Reaching Out to Readers on Social Media

Welcome to meryl’s notes blog (this here place you’re lookin’ at) in Plano, Texas. We’re honored to be a stop in Eleanor Vincent’s WOW! Women On Writing Blog tour.

Swimming with Maya bookReaching Out to Readers on Social Media by Eleanor Vincent

In an age when you can download a book to your e-reader in 9 seconds that costs less than the movie playing at your local Multiplex, what is the relationship between readers and writers? Judging from the 80-plus reviews of my book on the Swimming with Maya [affiliate] Amazon page,  it has the potential to be closer than ever.

In the nine years since the book was first published as a beautiful but pricey hardback, the landscape has changed dramatically. As I writer, I see this most vividly in the ease with which readers can now buy the book and communicate with me about how it has affected them. Blogs like Meryl’s make it even easier to connect directly.

The digital edition of Swimming with Maya has been downloaded approximately 20,760 times — that is ten times the number of readers of the hardback edition. Early in August, the book made the e-book edition of the New York Times bestseller list. Wow!

As I write this, Swimming with Maya in the 10th position on the Goodreads list of Bonds Between Mothers and Daughters.

Please visit the list and add your vote. This is just one way readers can weigh in directly!
When a writer has poured her life out on the page as I did in this memoir, it is gratifying to hear that readers are moved, or that their own lives have been changed. Not all readers react favorably, of course. Because of the immediacy of digital media I can hear exactly what they don’t like, which is valuable information.

If someone feels strongly enough to review my book — be it positive or not — I’m in the very privileged position of having readers who care enough to comment.

Like this recent review from my Amazon page: “What an incredibly powerful book. Both about the pain of losing a child and what it means to be human.”

Somebody really gets it! Swimming with Maya is a story about life — even though the trigger for telling the story was the death of my older daughter. It is about how life knocks all of us down and what it takes to get back up again.

Or this one: “I have a daughter who is like Maya was in many ways. Eerily, she is the same age now as Maya was when she died. This book made me realize how much I really love my daughter. I don’t think I will have any trouble showing her anymore.

“Affecting how someone relates to her daughter is about as high an honor as I can imagine. I was so moved by the recent batch of reader reviews on Amazon that I am responding to each one. I am sincerely blown away by some of the reader comments and touched that those 90,000 words I sweated bullets over for almost 10 years are out there in the world making a difference in people’s lives.

E-books are making books available to people who might never have had such easy access before. It’s a trend I welcome. Don’t get me wrong. If you feel moved to buy the paperback as a gift for yourself or someone else, I’ll be equally happy. Please be sure to write a review or send me an email. Readers and writers need one another — so keep the comments coming. And please enter to win a copy of Swimming with Maya.

Thanks to Meryl for hosting me today.

About the Author
Eleanor Vincent photoEleanor Vincent is an award-winning writer whose debut memoir, Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story, was nominated for the Independent Publisher Book Award and was reissued by Dream of Things press in 2013. She writes about love, loss, and grief recovery with a special focus on the challenges and joys of raising children at any age.

Eleanor has been a national spokesperson on grief recovery and organ donation, appearing on CNN and San Francisco’s Evening Magazine. She has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, and been interviewed on radio and television programs around the country.

Called “engaging” by BooklistSwimming with Maya chronicles the life and death of Eleanor’s nineteen-year-old daughter, Maya, who was thrown from a horse and pronounced brain-dead at the hospital. Eleanor donated her daughter’s organs to critically ill patients and poignantly describes her friendship with a middle-aged man who was the recipient of Maya’s heart.

11 thoughts on “Reaching Out to Readers on Social Media”

  1. Eleanor, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to lose a child. I have seen how it devastates the family in so many different ways.
    My case is a little different. I found out when I was in my early 20s that I would not be able to have children. I never really had a chance to mourn and I probably should have gone through some counselling at the time. I have learned over the years that you just have to work through the card that you are dealt and keep moving foward. I feel blessed to have wonderful nieces and nephews that I can spoil. That’s really impotant to me.

  2. Eleanor,
    I have a friend who lost her son to cancer. He was only 12 years old. I’m going to read this book and pass it along to my girlfriend. I lost my Mom when I was 27 and it was the hardest time in my life. Now as a Mom I try to show my boys love each and every day.

  3. Eleanor, thank you so much for sharing your heart with others. I have had many losses including my parents and husband. Each different, all painful but yet a reminder that to feel a loss deeply is to have loved deeply, and what a beautiful gift it is to have the capacity to open your heart to another. I have known those who have lost a child and cannot imagine the heartache. I look forward to reading your book.

  4. My heart was in my throat 30 seconds into this post. Losing a child is the most terrifying thing I can imagine. In fact, I cannot imagine it. My brain sits down when I try.
    This will be the kind of story I will have to pace myself with. Our son was 2 months premature in an otherwise perfect, textbook pregnancy. No cause ever identified, just one day boom! Here he was. He was so small and helpless. He is with us and healthy now, but the experience has left me raw for a lifetime. I look forward to timidly reading your story.

  5. It’s so hard to hear about people losing their children. Most of the time we don’t understand why it happens, but believe there’s a reason — we just don’t know it. In your case, Eleanor, it sounds like donating Maya’s organs to help others was a big part especially since you befriended one of the recipients. Thanks for sharing your story.

  6. Auntebook – thanks for your comments – I am so glad you have nieces & nephews. There are so many children in this world who need love. You have suffered a loss of a cherished dream. I wish you well on your journey.

  7. Kay,
    Thanks for your comments. Yes, the decision to donate made a huge difference for me and my family. It brought something miraculous out of tragedy. I may never know the “reason” for Maya’s death, but it did bring new purpose to mine.

  8. Reaching out to readers is extremely important. That’s because you let them know that you’re a real and relate-able person. Nowadays, this has become more important than ever.


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