How to be a Bad Guest Blogger

I'm a tolerant person. I like to help others. I try to make everything as simple as possible and offer guidelines and lists to make hosting people as easy as possible. Despite keeping things simple I often get emails from people who act like there are no guidelines. I'm not going to make this post a rant about people who waste my time though. Today I'm going to tell you why these people won't get very far so you can avoid making the same mistakes.

Click to Tweet: “A writer who can't follow submission
guidelines is like a pilot without a plane...
they aren't going to get very far!” (@JoLinsdell) #quote
Bloggers give submission guidelines because that is how they want the content for their site. Follow them. As a blogger I love it when people follow my guidelines. It makes my job easy and quick. I don't have to waste time reformatting or searching my email inbox for missing material. People who make hosting them easy will have a much better chance of being featured on the blog AND a good chance of being invited back in the future too. A person who doesn't follow the guidelines will not.

Many bloggers are like myself. They run their blogs as a side project. This doesn't mean that they don't put a lot of work into their blogs, on the contrary, if they have a good readership they probably put a LOT of work into their blogs. What it means is that they have another main job/jobs. For example, I'm an author and illustrator. I work on my own books but also work for hire illustrating books for other authors. Those are my main jobs. They are the jobs that earn me money. I don't get paid for hosting people on my blogs. I do it because I like helping others and enjoy blogging.

If you want to be hosted on a blog the first thing you should do is read some of the blog posts. Get engaged. This could be by sharing a post using the social media share buttons on site or by leaving a quick comment. Most bloggers check comments and will notice if you're an active follower. 

Do NOT send them an email where it's blatantly clear you've never read the blog. Saying "I found your blog on Google and would like to guest post on it" is not good. Saying "I found your blog on Google and think you should publish my article about living with cats" is just plain wrong. Saying "I loved your recent post about self publishing. I read your guidelines and hope you'll consider this guest post where I share why I choose to traditionally publish" might not be perfect but it at least shows you've read the blog (you know what recent posts have been about) and shows that you read the guidelines. 

Do NOT send them multiple emails. It's seriously annoying when you get your inbox filled up with one sentence long emails all from the same person. If you're not clear on what is required by all means clarify in an email but do it in ONE email. Follow the guidelines and then include any questions you have in the body of the email. Everything in the one place. Annoying the host is a good way of making sure you never get featured on their blog. If you fill up their inbox with loads of emails they will most likely be deleted without ever being read.

Do NOT tell them to send you the link to the post. This shows you have no intention of reading the blog... not even the post you did for it. If they've told you the date your post is scheduled for you should go to the blog on that date and get the link yourself. You should be visiting anyway so you can leave a thank you comment for the host and reply to any comments left by others. They have hosted you on their blog. It's part of the deal that you engage on your post and share it to drive traffic to the site. Don't expect the host to do all the work. Plus there is little point in being hosted on a blog if you don't interact with its readers. 

Something else you should consider is that bloggers network. If I see a guest blogger on another site that clearly stands out, e.g. has written a popular post and gets involved in the comments section, I will be happy to host them on my blog too. I might even reach out to them and invite them to contribute a post. That's the type of guest blogger you want to be. 

Do you host people on your blog? What are your pet peeves that make you say no to hosting people? Leave a comment below and join in the discussion. 



  1. I have done a couple guest posts for your blog in the past, and I try to comment every time although I will admit I have probably failed to do so a time or two. If I have, I must apologize. I am one of those people who has to make check-lists or I forget to do things. I also don't always have internet access, so I just plain forget.

    However, I have, on several occasions, posted guest posts, cover reveals, book blitzes, etc on my own blog, and very few have commented back with gratitude. I love those who do, but I can sometimes understand when they don't (because I've probably done it myself). When that person does it multiple times though, I start to question whether it's forgetfulness or just plain rudeness. Sometimes, it's hard to tell.

    Due to lack of internet, my list of blogs I read daily tends to stay rather short. It is growing though, I will admit. ;)

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment Skye. I love when people comment too ;)

      I know it can happen that a post goes up and maybe the author misses it and so arrives a day or two late (that's happened to me when I've been hosted too). When possible I always try to get the permalink before hand so I can schedule the tweets and Facebook posts to promote a stop in advance. Sometimes "life" gets in the way and so it might not be possible to actually be online that day. This is why I always try to send out the permalink to blog posts for my blogs when confirming I've received the material. It gives the chance to have a back up plan ;) Nobody is perfect all the time. The lack of a thank you comment to the host isn't the big problem. It's good etiquette but not a problem. The people who do post comments and get a conversation going in the comments do get noticed though. Same thing with those who follow guidelines and make creating the post super easy.

      I apply the same rules to tour host companies too. If I reserve spots for their authors and they repeatedly don't deliver or don't follow the guidelines, I stop working with them. I simply stop hosting their authors.

      I hope this post will help make authors (and not only) think more when guest blogging. It's in their interest to give a good impression.


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