a consumer audience, such as the BookBub Partners Blog.)
2. Familiarize yourself with their content, audience, and style
Before pitching content, it’s important to familiarize yourself with a blog’s content types, its audience, and its style. Being familiar with its content and audience can help you decide if the blog is a smart fit for you, determine what type of post would be useful for them, and write a more thoughtful and tailored pitch. Being familiar with their style can allow you to match it, as appropriate, when you write.
Check out a blog’s articles, comments, and social media following. Scrolling through their headlines and reading some of their posts can help you get to know their content and style, and better determine who makes up their audience. Seeing who’s commenting and who follows them on social media can give you a better idea of who reads it.
The reader-focused BookBub Blog, for example, produces a consistent mix of a few different kinds of content. Some of their most consistent content includes book lists — often tied together by a season, special occasions, or by who recommends them — book related news, book club guides, and articles featuring book clubs, librarians, and other readers.
This guest post, “5 Literary Mysteries Worth Reading,” by mystery author Ritu Sethi, matches the blog’s typical content and covers a topic that Sethi has authority in. It was strong content for the blog to post and exposed Sethi to more readers.
Familiarizing yourself with a blog’s content is an important step for any blog you’d like to write for. Are you sci-fi writer who found a blog that frequently posts articles about trends in science fiction? Pitch something similar, like this post on the Science Fiction and Horror book blog Sci Fi and Scary.
Many blogs have submission guidelines, rules, or suggestions. These often outline what content they want most and how they prefer content be submitted. Be sure to check for these before pitching, as many have specific instructions. The “JOIN US” page on Book Riot, for example, explains what the blog wants from writers who would like to contribute, and offers advice to readers.
3. Pitch a tailored and thoughtful piece of content
Coming up with an idea
When you finally choose a blog to pitch to, come up with a post idea that fits in with the rest of their content. Ideally, a guest post would appeal to their readers while covering something you have some authority on or experience in.
Do they frequently run book roundups? Pitch them one within your niche! Do they lean towards long-form thought pieces? Draft one up that seems to match their audience’s tastes. If you do your homework and pitch a really tailored and thoughtful piece of content, it will be hard to turn down. – Johanna Golden, BookBub Blog
Pitches should match your own voice and writing style. Ideally, they are also concise and friendly.
Send a short but sweet pitch. Include a basic line or two about your work and a relevant link so the writer can access more information if they need to. Above all else, remember that you’re talking to a human being and working with someone who’s personable will make the collaboration efforts that much easier. Spice up your usual pitch and start your messaging with an encouraging note (i.e. I hope you’re having a great week!). – Ashley Johnson, She Reads
Bloggers often receive emails that offer no details about the post idea or the pitcher’s expertise. These demonstrate little value to a blog, and are much easier to turn down or ignore entirely. People have emailed us at BookBub Partners asking to write a guest post without any details about who they are, what they would write about, or what they have written about. Others have pitched us articles that don’t relate in any way to our content. We’re much more likely to engage if a pitch has clear value to our audience and enough information for us to evaluate the idea.
Building a relationship with the blogger
Some bloggers and writers recommend building a relationship with a blogger before reaching out. Some bookstagrammers and book reviewers advise the same for their fields. Blogger Shayla Raquel elaborated:
The strongest pitch is one without the typical, humdrum content that bloggers see in the email inbox all the time. If you want a yes, then build a relationship weeks or months ahead of time with the blogger by engaging—liking, sharing, commenting—with their content. Then it won’t feel like a pitch at all; just a friend offering to provide value to a blog.” – Shayla Raquel, ShaylaRaquel.com
Pitching already written articles
Many writers send full, already written, posts as pitches. Bloggers may accept this, but they may require large edits to it, or like your idea but would prefer you had gone in a different direction. Pitching a well-articulated concept and outline can save you time and make your pitch more flexible. Writing a full post before pitching is no guarantee that it will get accepted.
Contacting a blog that doesn’t cover your preferred content
Feel strongly about pitching a post to a blog that doesn’t typically produce that kind of content? Some bloggers may be open to it, and it can be worth it to reach out anyway. Make it clear that you are familiar with their normal content.
If you find a blog that you’d love to be on but they don’t currently cover your genre, reach out and ask about contributing content to that genre for them. Book bloggers and editors are often busy, and although they may not currently be covering your genre, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to do so in the future. Providing free quality content could be the kind of push they need to expand their scope of book coverage. – Ashley Johnson, She Reads
Feel free to use this basic pitch template as a model for emails you send to blogs:
Hi [name of blog owner/editor],
I’m a [(genre) author/publisher/publicist/etc.] and I would like to write a guest post about [topic] for [name of blog]. The headline would be something like [“title”], and it would cover [specifics of what it would be about]. [Additional details as needed].
Here are some examples of [articles I’ve written/some of my books/my website]:
- [link to article you’ve written, book you authored, your website]
- [second link if applicable]
Let me know what you think!
In a pitch to this blog, that template might be completed to look like this:
I’m a mystery author and I would like to write a guest post about marketing for new authors for the BookBub Partners Blog. The headline would be something like “10 Marketing Tips for New Writers,” and it would offer tips for authors who are beginning to market their books. It would cover starting social media pages, running their first website ads, and building an email list.
Here’s an article I wrote about choosing the right cover, “How to Choose the Right Book Cover,” [linked] and my author website [linked].
Let me know what you think!
This is by no means the only way to go about pitching to a blog. Many successful pitches are shorter, simply detailing the article idea. No matter how you reach out, try to make a pitch specific, relevant to the blog, and concise.
As with most communication, it doesn’t hurt to be friendly. Mentioning something on their blog or in their social media that you enjoyed is a way to show that you know their blog and that you’ve put thought into this pitch.
4. Tastefully plug yourself in guest posts
Providing a bio
Many blogs include short author bios with their guest posts. These are typically two to three sentences long, with some basic information on who the author is, what they do, and a link or two to their website, blog, social media page(s), and/or books.
If your post is accepted, consider sending a short bio with links to whatever you would most like readers to see. Many writers send their bios with their pitch, which can be a nice way to introduce yourself concisely.
Check out some of these examples of bios from various blogs:
In her bio on our blog, M.J. Rose introduces herself with helpful links in one sentence. All Partners Blog bios include a link to follow the author on BookBub when applicable, as hers does.
This is Catherine King’s bio at the end of a recent Book Smugglers guest post.
Mentioning yourself in the post
Some blogs give more information about their guest writers, like the Queen of Contemporary book blog, which offers a personalized introduction in addition to a shorter bio at the end of the article. When available, these opportunities allow you to share more information about yourself.
Sometimes, it’s even appropriate to mention your work or expertise in the body of the post you write. This is often the case in author and publishing focused blogs, where you can use your experience as examples for the post.
In Christina Dodd’s Partners Blog post, “How I Got 25k More BookBub Followers (and Why I Did),” she described how she grew her following, mentioning her books, website, and social media pages. Indie author Steve Stred wrote about his works in a post on Sci-Fi and Scary, “Avoiding (or Owning) Haunted House Clichés.”