"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rejection Etiquette For Guest Posts

Trust me. For today’s busy blogger juggling a multitude of tasks and creative to-dos, a guest post from a contributing blogger is a sight for sore eyes.

In fact, it could be considered as the equivalent of a gift from a friend, family member, or admirer. But much like a “gift”, sometimes it just doesn’t suit your taste.

Either it’s the wrong style, fit, or category. Or maybe you have one like it already, (like the five pair of mittens you got for Christmas).
(Problem is, you can’t “regift” it.)

Sometimes this is the case with guest posts submitted for consideration, particularly by eager beavers that don‘t do research beforehand.
Like “clueless in Seattle” who had the best of intentions when he emailed his article on fitness tips, although your blog is on entrepreneurship.

Or, that faithful follower to your Blog, who is a dear soul, but doesn’t know grammar basics, sentence structure, or the art of crafting a creative piece. But still wanted to send something because she’s a huge fan.

It goes without saying that you appreciate their efforts. There are literally hundreds of Blogs they could have potentially submitted to; still they chose yours.
So what do you do to handle this potentially awkward situation?

Here are a few things to consider:


1. In the interest of saving time, (both yours and guest posters), establish and post guidelines on your site outlining the word count, topics accepted, and procedures to follow for acceptance. The clearer you are, the clearer potential posters will be.

2. Entertain the possibility of drafting a standard rejection letter that’s brief and courteous. Make sure to thank the writer for his time and his consideration.

3. Another alternative is to state something in your guidelines on your site like, “ We receive a lot of submissions. If you do not hear from us in two weeks, we unfortunately were not able to use your piece. Best of luck.”

4. Post an example of a successful “Guest Post” to serve as a guideline.


1. Never post a piece on your site that is of poor quality out of a sense of obligation. At the end of the day, no matter who wrote it, it’s a reflection on your Blog.

2. Don’t ignore the poster. In most cases, some response is better than none at all. That is unless you choose to follow the steps in # 3 as outlined above.

3. Don’t feel the need to go into great detail by explaining how the piece could have been made better, or editing errors discovered. Remember, you’re not their high school English instructor. Not to mention, it could be perceived as condescending or insensitive.

4. Don’t ever feel guilty about saying no. It comes with the territory, like it or not.

Used properly, these tips can take the sting out of rejecting pieces that are not appropriate for you and your Blog audience. This also insures that you are able to maintain high standards of quality and integrity as a Blog owner.


  1. Great post, Jennifer. I don't have a lot of guest posters on my blog but I did just have one submitted that I wasn't thrilled with and was at a loss as to how to handle it. Now I have some guidelines to follow.

  2. This is great, Jennifer. I am tweaking my guest post guidelines (learning by trial and error:) and this fills in some gaps. Thanks a bunch!
    Oh, and feel free to submit anytime!

  3. Rejection can be a tough one. Your post does a nice job of putting it on the table. I think these tips can be used whether it is a guest post or a submission to an agent. Keeping it professional, however much someone may need to vent to a friend, is key.

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 4, 2011 at 8:34 AM

    Hi there, Carol,

    Great to hear from you today. I'm glad you were able to glean some useful tips. Thanks for your time and input. Be well. :-)

  5. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 4, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    Hi Karen,

    Thanks for stopping by. I may just take you up on that guest post thingee. :-)

  6. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 4, 2011 at 8:38 AM

    Hi Rebecca,

    How true---"Keeping it professional" is crucial. :-)

  7. Great tips to surely keep in mind for guest posts.

  8. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 5, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    Hey Cynthia,

    Glad you approve. :-) Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  9. Well put Jen.

    No matter how nicely or professionally, it is done, rejection (in any form) always stings a bit. The tips you've outlined will help easy the pain on both sides of the pen.

    Happy weekend to all!


  10. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 5, 2011 at 2:13 PM


    I hear ya'. But as writers, it also comes with the territory. Lovely to hear from you. :-)

    Oh yeah...thanks for the great images you sent!

  11. As one who submits query letters and guest posts and is mired in frequent rejection, I would encourage anyone considering doing either to read the publication or blog for a while before submitting. Second, in the event that your piece is rejected, be sure to have a "Plan B." That will ease the pain a bit, and boost your confidence level...a little.

  12. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 8, 2011 at 12:17 PM


    Thanks so much for sharing this.