September 27, 2011

Should We Do Guest Posts?

Red carpet running up lots of steps

Last week turned into an interesting demonstration on the benefits of guest posts.  We’ve heard the typical reasons for allowing guests or agreeing to guest post:

* increased traffic
* networking
* and marketing.

We bring in guests and hope their readers will stay at our blog for a while, becoming regular visitors.  We do favors for each other, cover during vacations, exchange posts, and share links.  And we market our brand by spreading our name to new readers or market our new releases with blog tours.

But there are other, less obvious benefits to guest posts:

  • Inviting others to our blog allows us to examine topics beyond our knowledge and understanding.
  • Visiting other blogs as a guest poster exposes us to new readers with different approaches to subjects, which can inspire new ideas.

For example, Thursday’s guest post from published author Jody Hedlund opened a great discussion on a topic not often covered in the writer-blogosphere.  Her experience as an inspirational historical romance author brought insight I don’t have into some ways to prevent an author’s beliefs from turning into preachiness in our stories.

And the guest post I wrote for the Writers In The Storm blog in the first half of the week is a great example of the second bullet above.  The readers of that blog had fantastic questions about how to deal with different writing issues.

Introducing the “Ask Jami” Blog Feature

Their questions got me thinking about a new feature I could start here at my blog: Ask Jami.  Clever name, right?  *smile*  Okay, maybe not, but I’m running with it anyway.

Yes, I’m just a nobody, as-yet-unpublished writer, so who knows if my “advice” is any good.  But I research a lot, I have a teacher’s heart for sharing and explaining what I’ve learned, and my brain doesn’t work like everyone else’s.  If nothing else, I should at least be able to provide a different perspective and make us think.

To give you an idea of my ability (or lack thereof) to answer questions, here is one question and answer from the comment section of the Writers In The Storm blog:

Kristin Nador says:

Some of my stories have what you might call a monotone voice if you could hear it out loud: all dark and dreary, all snark or all happiness and kittens; it’s hard for me to mix in the less serious with the more serious aspects of a character. Any advice on rounding out the voice or tone of a story to make it more multi-dimensional without losing the original feel of the piece?

Jami says:

I’ve suffered from a monotone voice in one of my stories as well. The problem ended up being related to not writing in deep-enough POV. The POV character wasn’t letting me into her thoughts, so I was reporting the external (which was all doom and gloom). It took me a long time to break through her shell, but once I did, I got her voice down better, with all of its sarcasm, heartbreak, honesty, and rationalization. So maybe this is a case of needing to get deeper?

Wasn’t that a great question?  If you have writing, marketing, publishing, social media, etc. questions of your own, go to my Contact page and ask away.  (I finally found the place my email program was hiding those messages, and yes, I owe some replies now that I found the emails.  *head slap*)  Put “Ask Jami” in the Subject, and I’ll collect questions for blog fodder.

This isn’t a round-about way of begging for more email (so says the woman with thousands of unread messages) or showing off my knowledge (I don’t know all the answers).  Instead, it’s a way to pay back all of you for your support.  And if this turns into something helpful, it will be another example of how guest posts can benefit us in unexpected ways.

Have you guest posted before?  Do you roll out the red carpet and allow guest posts on your blog?  What benefits, if any, have you noticed from that decision?  If you don’t allow guest posts, why did you make that choice?  Do you have more suggestions for Kristin on how to round out her voice?

Comments — What do you think?

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Ava Jae

I’ve guest posted on a couple of blogs so far and found that there are some pretty great benefits. Not only do you get to connect with a new audience, but you also build a relationship with the host-blogger and get some new traffic and backlinks in the process. Pretty good deal, I think. 🙂

I’ve had a few people say they’d like to guest post on my blog, but I haven’t actually had any submissions yet. I think I’m going to make more of an effort to get some guest posters on my blog. It’d be a great opportunity!

All in all, I’d say definitely 100% guest post. The benefits for both sides are numerous.

Susan Sipal

I LOVE having guest posters on my blog (hint, hint!) and you cover all the points why. Also, love your idea about an Ask Jami column. You definitely have a way of delving deep into an issue and presenting clear insight. Can’t wait to see what questions you get!

K.B. Owen

Hi, Jami! I think your new “Ask Jami” feature is a great idea. As far as guest blogging, I’ve done that a few times, and also have had guest bloggers on my site. There are so many benefits to it, which you’ve outlined. When Elizabeth Craig, the mystery author guest blogged, my hits went through the roof! It was a wonderful way to connect with new people. When I’ve guest blogged on other sites, I’ve been a little worried that it would pull their numbers down, but everything seemed to work out okay. They are still talking to me. 🙂

Sarah Pearson

I’m a bit too shy to guest post, or ask others to do it for me but I will do. One day 🙂 I’ve found lots of new blogs by reading other peoples guest posts.

PW Creighton

Guest posting is a fun way of sharing you own ‘unique’ perspectives(as Jen called it) to other friends followers who may not know of your perspective. It’s very nifty helping out your blogging friends too. 🙂 It’s always great seeing new insight.

Tamara LeBlanc
Tamara LeBlanc

I think an, ASK JAMI segment would be fantastic.
I think highly of your opinion and I’ve learned so much visiting your blog. You’re incredibly astute, very easy to talk to (electronically:) and you’re damn smart!
Your blog, your advice and your wisdom is always welcome and very appreciated.
I’ve guest blogged quite a few times, especially when my novel first came out. Lately I’ve guest blogged about craft here and there and I enjoy it.
Thanks for everything!
have a wonderful Tuesday!

Tamara LeBlanc
Tamara LeBlanc

Forgot to thank you for the kick in the pants you offered. As always, sound advice. I went back and re-read giving yourself permission and it opened my eyes.
I have a conference this weekend and loads to do to ready for it, but I’ve alotted an hour each day this week to write, 12 noon, to 1:00.
You’re the best Jami!!
Thank you again:)


Hi Jami. I have considered the guest post approach and I think it is a good idea. You are promoting both yourself and the other author plus this will let you access people who follow the GP. It is mutually beneficial even if you are not published. Connections are good =)

Roxanne Skelly
Roxanne Skelly

Guest posts require you have a following and you have something interesting to say, otherwise they really don’t serve much of a purpose. Unfortunately, I’m such a newbie I don’t have either. Someday, maybe.

I’m best suited to sneaking snarky comments into the comments of other bloggers. Dangerous, though. I’ve got that Seattle passive aggressive thing to keep in check.

I do like guest posts if they’re relavent to me. If they’re about a specific book and characters that I’ve not read, well, that’d just be spoilers.

However, Jody’s post was great. Edgy topic. Perspectives different from my own. Good discussion.

As far as newbies posts, well, those are great too. I’m aspiring as well, and the experiences of others who are closer to my experience is quite relevant. Even a newbie has traveled a different path than an experienced writer, and may have something give from that path.

August McLaughlin

Hi Jami,

I agree with everything you’ve posted, except for one thing: the bit about your being a “nobody.” 😉

I’ve served as a guest blogger a few times. One of those experiences increased my Facebook fan-page attention pretty significantly and all were enjoyable… I haven’t had a guest blogger as YET, but I suspect it would be like a substitute teacher in some ways: a fun, refreshing new voice (unless the guest isn’t fun or refreshing ;)).

Todd Moody

Hi Jami!
I haven’t guest posted or had a guest poster yet. I am going to help someone with a little market push in a few weeks, not quite a guest post, but moving in that general direction. I don’t feel like I have enough of a following to ask someone to guest post. I been asked to interview, but have put that off too, I want to actually publish my book before I start guest posting or doing interviews, it just feels like cart in front of horse. I’m open to the idea of having someone guest post, but still feel like a wannabe, and not a colleague in the writing field, so asking people is awkward.

Great topic as usual! I can’t wait to see you Ask Jami addition. =)

Gene Lempp

I actually enjoy getting to guest post and hosting and agree that the benefits are large either direction. The issue, at least for me, usually comes down to a matter of time.

Ask Jami, eh. You are one of the few people I’d consider taking advice from, so I think this is a cool idea. And, of course, I can’t say that without asking a question. So here goes. When outlining, which seems to be my eternal quest these days, what do you find to be the best approach? Do you start with characters then plot or does it all just depend on how the project is comes to you? Do you have a general process? (that is all one question *grins*)

Susan Bischoff

I recently put out an invitation for a certain kind of guest post. You probably saw it, but it was to have authors come in with brief posts showcasing their work–without me having to go out and do all the reading I don’t actually have time for. I specifically asked for books that were like mine in some way, like YA ParaRom or super-powers, so that it would be most beneficial to all parties. I thought it would be great for my readers and me to get exposed to more books we might like that we might not otherwise find, and posts not written by me, talking about things I don’t always talk about, might increase my virtual footprint a bit where search engines are concerned. So far I’ve had no response to that at all. No comments to the post or anyone contacting me in any way saying Hey, I’m excited about this, I’m totally working on a post for you. Which was surprising to me. So I don’t know if a) I didn’t present it well, b) I don’t have any author readers who actually overlap my genre, or c) people only want to do guest posts on their own schedule when they’re on a tour. Meanwhile, I had offered a guest post to a very popular blogger. It was something I had written that seemed to fit her blog much better than mine. She got back to me this week and said that she did want to…  — Read More »

Fiona Ingram

I have just completed a blog tour with World of Ink/Stories for Children (I am a MG author) and did some great guest blog posts (mostly about encouraging kids to write creatively or enjoy reading more). I also got book reviews and now I can approach a whole slew of interested hosts when my second book is published. So, yes, doing guest posts opens up new marketing and sharing possibilities. I also got more ‘likes’ on my book’s Facebook fan page.

Kristin Nador
Kristin Nador

Thanks Jami for the link love, and your answer to my question hit the nail on the head. Getting deeper into my character’s POV is helping me see the many layers she has, thus getting out of the monotone funk. An ‘Ask Jami’ feature? I’m already a convert! 🙂 Interestingly enough, today I put out a request for guest posts for a specific day/topic on my blog for the first time. Love seeing all the possible benefits to guest posts, I hope I get some interest for mine. I am a little worried there may be some negatives to allowing guest posts. Might you address that for all us newbies in the future?

Jenny Hansen

I was about to write almost exactly what Gene did in his last response, Jami. I don’t think you must be published in order to have amazing things to say. 🙂

Joanna Aislinn

My love of people and meeting new ones all the time ties beautifully into inviting folks to guest blog and doing appearances of my own. I absolutely LOVE, Love, LOVE!!! doing both. I’ve made wonderful online friends and have learned so much!

And not so sure how much of a ‘nobody’ you are: you seem to have a very nice following and putting out content I look forward to all the time! Oh, and I’d love to have you do a guest post at my blog!


[…] morning, I woke up to several comments on Tuesday’s blog post about the Ask Jami idea, where I offered to answer people’s writing questions.  I could really relate when Todd Moody mentioned that he couldn’t ask people to guest post […]

Kerry Meacham

I hope my first guest post goes well tomorrow at Clay Morgan’s blog. I am going into enemy territory (Clay is a Pittsburgh Steeler fan) with a Tennessee Titans story. To make matters worse, they play each other on Sunday. Sooooo:

Dear Jami,
Am I setting myself up for a sneak attack from a “used to be” friend, by guest posting on his blog?

BTW, I made him promise not to block any of my comments if he starts trash talking. 😉


[…] Jami Gold answers this very valid question: So Why Do Guest Posts? […]

Bonnie Way

I haven’t been a guest poster yet, but I’ve started inviting guest posts on my own blog for the very reason you listed here: to bring in expertise that I don’t have myself. I knew some fellow bloggers who were great writers and knew things that I didn’t, so I asked them to write about that for my blog. That way, I didn’t have to spend a ton of time researching it to write about it myself! I enjoyed getting a break and I hope that my blog readers enjoyed a new perspective on a topic of interest.


[…] in Writing Stuff Most of us who blog think having guest posts is a “good” thing. We bring in others outside our expertise. We expose our blog to their followers. We get to take a break in our blogging schedule. Heck, I’ve written about the benefits of guest posts. […]


[…] my ”Ask Jami” blog feature to share what I’ve learned, even if it’s more basic than I’d usually write […]

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