Interested in contributing a guest post?
I welcome contributions to my blog from writers of literary, contemporary and upmarket adult fiction. I’m less interested in contributions from writers of strictly commercial fiction though I recognize, at least according to Chuck Sambuchino’s definition over at Writer’s Digest, that upmarket fiction often blends an element of commercial with other styles of writing.
So if you’re not sure about whether to pitch me or not, just go for it. We can have a discussion and decide whether your topic can be developed into a meaningful post for my readers.
Contributions, once accepted for my blog, should follow a well-developed narrative on your selected topic, should be proofread for accuracy and, finally, should comply with all the guidelines articulated on this page.
Desired Topics for Guest Posts
Guest posts for my blog should offer a discussion of some element of history, politics, recreation or landscape that relates to your novel or short story, and which readers might not otherwise know about. For example, if your novel takes place on a houseboat in Florida, you might blog about the house boating industry in that state. If the setting of your story is a private school in Scotland, you might blog about the way private schools in Scotland operate, to help readers better understand some aspect of the school in your story or the behavior of its administrators.
Make sense? If not, please ask for clarification.
Here are two specific examples of posts I authored for my own blog and a short description of why each one works according to the guidelines described on this page:
One of my novels under development is called Wichita Snake. The protagonist is a former coal miner from Monongah, West Virginia in the early 20th century who leaves his hometown following a mining disaster that kills several hundred men and boys, and devastates the community. The disaster was NOT made up; it really happened and I blog about the historic mining disaster in this post.
My novel, Billy Maddox Takes His Shot, follows the story of a young Border Patrol agent, Billy Maddox, from Santa Cruz County, Arizona. Toward the beginning of the novel, Billy’s new supervisor, Carl Daniels, takes him to the small border town of Nogales where Billy has a firsthand chance to see the international border fence that cuts the town in half. This post discusses the history of the border fence.
As of this writing in mid-September 2016, I am also developing a blog post that is partly a review of the film, First Blood, which tells the story about a Vietnam vet hassled by law enforcement in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. The story I am writing now, “Green Bay Outsiders”, features a Vietnam veteran whose sister treats him with some degree of contempt for his lifestyle. The upcoming post will discuss some of the social challenges that faced Vietnam vets once they returned to the United States–thus highlighting a plot driver in First Blood and that in my work-in-progress. (10/25/16: the aforementioned post about First Blood has been published and can be accessed here.)
I hope these descriptions give you some ideas about the kinds of posts I am looking for.
Posts should be between 800 and 1,200 words though I’m not a complete stickler. If you develop a drop-dead, awesome post that doesn’t entirely fall within this word count range, I will still consider it.
About Sales Pitches
Also, do not include a direct sales pitch in your guest post. In your post, I will include links to any desired book page, website or social networks. That should serve as a sufficient sales opportunity because:
Your goal as a guest blogger is to engage my readers in some meaningful way so they’ll want to stay in touch with you. Teach them something they don’t know. Excite them about some topic they have never considered before. Whatever you do, it’s your job, as the writer, to get them interested. If you do create that attraction, my readers will naturally seek you out using the links embedded in the post.
Images and Photos
Now…about images and photos.
When you look through my blog, you will see my headers are faded images with the blog post titles written over them in Gil Sans Ultra Bold font. Whenever the faded image belongs to me or has been sourced from a site that specifically states that no attribution is needed, then no attribution will appear. Meaning, nothing will be said about the image source. However, in some cases, image attribution IS required, such as in this post, which includes an image of a Border Patrol truck. You’ll see, under the image, the title, the photographer name and a link to a statement explaining I can publish this image.
When you send me YOUR post, please provide an image you want me to fade for the header. If you don’t send one, I’ll choose one. Along with the image, please provide appropriate attribution or tell me none is needed and the reason why (e.g. you own the image).
I often use license-free images from Creative Commons for my posts, which require attribution. Sometimes, I use images from Pixabay, which require no attribution. (For the good people over there, I will occasionally throw in for a cup of coffee because they offer an outstanding service.)
Please don’t be one of THOSE people who randomly copy and paste images from the Internet for your own use. You should know this is illegal due to copyright infringement and I would prefer NOT to be sued by a photographer or image owner because one of their images appeared illegally on my site.
In both your writing and your use of images, be professional and everything will be fine.
So If You Still Want to Pitch Me….
If you still want to pitch a guest post, send your topic and a short description about how you would like to develop it in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Write “Guest Post Query” in the subject line. Also, include a note about how you found my blog and why you think my blog is a good publishing site for your post.
If, after we have discussed the idea, I like it and am willing to accept a post, I will email you detailed guidelines for how to submit your draft via Google Docs. Keep in mind I may edit the post though I will always review my proposed changes with you before publication, so you’re not surprised or feel I have misrepresented your meaning.
Thanks so much for considering a contribution and let me know if you have any questions.