Alright authors, you’ve set up your blog and you’re just dipping your toe into the writing blog community. Damn, it’s big.  And what’s this? There’s a little picture on the side of a blog you visited, listing dates and announcing something called a blogfest.  And on another site, another little picture with different dates and a blogfest with a different name.

In fact, the more you look, the more you see them. 

Blogfest? What exactly is a blogfest?

A blogfest is either one, or a set of posts, centered on a theme chosen by the blogfest’s host.  The host, or hosts, make an announcement as to what the blogfest is called, what the theme is, and when it will occur.  At the bottom of the post, will be a link list.  If you wish to join, put in information about you and your blog. Then post on your own blog about the blogfest, so your readers know what to expect, and add a badge to your side bar announcing your participation. The badge will be on the host’s post about the blogfest.

So what do I do in a blogfest?

You post, just like you would any other day, but on a preselected topic. 

I'm Hearing Voices! BlogfestCredit: authors, many of the blogfests involve writing prompts, such as the I’m Hearing Voices blogfest where participants were to write mini stories and interactions with their character.  Others, like Five Sentence Fiction, involve a giving a single word prompt and having participants write a five sentence story about it.

Other blogfests are focused on building community.  The Insecure Writers Group is a blogfest where the first Wednesday of each month, members post about their fears and insecurities of the writing life. The Writers’ Platform Building Campaign focuses on networking between authors.

In either case, you write your post and publish it on the day indicated by the host.  Some blogfests are a one-time thing, lasting a single day or a single week, others are reoccurring on a weekly or Are You Writing Now?Credit: Gwen Toliosmonthly basis.

Signing up for a blogfest does not mean you have to participate. The announcement of blogfests can be over a month before the scheduled date; life sometimes gets in the way or we just plan forgot. There’s not penalty for this.  You just don’t get any of the benefits of participating.

What are the benefits of a blogfest?

Number one is traffic.  It’s common practice for those participating in a blogfest to visit the site of other participators.  The number of followers I have increases greatly during each blogfest. 

Number two is networking. By visiting other blogs, you’ll meet new people, learn new things, and discover new opportunities.

Three – prizes.  These are quite common for prompt fests, and prizes range from free books to critiques of your story.  Other times, it’s simply a site badge and publicity.  Prizes are awarded by the host, and are announced on his or her site normally a week later. It depends on how many people signed up. I’ve seen blogfests with only twenty members, and then others with over seven hundred. Though at that number it’s almost impossible to award a prize because you can’t get through all of them in a reasonable amount of time.

Are blogfests only for authors?  

No, but there’s a lot geared toward them.  There are however very generic ones, like the A-Z Challenge.  In its third year, the goal is to write a post every weekday in April based on themes going down the alphabet. So on the 1st, you write about something that starts with A, on the 2nd, something that starts with B.

Author blogs are just one niche. There’s blogfests centered on animals, blogging, fashion, 80s love, and movies.  And if you think there’s a lack in a blogfest for a typical subject, just create one. How else did all the ones today get started?