I’ve written a lot about book marketing. Some people read my books and learn how to do it right.
Other people are lazy, so they just wait for any old offer to appear.
Something I see being done far too often, is the invitation to write a guest post for a small blog with low PR and not much traffic.
Bloggers love this because it means they don’t have to do any work.
Authors think guest posting on another blog is good marketing (it’s free, and why not?).
The problem is, a lot of small blogs have a low PR (page rank) which means even if you write a great article with a great headline, nobody is going to find it because it won’t rank well in the search engines.
The only people who will see it are the followers and friends of that particular blogger.
A lot of people will point out here that “page rank doesn’t matter” anymore, and that’s kind of true – this blog gets about 800 visitors a day and has a PR3. My book covers site has a PR4 and gets 600. My DIYCovers site is a year old with a PR2 and gets 1500 visitors a day. So PR alone doesn’t necessarily mean traffic.
But I still believe getting links back from high PR sites is valuable in terms of ranking and SEO. So for guest posts, you want to be posting on a site that has traffic AND a high PR, and is also growing quickly by posting LOTS of content.
Before jumping on every offer to be featured on somebody’s blog, take a look at their Twitter and Facebook profiles, as well as the other articles on their site. How many followers do they have? How many comments do articles usually receive? Even if they have 50 very active readers, it’s far more powerful to put your article on a site with more traffic so that thousands of strangers will find it, for years and years to come.
Also – most small blogs are simple, not well designed, cluttered, and random. Having your amazing article appear on a poorly designed blog actually weakens your authority and makes people less likely to trust you as an expert.
What to do instead
But guest posting is a really great way to do book marketing. It’s a great way to build your author platform. It’s a great way to cement your role as a trusted expert (as long as you write helpful articles). But if you’re going to spend time doing it, post on a clean, nice looking site with high PR, so that it will get more traffic and raise your credibility.
Ideally, you want to look for opportunities to guest post on the type of blogs your ideal readers are reading.
Putting articles out on other high PR blogs will also help your own website rank well (because you’ll get a bunch of high PR backlinks pointing towards your site, which makes Google trust you more).
Wait a minute, isn’t guest blogging BAD for SEO?
If you really follow Google and SEO tactics, you might have seen Matt Cutts’ article The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO, and if you don’t read it carefully, it sounds like he’s saying guest posting has become a terrible, spammy practice. If you’re doing it so much you’re using article spinners to crank out crap content, or if you let just anybody post shit on your websites, then yes, guest blogging is not great for SEO.
But if you write great content, sharing a high quality article on blogs with more traffic can bring you a flood of new readers, and doing it repetitively can explode your author platform. I know dozens of people who got started with only a few articles on their own site, a great email optin offer, and then started doing dozens of guest posts – they got hundreds of thousands of email signups and sold a ton of books.
And it continues to be the #1 way that bestselling authors promote their books doing a book launch
For years I’ve been committed to helping indie authors succeed, so recently in 2014 I bought a whole bunch of high PR websites that you could use for book marketing.
A lot of them are genre-specific book review sites, because one of the most powerful marketing tricks is to write book reviews (or book ‘lists’) about other books in your genre, so that you’re attracting highly targeted traffic who are “pre-screened” and likely to be interested in your book as well.
I spent just under $2000usd setting these up, and you can use them for free.
The value of community
Rather than posting an article on your own blog, sharing it on social media and hoping people like or reshare, these sites are meant as community blogs (think Huffington Post or Beliefnet). Lots of bloggers writing together around a niche topic, and each author promoting their articles, means a cumulative effect on traffic that is considerably stronger than what you’d be able to bring in on your own.
As of right now (2015) I still haven’t gotten around to finishing some of these, because I have too many projects to do, and I don’t need any of these sites for my own platform. I bought these for you, but I need your help in building them up. If you want to market your books but you don’t know what to do, commit to writing an article a week for some of these sites in addition to blogging on your own platform.
Articles should not be used to promote your own books. You’ll have a byline at the end with links to your site and book – you need to write great content so people will trust you, and then they will be motivated to click your links and check out your books. If you just write a post to promote your book directly, people won’t trust the content. We want real articles – not just bait and switch lists with bullet points and unsubstantial content. There is no word limit – write as much as the article needs to be complete.
Check the sites out and let me know if you’re interested in becoming a contributor, and how you qualify (experience writing in the genre, publishing experience, links to your books, etc.)
Publishing Insider covers topics relevant to self-publishing and indie authors. You can guest post about something you’ve researched, review a tool or website you’ve tried, write ‘how-to’ guides on some aspect of publishing, or comment on publishing related issues. Authors with books about publishing, or providers of publishing-related services, will obviously profit the most – but any author with experience learning how to self-publish will have useful content to offer. Even if you write fiction. Doesn’t matter. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s OK – focus on what you learned today.
This is a general book review site, for all genres – non-fiction and fiction. It’s a great place to write “list” type posts, such as “the 10 greatest archers in fantasy literature” or “10 inspirational books to motivate you this summer.” You can also review or critique books one by one – there are special tools for reviewing, adding stars, and linking to the Amazon page. (Still working on this one, but it’s going to be very powerful. Why not just post reviews on Amazon or Goodreads? Because those sites aren’t set up to feature your profile and link to your book or website).
The tagline for this one is “Searching for a Better Paranormal Paramour.” It’s for dark fantasy, supernatural fiction and paranormal romance of any kind (angels, demons, vampires, werewolves, aliens…).
It could also be rants like “10 overused plot-developments in YA Paranormal Romance” or commentaries on related themes (reviews of movies based on books? Similarities between two or three major books? Author interviews?) I’ll also be using it as a hub for travel writing and research as I explore Romania next year.
If you write paranormal romance and want to help turn this into an awesome paranormal romance review site, get in touch.
This is a site for inspirational, spiritual or motivational books – both fiction (The Alchemist, Celestine Prophecy, The Prophet, Way of the Peaceful Warrior) and non-fiction (The Secret, Awaken the Giant Within, Better than Good, the Power of Now). It could also be a place for guest posting thoughtful, reflective articles about life, happiness, spiritual wisdom, finding peace and being joyful.
All about creativity, the writing process, etc. Not sure if I’ll allow guests posts yet on this one, I have two writers who are doing a great job on it; it needs to be more high brow, intelligent content like BrainPickings.
I also have a few other sites that I’ll probably turn into standalone businesses, like
www.readipress.com (a publishing company I may or may not launch…)
www.publishxpress.com (a membership site for publishing tools)
www.wriye.com (a one year email sequence to help writers finish their books)
And we’ve just started www.marketingforwriters.com, in case you have book marketing tips to share.
To wrap up: I need writers
What I have is a collection of targeted sites that bring in niche traffic. This year (2015) I’m going to focus on growth and platform building, but I need more content. In exchange for your content (articles) you’ll get a link back to your book and you can leverage my growing platforms.
I’ve hired 3 full-time writers and social media experts recently who are going to build everything up and focus on getting a ton of followers/fans. Think you can be useful? Want to help me grow these sites, get more exposure, become recognized as a trusted expert, bring more traffic back to your own blog, and sell more books? Just get in touch and I’ll set you up.
Let me know in the comments what you think. Unless you plan to be mean: if you don’t think this sounds like a fair deal, you’re free to continue building your own platform without any help.