Why do I host guests on my blog?

Top row: David Penny, Clare Flynn, Liza Pratt, Anna Belfrage, Keith Dixon. Middle row: J J Marsh, Debbie Young, Antoine Banner, Elizabeth Buchan, Helen Hollick.  Bottom row: Tony Riches, Jane Davis, E M Powell, Susan Grossey, Ruth Downie

I like having guests on my writing blog. Unlike my thriller blog which is all about my books, their background and research, this writing blog is a warm, relaxing  and random place where I and my guests can ramble on about writing and the writing life.

Many of the posts here are based on my experience over the past twelve years of writing seriously (and commercially), but a fair number feature guests. Although writing is solitary, getting your book out there is not – it’s teamwork.

Writers are lovely people – collaborative, knowledgeable, vastly experienced and with a GSOH. Without that humour, you’d be crying. Trust me on that.

But apart from all this warmth and togetherness, what are the harder reasons for hosting guests?

Brand awareness. Hosting engaging guest posts can establish a blog as worth reading. People will associate it with interesting content and expertise from a wide range of talent which means meaning they’ll (hopefully) think of you, not others.

Fresh content. Sometimes blogs can get a little repetitive and stale. (The fear felt by long-term bloggers like yours truly!) Bringing in guest bloggers introduces new, diverse content with different perspectives and styles. Of course, it must be relevant, hence lots of other writers and associated creative people on this blog.

Giving readers reliable information. I like to be viewed as somebody who knows one or two things about writing and publishing, as a possible source of information. I don’t think it’s an ego thing – more a case of giving back to others as a counterpoint to the help I received as a newbie author. But as I share knowledge beyond my own expertise, it may also give readers another reason to remain a subscriber. 😉

SEO. (No, I don’t really understand it either, but it seems to help.). Guest blogs can be a great way to boost Search Engine Optimisation and  search engine rankings. By including good keywords and links, a site may be found by more potential readers. Page views and click-throughs go up.

Mutual back-scratching. Posting on other people’s blogs lifts both host’s and guest’s visibility and increases the sense of helping each other’s careers. (Possibly an ego thing…) Additionally, most guests can’t resist the temptation to promote their guest posts. It makes them look good. They can post to social media and run an announcement on their own blog.

Practical stuff

Pitches and invitations. Generally, I don’t accept pitches except from authors I know or know about. We all get the crypto-currency, gold investment and sunglasses sellers pitching and they go straight in the bin.

I invite people who I think will provide something interesting, informative and/or fun related to books, writing and the writing life in the widest sense. I don’t accept sales posts or disguised sales posts, but I always post the author’s latest book at the end with a link. Click-bait is deeply discouraged.

Ah, links. Yes, a few general links to social media are fine, but not every single one to every retail site in the universe.

Tone and style. Guests  should write coherently – not over-academically, but not unintelligibly either. I will correct punctuation, but not alter how and why they are saying something – it’s their post, after all!

Add 0ns. Apart from their piece, I post a bit of bio (I like to know how they tick and what they’ve done.), the blurb for their latest book, and photos – them, their cover, landscapes, artefacts, costumes, coins, maps, etc. My readers like pictures…

What’s coming in the next few weeks?

You may have noticed a book called Historical Stories of Exile has just been published. I contributed a story, ‘My Sister’ to it, a side story to EXSILIUM, a Roma Nova Foundation story set in AD 395. I invited the other contributing authors to write a guest post about the background to their story, but not a sales-y piece. I wanted to get behind the story and their motivation for writing it.

I hope you’ll be as fascinated by their posts as I am!


Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO, CARINA (novella), PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA, NEXUS (novella), INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO,  and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series. Double Identity, a contemporary conspiracy, starts a new series of thrillers. JULIA PRIMA,  Roma Nova story set in the late 4th century, starts the Foundation stories. The sequel, EXSILIUM, will be out in February 2024.

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines and taste world the latest contemporary thriller Double Identity… Download ‘Welcome to Alison Morton’s Thriller Worlds’, a FREE eBook, as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email update. You’ll also be among the first to know about news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

2 comments to Why do I host guests on my blog?

  • Interesting and informative post Alison – I agree with (and echo!) every word. I must admit one thing though – having guests on my blog means I don’t have to think about writing posts of my own! 🙂

    • Alison Morton

      Delighted you enjoyed reading it. In one way, I agree in that it means I don’t need to write a post myself, but there is a certain amount of admin involved communicating with the guest and setting the post up, sometimes finding an additional image, etc.

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