open door

Hello! Thanks for checking out my site and my work.

As you may have gathered from my About page, I’m a travel writer, bumbling outdoorsman and huge fan of independent, curiosity-driven travel adventures. I’m also able to do some of these things because I work with other people – and if you’ve clicked through to this page, I’m guessing you’re interested in becoming one of them.

(Or, you’re nosy. That’s an equally valid reason to be here as well).

If you have a query on advertising or promotion, skip to the bottom half of this page. Thanks!

For any other queries, drop me an e-mail at hunter.sowden AT – or use the contact form below:

    • Vintage Storefront by Vintage Collective - Flickr

On Fevered Mutterings and Advertising

The short version:

I don’t run sponsored posts (aka. paid guest posts) – sorry. I’d love to do advertising if it’s a really good fit for my site and my audience, but only if I can personally recommend the product or service itself, which is my policy with all the affiliate links I use here. That’s my line, and sticking to it makes me feel ethical and respectful to anyone kind enough to read my work, so please don’t offer me something that’s an attempt to compromise these principles, or I might get cranky. Ta.

The longer version:

My website has been around for a while and I’ve had some high-trafficked posts – so I get a lot of e-mails about advertising (and, uh, “advertising”).

When really insultingly terrible ones arrive in my Inbox, I reply with a link to this article, which includes the following image:

the pitching game

(I know. This makes me a bad person. But these days I’m a bad person with less spammy email “pitches”, so it’s a useful tradeoff.)

Until recently, I had a brisk, information-heavy advertising page. Then I rewrote it. Partly because I’m neither brisk nor information-heavy, but mainly because I’m not interested in making money in ways I’m not fully engaged with.

Almost all of the things I’ve found most successful, most lucrative and most vocationally rewarding in the long run are things I’ve enjoyed and truly believed in. So I’m sticking with that as a strategy.

This blog is about travel, adventurous storytelling, creative writing and the transformative value of failure and of looking enormously stupid in front of strangers (because this is how I seem to travel. You have to work with what you’re given).

My guiding principles include:

I’m fascinated by why people travel. I’m in love with the endlessly compelling nature of the world that meets you when you leave your front door (even if you’re just popping out to get a pint of milk). I love technology, but I’m also a traditionalist, and I get cranky when people suggest they’re mutually exclusiveI like long conversations filled with ideas that might just workI believe in people in the general sense, and Greek food in the really specific, hands-on, pushing-into-my-face sense. And a bazillion other things.

If what you’re approaching me with intersects with any of these interests, you immediately have my attention. Yay!

If not, please be aware of the following:

1. Sponsored posts

Pieces of writing written by someone else, built around hyperlinks, which I’d get paid money to publish – or pieces written by me, but following a script given to me by someone else, so I’m promoting their stuff and/or improving their visibility in Google search, via the links in said article.

I don’t do ’em now. End of story. Sorry.

The main reason is simple: I’ve found they just don’t work.

(Plus, they make me feel bad.)

Yes, I’d get paid for them, but this blog isn’t primarily about getting paid – it’s about helping people with things I find interesting and useful, with my own income dependent on tackling that primary goal in the right way.

(Call me idealistic, but I think it’s possible to make a decent living from blogging by putting your readers first, not your sponsors).

Problem is, most offers I’ve received for paid sponsored content offered nothing that my readers would care about – sometimes nothing that anyone could conceivably care about – and almost every time I’ve done sponsored work because it seemed to be a good fit for my site, I’ve found that most readers see the word “sponsored” and tune out.

If I ran sponsored content all the time, I think I’d be doing this to my blog:


So I’m now trying to avoid that fate at all costs. I am being very clear and intentional about who my audience is and what I’m trying to give them, and by my reckoning, around 95% of those readers couldn’t give a flaming shit about sponsored content.

Therefore I’m tailoring my work accordingly.


2. Paid links designed to pass Page Rank

Nope, sorry. Not those either, for similar reasons – but also because I’m not interested in playing chicken with Google’s guidelines.

3. Guest posts

In theory, absolutely, yes please.

If you approach me with a fascinating and fun idea for a post that is totally aligned with what this site is all about (see further up this page), I’d love to hear from you. I can’t pay for it, but if you’re looking for some (modest) exposure or to just strike up an interesting conversation with my readers on a topic they’d care about, ping me – I’d really love that. Bowled over, I’d be.

But in practice…I get lots of e-mails from marketers offering guest posts on “any topic I like”, offered to me “for free”, containing “just one” link to a client’s website – in other words, the words of the post are deemed irrelevant, because what is being offered is the chance to publish a hyperlink designed to game Google, for which I’d get paid.

Ha. Nope.

If you’re not pitching a specific guest post idea to me, please know you’re wasting your time. If it’s irrelevant to the content of Fevered Mutterings, it’s irrelevant to its audience and I’ll immediately say No, so you’re wasting your time. If it’s a painfully transparent attempt to boost someone else’s Google rankings without offering me anything of value, it’s a total waste of your time.

I got so annoyed at receiving these types of e-mails that I turned them into a game.

Seriously, I’m not daft.

Don’t waste your time – or mine.

4. Paid Destination Promotion Work

I’ve done it, I’ve worked with some truly terrific people, I’m proud of the work I’ve done (for example, this post) – and because it feels way too close to being “sponsored posts”, and because I’m not smart enough to separate the two in my so-called mind…

I’ve decided to stop doing this kind of stuff, at least for now.

Thanks, but not my thing.

4. Product / service reviews

Absolutely, if I’m not snowed under with other work, which is why I very rarely run reviews. But I do occasionally run them. Take this, for example. Fantastic little thing – I’m still using it.

I will always give a thorough and honest review of anything that comes my way, and I will always speak my mind, including giving constructive criticism.

However, I’m only interested in reviewing products and services that fit the readers of this site (and that therefore fit me), and I cannot run a review without disclosing that I’ve been offered that product or service for trial purposes. If I’m getting anything out of a business relationship and it affects what I write in this blogs, I make sure my readers know about it.

Please don’t ask me to bend these rules – I’ll probably get snotty with you.

I also get a lot of requests from new travel-based startups asking if I could give my thoughts on their new app, maybe add a few posts/reviews/links of my own into their product to get some exposure. I almost always can’t, because they’re asking me to do unpaid work, and being a blogger I have plenty of unpaid work already, thanks.

If you really want to get my attention, approach me as one professional to another, with a business proposal that benefits both sides in a meaningful way.

If you did that, I guarantee I’d get straight back to you.

5. Sidebar / banner advertising

Yes – if that advertising is a really good fit with what this site is about.

Please note that I don’t run pop-ups (other than my own promoting my free storytelling course), and I won’t link to pharmaceutical products, tobacco, alcohol, pornography, gambling or anything to do with Dan Brown.



Image: Vintage Collective.