I trust that I’ve done a good job already of convincing you why you should write guest posts, and hopefully you checked my tips for finding places to be a guest writer, but of course that leads to the next question: what the heck should you write about???
Never fear! I’ve made a list of ideas to help you brainstorm your own topics. Plus, if you don’t find enough hosts for all of your ideas, these work great as posts for your own blog, too. It’s a really good strategy to have a post topic in mind BEFORE you approach someone about being a guest writer on their blog. Sometimes, you will get the topic handed to you, as I did with a recent video I did for GoIndieNow about the idea of fate in writing. But it’s good not to depend on the host to give you a topic.
I’m breaking up the ideas roughly along the same lines as the reasons for writing guest posts in the first place to help you figure out where to focus based on your personal goals. At minimum, guest posting helps to boost your visibility and SEO rankings, so let’s focus on some other aspects.
Show Off Your Expertise (Even if it’s New)
For nonfiction writers, establishing oneself as an expert is a must. Even if you have a degree in whatever you want to write about, publishers also want to publish books by folks who have a presence on the web. When you’ve got that piece of paper, it is easier to feel like you have something worth sharing and that people will want to know what you have to say. For fiction writers, on the other hand, it is often difficult to feel anything like an expert, even if you’re 10 books into your career. Impostor Syndrome runs rampant among our ranks.
When it comes to guest posts, you can definitely lean in to things you already know a lot about, or things you recently learned in the course of writing your latest novel or short story. Oftentimes, people would LOVE to read about your stumbles as much as your triumphs. It can go a long way to keeping the Impostor Monster at bay to know that other people struggle the same problems.
Here are a few ideas:
- Is there an aspect of writing (dialog, description, action scenes, sex scenes, pacing, plotting, to name a few) that you find particularly easy? Do you have any systems, tips, or resources to recommend?
- What about stuff you find difficult? Did you have to overcome an obstacle? Did you fall flat on your face during your first attempt? Did you get any good advice from someone else? Don’t be afraid to ask people to leave comments with their own advice!
- Did you do a deep dive into a research topic? Do you suddenly find yourself knowing a lot about saddles, swords, tropical plants, alchemy, or some other random topic? Write a “Beginner’s Guide”!
- Do you have anything to say about the genre you are writing? Did you have formative reading or viewing experiences that shaped your approach? Did you break with traditions and tropes, or did you draw strength and sureness from what came before? Was this a new genre for you? Got any resources to recommend for learning more about the genre?
- Did you take inspiration from a historic figure? Write a little biography or you can even “interview” them! Historic events and myths are also pervasive as jumping-off points and make great guest post topics.
- Is there anything you can bring in from your regular life/job that informs your storytelling or gives you inspiration? Never underestimate how things that you find boring because they are so germane to you can actually be fascinating to others.
Find Readers (AKA Boost Sales)
Then of course, there are the posts that are more closely related to getting people excited about reading your book(s). These will be more targeted and in some ways, even easier to write because you ARE definitely the expert in your own story. So, here are a few ideas for guest posts that are geared more directly towards sales:
- Write a review of a book or movie that is somehow like your own. This gives you a chance to subtly tie in your own work with an exit line like “If you like stories like this, then you’ll love my book. Here’s where you can find out more!” [and link to your sales page or website]
- Along the same lines, countdown lists are fun to read, easy to write, and have potential for directing people toward your books. You can do countdowns of books or movies within your book’s genre, for instance. Does your story involve aliens? Do a countdown of your five favorite species. (I did this for a blog tour, so you can check out my example.) Got a prince or princess? Do a “Top 10” on real and/or fictional royals. The possibilities are nearly endless!
- Do a character spotlight or character interview. For a lot of readers, they first have to fall in love with (or at least feel some connection to) the characters in a book in order to see it through to the end. Or in this case, get them interested in your characters before they even open the book. This doesn’t mean laying out the plot of your book and giving everything away. A character spotlight should focus on who they are BEFORE the events of the book come to pass, and then tease at what they will go through in the course of the story. (I did character spotlights for both Riftmaker and No Rest for the Wicked, so check out those books’ pages for links)
- Put together a playlist to be the “soundtrack” for your book. You can do this on platforms like Spotify, or even better because it is public, YouTube. They have made it easier than ever to put together playlists of music videos, and it can be a great way for people to connect with the story you are telling through another medium.
What About Interviews?
Interviews, of course, are a very useful and common type of guest post you can do. However, I’ve got enough to say about them that I thought I’d make a separate post. So come back next time for some tips about getting the most out of doing interviews as guest posts.
Do you have other ideas for guest post topics? I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments!