29 Oct

Balancing Writing and Promotion by Memoir Writer Eleanor Vincent (giveaway)

Swimming With Maya CoverWe are so excited to have memoir writer extraordinaire Eleanor Vincent with us today, as she shares insights about “Balancing Writing with Promotional Activities” and offers a giveaway for her incredibly moving memoir Swimming with Maya.

Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story tells the heartbreaking story of how Eleanor, a bestselling author, faced every mother’s worst nightmare–her 19-year-old daughter Maya mounts a horse bareback on a dare, falls, and goes into a coma, which she never wakes up from. Eleanor decides to donate her daughter’s organs, and eventually hears her daughter’s heart beat in another chest. Life can be so incredible, and a mother’s strength is absolutely amazing.

Eleanor has wisdom upon wisdom to share with all of us today–but since most of us are writers–here’s her take on the balance between marketing and writing. And if you would like to read Eleanor’s inspirational memoir, then please enter in the Rafflecopter form below.

And now onto Eleanor:

In our hyperconnected, ping-me-now world, an author’s work is never done. You could spend 24/7 promoting your book and never check off every task.

So how do you keep your writing vital and alive while also promoting a book?

Since Dream of Things reissued my memoir, Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story, it’s been a whirlwind. And yet, somehow I’ve completed the last chapter of my new book, written several long essays, and a few shorter ones, as well as a raft of blog posts.
While I haven’t found an answer to the balance question, I have stumbled upon a few strategies. Those of you who follow the Literary Ladies blog can probably add some ideas of your own to my list. Give my “top 5” a try!

Eleanor Vincent Head Shot

Eleanor Vincent

I block out entire days when I do no promotional activity. To really drop into my writing, I need to focus. Facebook posting and composing e-mail blasts create the opposite for me – a state of hyperalert multitasking that is the polar opposite of deep concentration. If writing makes me happy (or at least content), I prioritize it over marketing and platform building. It helps that my writing group meets monthly, so I have people expecting me to show up with new writing.

Set goals and deadlines

I write my goals for the month in my day planner at the beginning of each month. I now set a daily target of 300 words, a strategy I learned from members of my writing group. I don’t make my target every day, but even if I hit it several times a week, that’s good output. I make dates with myself to write, and do my best to keep them.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

I’ve learned I can’t do or be it all, so my new motto is “good enough.” Today, I’m a good enough author if I do one Facebook post or update my author page on Amazon, or respond to one reader review or e-mail. I’m juggling so many balls, I’m always in danger of dropping one, so I’ve learned to accept less than perfection. Aiming for the silver rather than the gold standard makes me a happier person.

Take frequent breaks

Sometimes, I just have to get out of Dodge. Whether it’s a walk in the Redwoods, a cup of tea at a favorite café, or a weekend away in a beautiful place, I take breaks from my day-to-day routine. Promoting a book takes a tremendous amount of energy, and writing at the same time burns a prodigious number of brain cells, so down time is vital.

Maya as a teen

Maya as a teen

Have fun!

I always dreamed of being a writer. When I was younger, I thought that only men who lived in Manhattan got to do that. Now I know differently. I enjoy saying, “Yes” to my dreams. Being an author – a published writer who does the necessary marketing and platform building – is a great honor. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself of that.

Balance is elusive. Finding it while promoting your book and writing your next one is a delicate dance. Do it with happy feet!

Thank you to the Lit Ladies for hosting me today.

Buy Swimming With Maya on Indiebound.org!

Thank you, Eleanor, for all of your wise advice. Okay, readers, use the Rafflecopter form below to enter to win Eleanor’s memoir: Swimming with Maya.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  • Great post. I love memoirs. This one seems particularly touching. I’m so sorry for your loss and admire the honesty, pain and celebration it must have been to pull this book together and share your story and love and hope to others.

    Great tips on the promotional aspect too. I’m not there yet, but soak in all this advice for when I am there.

  • Eleanor:
    Thank you for the great advice. I am having such a hard time with the balance between writing, promoting, and then doing the work that pays the bills. :) I am committed to doing NaNoWriMO though, so hopefully that will get me into some good routines. Thanks again for coming on our blog. You are amazing and so strong!

  • Thank you, Eleanor, for your writing insight on juggling writing and promoting yourself and your work. As life has a way of nudging itself in on every writers writing life, we all sometimes have trouble staying focused. At least I do! So, I’m ALWAYS on the lookout for tips that help me to do just that. Recently, I’ve created a Dry-Erase board that I’ve sectioned off in two columns: Things To Do Today and Monthly Goals. This helps me to see at a glance what is on my agenda. I’ve tried putting it into notebooks, my phone, my computer, yada, yada. But I like seeing it “in my face!” when I sit down at my desk each day!

    I have to say, too, that as a mom of five, I physically hurt in reading about the loss of your daughter. I cannot imagine your loss. Thank you for sharing this very personal journey. I cannot wait to read it.

    • Donna, thanks for stopping by and adding your tip. I love that idea. Now I just need to sell my house and buy one with an office! Although this winter, I swear that I am cleaning out that closet downstairs. . .:)

So, what do you think?