BE MY GUEST: Why Should Authors Blog? By Terra Harmony

These days, it seems like everyone has a blog! Most of the book bloggers (like me!) read and review books and like to promote “Indie” authors by spreading the word about their books through interviews, guest posts and giveaways. But is it enough for an author to market his/her book to the readers? Maybe not! That is why, more and more authors are plunging into the realm of blogging and love to interact with their customers/readers directly through daily blog posts, building fan base much quicker than before!

So, should writers blog? Is it important for authors to have a blog if they want to be “noticed” and survive in this harsh competitive publishing industry where a new writer is born every minute? This is the question I asked Terra Harmony, a debut “Indie” author who blogs about her self-publishing experience. Read what she has to say on this topic. You can always be a part of the discussion by adding comments!

Authors: To Blog or Not to Blog? 

By Author: Terra Harmony 
That is not the question. The question should be more like: Do I start now or five minutes from now? Do I use Wordpress or Blogspot? Do I take the time to put on pants before I set up my blog? Of all the social media tools available to authors, blogging:

- is free

- is easy

- keeps you writing

- gets you networking

- gets you feedback

The first step is to establish your blog's purpose. Does it exist solely to promote your work? Do you plan to join the writing community by blogging the 'how-to's'? Do you intend to share your experiences with writing? Of course, you can do some cross-over, but sticking to the purpose of the blog will result in a steady base of subscribers.

I blog about the self-publishing process. Spawned by the realization that I have a bad memory, I use it to keep track of each step so when I repeat the process, I refer to the blog. As I became aware of the incredibly supportive indie author community, I wanted to contribute. My blog now consists of formatting manuals for Smashwords, Kindle, and Nook, a list of fantasy book review blogger sites, sample contracts for cover artwork, helpful twitter links, instructions on sending out review requests, how to garner attention on reader sites and other creative marketing ideas. When I published my second ebook and what will soon to be my third, I find myself constantly referring back to my blog for information, and hope others do too.

Of course, it would be a wasted opportunity not to at least mention my books, so I keep the cover art and links in a conspicuous place. I have also found keeping links to blog hops toward the top of the site increases subscribers on my blog as well as my book sales.

List of things writers "must" take care of while blogging:

- Be engaging. Give your readers a reason to participate, respond, and react.

- Be responsive. If readers take the time to make a comment; take the time to acknowledge them. Even a quick, 'hey – thanks for the comment' will go a long way.

- Be available. Include information on how to get in touch with you. Give them a way to contact you via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

- Be helpful. Readers (unless they are completely infatuated with you), don't want to constantly hear about how much coffee you drank to stay awake to finish that chapter or how cute your cat is. They want information they can use – like links to great giveaways, news about the industry or how to resolve all those pesky e-pub error codes (a planned future blog post of mine by the way).

- Be entertaining. Visiting your blog shouldn't be a chore, even if your readers are all business. Make it fun for them!

So, have you signed up for a blog yet? Remember, pants are not a requirement.

About the Author:

Terra is a debut author with one novel, 'Water', a contemporary eco-fantasy, self-published as an e-book. Its sequel, 'Air', will be published at the beginning of 2012, followed by three more novels to complete the Akasha Series. Terra also currently has one short story, Gleaming White, a vampire paranormal romance, self-published as an e-book. The prequel, Streaks of Red, will be published in November 2011, followed by three more short stories to complete the Kindred Curse Anthology.

Terra was born and raised in Colorado but has since lived in California, Texas, Utah, North Carolina, and Virginia. Terra has served more than 5 years enlistment in the Marine Corp. She presently runs the language services division of a small business.

Connect with Terra:

E-mail: terra.harmony11@gmail.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/terraharmony

Blog: http://harmonylit.wordpress.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/harmonygirlit

About the Book:

Elemental powers in the palm of her hand…and it won't be enough to save her. When Kaitlyn Alder is involuntarily introduced to a life of magic, she becomes part of an organization hell-bent on saving the Earth. Just as her newfound life holds promises of purpose, romance and friendship, the organization divides and a rogue member holds Kaitlyn hostage. Now one of the most terrifying men the human race has to offer stands between her and Earth's survival. 

Links to purchase the book:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Water-The-Akasha-Series-ebook/dp/B005PY2U8Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317477359&sr=8-1

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/92109

(Please ensure the 'adult filter' at the top right hand corner of the screen is turned off).

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/water-terra-wathen/1105957997?ean=2940013322226&itm=1&usri=water%2bterra

Are you an author (published/struggling/aspiring)? Do you blog? How has it added to your overall writing experience? Do you think you sell more books if you have a wider fan base on your blog? Have your say in the comments section below! 


  1. Thanks Terra, and The Review Girl, great post. You're right, it's not a question of 'if' but 'when' you'll start a blog. Although the existing review blogs like The Review Girl's are amazing at helping to raise our profile, limited space and multiple writers means less frequent coverage for any one writer. Having a blog gives us a more frequent, and hopefully useful/fun/engaging way to interact with fans.

    I'm still getting to grips with blogging, and just recently started mine because I'm writing my current book interactively with readers - the more the merrier so I hope lots of women will join me! It's so fun to engage on a daily basis with such lovely people. I encourage all writers to do so!

  2. Hi Terra,
    What a fantastic blog! This is one of the most comprehensive and user-friendly guides to blogging itself that I've come across. (I only started blogging myself about 2 weeks ago.) How are your book sales going? I will soon be looking into the self-pub process myself. Will be buying that book on Amazon, too.

    Lisa (a fellow She Writes-er)

  3. Yes, I'm a published author, and yes, I blog!

    I have three. My main blog: Anne K. Albert, plus one for each of my series: Muriel Reeves Mysteries, & Piedmont Island Trilogy.

    Blogging is a great way to connect with readers and build an online presence. Like any author, I want to sell my books, of course. But I blog because it's fun.

    I love the immediacy and interaction that results because of a blog post. It's a joy to chat with someone who lives around the corner or halfway around the world. It's even better when we realize we share something in common--books.

    Happy writing!

  4. I agree that it's important to blog. You need to provide good content, and not just push your books. That said, it makes sense to have buy buttons for your novels on your side banner. Terra, your book cover is beautiful! That's an important sales factor that you totally did right!

  5. I agree! I think bloggers are a good way to get your name out there. I am not a writing but I can only imagine just how hard it is to get your book noticied. Everything is so competitve these days!
    -Newest follower from hop

  6. I believe a personal blog takes much commitment to maintain. What I choose to do is guest blog on various sites, with one commitment to Buried Under Books.

    However, I do believe blogging gives authors an opportunity to display their "voice" and can make readers seek out their novels as a result.

    I have something called "The Posse" which is a marketing group. When I find blogs such as this one that can expand their knowledge of the industry, I recommend they read it. I also put the link up on my website under Posse Posts. I don't waste their time with sites that only promote the blogger's books or chat about their personal life. We all have so little time, I think we have to use it wisely.

  7. Hi Komal! Thanks so much for allowing me to guest post! Looking forward to your readers comments!

  8. I agree -- it almost makes no sense not to blog if you're a writer. For me, the decision began with the realization that I needed an online presence. I created a separate page for/about my book, with my primary blog focus being essay-type posts on what I observe, what moves me, what's timely, etc. It's an evolving process, and it takes time to build a following. While I don't blog every day, or even every week, I do try not to let too much time go between posts. Thank you, Komal, for this wonderful introduction to Terra Harmony.

  9. Hello! What a great post. I'm the author of Flirting in Spanish: What Mexico taught me about love, living and forgiveness, published by Antaeus Books in 2011. I couldn't imagine not blogging! For all of the reasons mentioned above - it's free, it keeps me writing, it hopefully reaches out to a community who might want to read my work. My other purpose is to reveal the Mexico in which I live. I talk about la vida cotidiana in San Miguel de Allende - daily life, that is. I want to counteract the news of drug gang activity that is not balanced with other news from Mexico in the US media. I want people to know about my sweet and beautiful town, and how it is to live here and raise bicultural teenaged girls. Besides only broadcasting news, I want to hook readers too to read my memoir, and the next book I am writing which covers shamans and supernatural activity in our Mexican lives! I talk a little bit about writing and about my book, but mostly I promote Mexico with simple true stories.
    If you read today's post (please do!
    www.sueinsanmigueldeallende.blogspot.com) you might want to scroll back to the December 2 post, in which I detail how I was woken that day by 3 pinches on the ankle even though there was nobody in my room.
    Thanks for inviting my comment! I love book review blogs!
    Susan McKinney de Ortega
    www.sueinsanmigueldeallende.blogspot.com (Follows always welcome!)

  10. Great post, sounds like an amazing resource too.

  11. Awesome! The Cover is amazing;x

    I just downloaded a sample of the book ;x

    Not yet , but i do want someday to write a book :D

  12. Hello All Commentators,

    Wonderful insights from all of you.
    I agree with Anne on "immediacy and interaction resulting from a blog post", being a blogger I can relate to it.

    As Deborah puts it, it is also true that it takes "time" to build a following, same thoughts shared by Sunny. But I think that its "worth the time and effort" if you gain a loyal readership. If they love your writing style, be it a blog post or your own book, readers will be more inclined to read/buy it.

    Thanks to Terra for dropping by!:) It is great to host you on my blog, I hope you will follow-up on the comments pouring in.

    Readers: I am excited to see more comments, keep them coming!:)

  13. Not published yet - so I am not flogging my own books - but I am blogging. Enjoying the process, e-meeting (and sometimes, in person meeting) other writers, finding all kinds of great tips because I follow a comment to a new blog with great material... Totally worth it.

  14. There are a lot of blogs out there and sometimes it's hard to keep up with them all! I think it's great though that authors are also starting to blog - quite often they give away pieces of advice on how to structure stories, find inspiration etc. The more the better in my opinion!

    Great post with this one!

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair

  15. I think in this day and age, if you are a writer who doesn't blog, readers will wonder why. They want to know more about their favorite authors, from new projects they are working on, how they come up with writing ideas, how to overcome writer's block, etc. Simply blogging; however, is not enough. Blogging authors need to contact book bloggers as well as other author bloggers to make those vital connections to potential audiences. I like the idea of the book blog tours and giveaways. There are so many great ideas out there. Book Blogs, Goodreads, Facebook and even Amazon are great places to start. On days where you don't have a lot to say, Tweet something on Twitter. I have my Tweets go to LinkedIn as well as Facebook. My blog posts also go to Goodreads.

  16. I am a published author, in Serbia, and I have a blog in Serbian which is mostly about inspiration for writing and stories which come out from that inspiration. It doesn't really help me sell books, but it's fun, and has a decent number of views. I plan to self-publish in English, so there's the blog in English too, and I hope to get some followers there; it might help once I get to publishing.

  17. First, thanks for the interesting feature, Terra. I've followed you on Twitter and 'Liked' your FB page. Your blog is full of imagination.
    Now, to answer the question.
    I've been blogging for about 18 months and began by featuring other authors along with my own work. After completing 110 author interviews, I decided that now was the time to concentrate a little more on my own work. Currently, I'm giving readers the chance to read my published novel free on the blog, in weekly instalments. I'm also doing a weekly feature around the writing process and will do a weekly post on my writing activity for the preceding week. I used to run a daily word spot, but there are so many of these, and the amount of work was too demanding, so I've stopped that now.
    Anyone interested can find me at http://stuartaken.blogspot.com/

  18. I do not write books but i do love blogging:)
    I am now following you from the hop and would love a follow back over at http://mizzreviewlady-mommyreviews.blogspot.com/

  19. I am an author (A SPY AT HOME and HAZARDOUS CHOICES, ebooks available on Amazon, etc.), and I blog. I think blogging is harder than writing a whole book! It's much more personal, much harder to find topics to blog about, and you never know if anyone reads it unless they comment (which they don't do often enough, in my opinion). I don't enjoy blogging as much as writing my books, but I know it's important. I do enjoy reading other people's blogs, because sometimes I get an insight into what I should blog about (not plagiarism, I promise). So that's good. Also, some of them are really a hoot! So that's good, too! Blogging is a necessary "evil". :)

  20. Thanks Beverly, Megan, angel, Kathleen, Stuart, Mizz and jmrinaldo for sharing your views on blogging as an author and liking this featured post. You guys have come up with interesting observations and tips. Thanks for participating in the discussion.

    I really like the idea of making full use of social networking sites like twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads and even Amazon to market your books, as put forth by Kathleen. There are discussion forums for writers on Amazon as well, in which you can talk to other writers and take tips/suggestions from them. It is always good to be part of the circle that has same needs as you.

    I have checked your blog, Stuart. I think it is great idea to give your readers a chance into reading your book for free. It is also a good idea for a debut author who is trying to familiarize his/her writing with the readers.

    @jmrinaldo: Your words make me smile! Like always, very honest and smart approach!:) I have to agree, blogging is a devilish task, but nonetheless essential if we want to survive and be a part of this digital age. Some may think it is a desperate plea for attention but I think it offers a great learning curve especially if you want to succeed as a member of a writing/publishing industry. Good luck with your blogging!

  21. I, like many others, do not yet have a published work, but have started blogging in the same style as my book would be written in order to get an idea of whether or not people are even interested in my writing before I go to all the trouble of pounding out a full-length book.

    I am getting good response to my blog so far and have done little promotion, so it is energizing me to someday make "the big move" whether that be e-book or traditional publishing.

    I also love meeting other writers through my blog! Twenty years ago, there would have been no opportunity to talk to someone in Serbia, Alaska, or France - now, we can interact daily through forums such as this one, a simple question thread weaving our collective fabric as writers together. As writers, we do have an innate desire to be read. The blog is a perfect way to get your feet wet, sticking in just one toe at a time until you feel like taking the plunge into deeper waters. Can you be consistent? Engaging? Entertaining?

    Personally, if I have made even one person laugh or leave a comment, I feel I have done my job as a blogger that day. I reached someone. I don't know any of the people who follow or comment on my blog and that amazes me. Getting feedback from virtual strangers is far better than getting feedback from your family and friends, who will lie straight to your face and tell you you're awesome ;0) I so enjoy meeting everyone (hello Beverly and Claire, SheWrites friends!) and sharing in the awesome experience of being a writer. Even if I don't go any further than I already have with my writing career, I feel fulfilled. Blogging has been a most wonderful experience for me!

  22. I blog for all the reasons Terra mentioned plus, I think it contributes to an author's platform. I have four blogs. I try to post on each at least once a week or more. I love blogging and always find the time, along with all my other writerly tasks.

  23. It's important to blog. Gone are the days where writers wrote, and their publishers sold. We are our brand, and we need to get the word out that we write so what better way than a blog?

    I love blogging. I love visiting other blogs, and meeting other like-minded people. It's opened a whole new world to me.

    On my blog I share my blogspace with other writers (a bit like here), offer tips on writing, accept guestposts. It's like having my own magazine!

  24. @Cindy: Thanks for giving us an insight into why and how you use your blog for polishing your writing skills. I must say it takes guts to take the good and bad criticism in one good stride as readers judge your writing. I visited and liked your blog, wish you all the best!:)

    @Nancy and Louise: Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts with my readers. I also love to visit other blogs and comment on their posts, because being a blogger, I understand how "happy" and "satisfied" it makes the writer, if someone puts happy thoughts in your comment box.

  25. Excellent post. I agree that blogging is an essential part of an author's platform--probably the most important element. And you've mapped out the basics--offer useful information and engage with readers. Just tooting your own horn or navel-gazing won't do the job unless you're already wildly famous. And yes! Do provide an email address. My publishers found me through my blog, as did a number of important contacts who have helped my career. Without contact information, you're wasting your time.

  26. Gorgeous cover. I love that she's following the four elements, kind of like Avatar: The Last Airbender. I know it sounds crazy, but I love that animated series! Makes me curious about this book, too :)

  27. I have a blog which I started well before the book, but with the book in mind. I have a loyal group of followers (will always welcome more, of course).

    I think I do all of Terra's tips, as best I can. I am still writing (31,500 words drafted of about 120,000 target), so hopefully I am on the right track.

    Thanks for making me feel "OK" about how I am tracking!

  28. Thanks for taking the time to comment on the post, everyone! If you don't have a book out yet, blogging is a great way to build a fan base first!

    Also a big thanks for the compliments on my cover. The next book in my series, 'Air' will be released and I am doing a big reveal on the cover later this month!

  29. I think the subject of blogging depends on the individual author. I'm an author and I used to blog back in 2006 but I became too busy to keep it up so I stopped having a blog. I don't think all authors have to maintain their own blog. They can do guest posts like I do. I might not have my own blog but I guest posts on many blogs all the time and that's better for me because it fits into my schedule.

    Blogging took too much of my writing time away. I was one that posted every single day and it just got to where it was getting in the way. Some people just don't have the time to focus on a blog. I didn't wanna be one of those bloggers who just ditch their blog for months and months. If you can't keep your blog up to date then it's unfair to your audience. I think if you can maintain a blog and want to, that's good but I don't think all authors have to blog. It's all about what works for you. If you don't have the time to give a blog proper dedication then you shouldn't do it at all.

    Also I think with the arrival of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks there are tons of ways for authors to connect with readers. I connect with readers through Facebook but also through my own web site. People come across my site or read my books and contact me. Word of mouth comes in many ways and it's not either or. Blogging is not a necessity to reach fans and readers. There are many ways to do that online.

    Best Wishes!


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