Monday, November 15, 2010

How to be a Welcome (Blog) Guest

Anyone who hangs out at Beyond Romance knows that I host a lot of guests. Wednesdays and Saturdays are my regular guest days, but I sometimes have special visitors on other days as well. In fact, starting the 20th of this month, I've booked a full ten days of guests. I'm going to be traveling and away from the Internet. I'm hoping that my guests will keep the home fires burning!

To help them along, I'm running a contest where I'll give away a book each day to someone who leaves a comment on the day's post. (I'll pick the winners after I return from my trip.) I'll also pick a grand prize winner at the end of my guest-a-thon, who'll receive a three-pack of my ebooks.

Anyway, I really enjoy having my friends and colleagues as my guests. It gives me the opportunity to support authors whom I already know, and to meet new ones. I discover books I want to read and individuals whose lives are delightfully different from my own.

However, now and then I get a bit frustrated. There are some people I've hosted whom I'd hesitate to invite back. Why? Well, it's just difficult to deal with them, for various reasons.

My biggest complaint, of course, is guests who don't show up when they are expected. I always send a reminder a week or so before and then a follow up email if I don't hear anything. The number of no-shows has been pretty small, but some people have kept me worrying until the very last minute! I've heard some excellent excuses -- tornadoes, for example, or floods, or a country-wide Internet outage -- but there are a few people I've booked who just plain vagued it off. Obviously they didn't take their commitment as seriously as I would.

Another pet peeve is guests who don't read or follow directions. I'm open to practically any kind of content here, but I ask for something more than just pure promo. I request between 500 and 2000 words, plus a bio, links and a small cover. And I ask for the post as text or Rich Text Format (RTF) rather than potentially virus-ridden MS Office doc files.

I've received posts of less than 400 words and posts that included an entire chapter excerpt. People send me cover images that are 1600 x 2400 pixels in size. People forget the bio or the links -- well, that's okay, it's their post, after all. In this case, I'll usually try to find their website or blog and include the URLs at the end. I want to give my guests the best exposure possible.

Meanwhile, probably fifty percent of the posts I receive are doc files. I've kind of given up on this issue and just open their files in a quarantined area.

A final problem is the fact some guests send me text riddled with errors in spelling, grammar and usage. It makes me wonder. These folks are supposedly published authors. Personally, I'd be embarrassed to submit that kind of post. Usually, I'll fix the most egregious problems - but really, it's not my role to serve as their editor. Are these authors unaware of their errors? Or do they just send me a first draft, without proofing?

I probably sound like a real curmudgeon. Still, am I being unreasonable, hoping that my guests will send me material in correct and comprehensible English, following some basic instructions, in a timely manner? What do you think?


Victoria Janssen said...

I confess, I am cranky about this issue, too. If you're offering someone promo, they should proofread what they send and follow your format.

I try to send guest posts as early as possible and prefer to receive them early, as well.

Cari Z said...

I just ran back to check the length of my post. *whew* You are so not curmudgeonly. Are you kidding? When I get to post on someone else's successful blog, it puts me in a "polish the submission" mood.

Thanks again for the opportunity.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Victoria and Cari,

Thanks for the support. I sometimes feel guilty for getting "cranky" as you put it. But to be honest, I put almost as much work into formatting and scheduling my guests' posts as I do into writing my own.


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