Donna Brown: Writing A Guest Post – Six Simple Steps

  • Donna Brown

Donna Brown: Writing A Guest Post – Six Simple Steps

Today I’m delighted to invite my publicist and assistant Donna Brown to the blog. Donna addresses a common query: “How do I write a guest post?” This is a follow on from A. Yamina Collins’ wonderful post, 3 Effective Ways To Get Bloggers To Love You And Your Book.


Writing A Guest Post: Six Simple Steps

by Donna Brown

Donna BrownWith my review list closed, I’m still able to offer guest post slots to authors but I’m stunned at the number of times I receive an email back saying “What’s a guest post?” or “How do I write a guest post?”

My first response to the former is always a little incredulity. Why? Because despite the well oiled pitch about the book that also assured me that they’d looked around my blog and liked what they saw, this is a dead giveaway that, um, no they didn’t. Not properly. Otherwise they’d have seen the many guest posts we’ve featured on the site.

My response to the latter is usually to kindly explain what I consider a good fit for a guest post for the site and that’s what I’m sharing here, albeit in a more expanded form!

Read the blog!

So simple and so often overlooked. I once interviewed an author and one of my questions was for them to name a blog they liked to read. The answer? “I don’t read blogs.” I know an author might appear on hundreds of blogs – it’s impossible to follow them all – but follow some and certainly get a feel for the one you are pitching to, be it for a review or guest post. Read – or at the very least scan – a few guest posts from the site you’re potentially appearing on before you ask “How do I write a guest post?”

Get the guidelines

Once you’ve done that, ask the site owner if they have any particular guidelines or if there is any particular topic they would like you to write on. They may have already provided some details such as word count, what they’ll include after your post (bio, book blurb, cover image, social media links), whether or not they will accept images and so on. Stick to the guidelines.

Get To Know The Blog

Familiarize yourself with the blog

Make sure your content fits

If the site owner doesn’t provide a topic, spend a few minutes getting a feel for their content. If the blog is mostly focused on publishing and writing, you might want to share your own experiences in these areas. If the blog seems more reader focused, perhaps consider a topic that will encourage discussion amongst readers, such as books that inspired you or your own reading habits. Remember, it doesn’t need to be all about your book. You are showcasing your writing and your ability to connect, not necessarily your book alone.

Go beyond your book

If you do choose to write about your book – for example, how you were inspired to write it or why you focused on a particular issue within the work – try to break it up a little. Talk about other things in your life that affected you and led you to do something, or talk about other works that shaped you and shaped your story. Show the reader something beyond your book. Show them your personality and your likes/dislikes.

Watch your length

Watch Your LengthIf the site doesn’t have length restrictions it can be tricky to know how long or short to go. However, I’ve had guest posts submitted that were three short paragraphs. I’ve also had a post submitted where the bio of the author was longer than the post itself. Both of these told me one thing: this author cares more about people reading about them than putting together a well-constructed post. Too long and you could lose an audience half way through – they’ll never make it to the book blurb/bio at the end. So choose your length wisely.

Don’t over-promote in the post

Make your post informative and entertaining and not promotional. This is a great opportunity to sell yourself as a writer. You don’t need to throw your book title and link into every paragraph in order to do that. By all means, refer to your book if it adds background to your post but be reasonable with it.

Good: Ten years ago I decided I was going to write a novel. Now, a decade on I’m fortunate enough to have published John Doe’s Great Adventures.

Bad: Ten years ago – way before John Doe’s Great Adventures came out!! – I decided I was going to write a novel. Now, a decade on, I’m fortunate enough to have published John Doe’s Great Adventures (buy it here!!!)

The idea of a guest post can seem daunting but it really doesn’t have to be. Keep it focused on the blog visitors/readers, make it an easy and accessible read for everybody, avoid plugging your book in every sentence and follow any guidelines your host may have given you. If you do all of those things, your guest appearance will be all the better for it. If you’re still not sure, simply ask yourself: “Would I want to read this post if it came from another author?” Your answer should tell you everything you need to know about whether or not it’s ready to send.


About Donna Brown

Donna Brown is a blogger at Fragmentary Thoughts, writing about books, mental health, culture and cats on a regular basis. She’s been blogging for the last few years and addicted to the internet for longer than she cares to admit. She lives in Yorkshire, UK surrounded by books and cats.

Please note, the views of the post author - and indeed anyone who guest posts on Day by Day - are not necessarily indicative of the views of Terri Giuliano Long and comments are moderated to filter spam/profanity only.

"Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion."
2015-02-05T13:17:34+00:00August 22nd, 2012|Categories: Column: Donna Brown|Tags: |

About the Author:

Terri Giuliano Long, a frequent guest blogger, with appearances on hundreds of blogs, is a contributing writer for IndieReader and also wrote for Her Circle eZine. She lives with her family on the East Coast. Her debut novel, In Leah’s Wake, winner of the Global eBook Award, Popular Fiction, and Indie Discovery Award, Literary Fiction, has sold over 130,000 copies worldwide.


  1. David M Brown August 22, 2012 at 12:44 am - Reply

    Great post Donna.

    I've written dozens of guest posts for blogs and always write a new one tailored to the blog, rather than use a previous one. I like the challenge of always finding something new to write about.

    I'm conscious of the fact the book blurb and buy links to a book are already there so you don't need to promote the novel in the guest post. If readers are interested they have the means right there to find out more. If they're not interested, I at least want to give them something they may enjoy reading, covering a more generic angle familiar to the majority of readers and bloggers. I take the opportunity to have maybe 500 words to talk about something else.

    It's interesting that those blogs that give you a select group of prompts to choose from cover a range of topics away from your latest novel. This is a great way to show what you are made of as a writer, almost like having to write an exam.

    When I write a guest post I want to open up discussions and have responses from readers. If I get responses then I consider the post to have been a success. I don't measure the quality of a post on whether it leads to book sales that day.

    • Donna Brown August 22, 2012 at 3:32 am - Reply

      Thanks David! I agree that a guest appearance isn't necessarily about sales. It's about platform building. Consider it like adding to a portfolio – the more fantastic stuff you can add, the better!

  2. Donna Brown August 22, 2012 at 3:41 am - Reply

    I'd also like to add that proofing and meeting the deadline are both essential. I understand when a small typo slips through but if I'm sent something by an author that is clearly unproofed (and it has happened several times) it's very frustrating. Meeting deadlines is so important. It isn't true that all the work is in the writing. It must be checked, formatted, promoted. The site owner needs time for that.

    Thank you to Terri for allowing me to share my thoughts!

  3. Alison DeLuca August 22, 2012 at 3:56 am - Reply

    This is a really helpful post. As an author, I always struggle with the subject of a guest blog, as well as the right "tone." You've given me some fantastic insights to guide that process.

    I must add that I adore the picture of the writer on the bottom. The photographer may have snuck in and snapped me at work; I often look like that.

    • Donna Brown August 22, 2012 at 10:30 am - Reply

      Thanks Alison – I'm really glad you found it helpful!

  4. Carolyn Wolfe August 23, 2012 at 7:04 am - Reply

    I very much enjoyed your post! This is great advice especially about looking at the site you are going to be blogging at, which seems like the obvious thng to do, but so many people do not understand that is very important! Thank you for this share!

  5. […] Donna Brown: Writing A Guest Post – Six Simple Steps ( […]

  6. Sandra Harriette August 27, 2012 at 2:15 am - Reply

    I believe you and Donna are right. I too consider the being featured in any way advantageous to portfolio building. I am eager to establish credibility through consistency and the quality of my content. i think the rest will come.

  7. […] Donna Brown: Writing A Guest Post – Six Simple Steps ( […]

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