It doesn't seem like a radical concept until you get your first publishing contract. I had no idea just how many authors were out there until I joined Facebook groups for other writers. The first rule in every one of these groups?
Rule: Don't promote yourself. No spam.
As authors, we're told that we have to put ourselves out there constantly. But sometimes many of us can take it overboard and constantly spam our followers with, "Buy my book posts." And these never work.
What does work? Helping other authors.
Sounds counterintuitive, right? Why would we promote someone else if we need to promote our own books? Trust me, it sounds backwards, but if you only lift yourself up, you'll find you have a long way to fall.
What Happens When Writers Help Each Other?
An often quoted experiment goes like this. An elementary school filled a hallway with balloons. Each balloon had the name of a different child. For the first trial, they told the kids they had five minutes to find their name. Utter chaos erupted. By the end of the five minutes, many balloons still didn't have owners.
For trial two, they told the kids to find the name of someone else and hand them their balloon. What happened? Everyone had a balloon long before the time expired.
When we support other authors, authors tend to support us in turn. We tend to help each other out.
But I can tell when an author simply wants to promote themselves.
Telltale Signs You Have a Non-Uplifting Author in Your Midst
So how do you differentiate between the uplifting authors and the ones who will take you down no matter what the cost?
Check their posts
Do they spam followers with "buy my book" posts. In groups, do they promote other authors, or just themselves. Social media tends to reveal our hearts.
Check their invites
Do they friend request you simply to invite you to like their author page moments after you click accept? No one likes users. All of us authors are in the same boat. So if they use you immediately, unfriend them.
Check their reviews
Do they review books at all on Goodreads and Amazon? Authors support other authors by, at the least, giving ratings on Goodreads.
However, if you run into an author who regularly promotes other authors and supports them through blog posts, reviews, and shares in their story, you have probably run into someone who understands that to be lifted up, you must lift someone up.
Why Does This Matter?
We all have stories to share. People have differing perspectives from us. So we should advocate for those voices to be heard. I can't tell you the number of people who want to "pick my brain" and get free book coaching about publishing but won't even willingly purchase an ebook from me for the price of a cup of coffee.
Beware the writers who don't promote and lift up others. But welcome with open arms the ones who cheer on their author friends when they achieve successes.