Monday, February 13, 2012

Help Me, Help You

I’ve been Twittin’ it pretty hardcore as of late.  Facebookin’ a little too.  And beating the hell out of the blogosphere.  If there’s a limit on how many kilobytes you’re allowed to consume before the Internet Police break down your door with a camera crew in tow and drag your baggy-jeaned ass on to the lawn and confiscate your still-warm PC while you weakly protest, “That ain’t mine!”, then I’m guessing I’m pretty close to a televised smackdown.
Watch your local listings for that.
As much time and effort as I’ve been dropping into my version of Shameless Self-Promotion, I’ve also been doing my fair share of Pride-driven Others-Promotion.  Some of you might think this counterproductive, and the thought has occurred to me as well:  If time is going to be spent onlining (yeah…that’s a new word) about something, shouldn’t it be all about your own work and not the work of others?  My answer to myself – and to anyone else who asks – is this:
Why should it? 
No doubt, there are only so many hours in a day, and for all of us with full-time lives beyond our mad-scientist side-line authoring, the time left over is pretty slim.  And if you’re pushing a career change for something a bit more toward the wordly, then you should probably maximize those hours so they serve your purpose.  But all it takes is a little shifting of that philosophy to understand that someone else has your same purpose in mind for him- or herself.  And he/she is likely preaching the gospel and passing the plate just as hard and heavy as you.
Wouldn’t it be sweet if you could give a brother or sister a leg up on that endeavor?
Wouldn’t it be golden if you knew a brother or sister out there was willing to do the same for you?
Damn skippy.
Sometimes it takes seconds – seconds – to set something great in motion.  A click, or a copy/paste combo.  You hardly even have to move your hands, usually.  But it can have HUGE impact at the other end of the screen.  How great does it make you feel when you see another indie author review your work on Amazon or Barnes and Noble?  Pretty great, I tell you.  Or when you see someone pick up your thread and reTweet your tag line or your cleverly-composed advertising hook?  It stirs the heart, for sure.  Or when a fellow writer singles out your hard-crafted wordwork and sings its praises for all of their Facebook friends to hear?  It’s the best, y’all.
The.  Best.
To be praised by one’s peers is a feeling beyond description.  No, wait – I found one. 
It feels like hope.
And inasmuch as we’re all in the same boat, all hoping to reach the same shore, it only makes sense that we all help each other row the damn thing.  If that means that some of your Virtual Hours are spent as the hype man for others whose work you love and believe in, then those are hours well-spent.  No time is ever wasted that was spent helping someone else.  I think Mother Teresa said that. 
Or Mr. T. 
Anwyay, I know first-hand, too, that it's a full-on endorphin tsunami when you see someone you’ve helped push along actually succeed.  Not only does it feel pretty incredible to see someone else’s dream come true, it reinforces the notion that your dream can come true, too. 
I know.  This is all a little gushy.
But there’s nothing wrong with gush, folks.  It’s how you know your heart still works the way it should.
The World at Large seems more and more engineered for competition all the time.  My feeling is that a resurgence of cooperation is long overdue.  It doesn’t have to be dog-eat-dog out there.  Who really wants to eat a dog, anyway?   Pretty much nobody.  
I hope.
I’m no braniac, but even I can see that the Pay It Forward principle is a lot more likely to help the giver as much as the given than, say, the Push Someone Else Out of the Way and Keep It All for Yourself principle.  That one just makes everyone feel like shit.
Maybe not at first.  But eventually.
There’s no reason I can think of that our respective audiences won’t be receptive to Riding the Love Wave with us.  It may even be that we all have different sets of readers; what better way to cross-pollinate the crops than by sharing indie works we love with those who love our works?   And even in the overlap, none of us appear to be pricing our books a-way up high in the financial stratosphere.  So it’s totally possible for a reader’s hard-earned dollar to snatch up my book AND your book.  And his book. 
And her book, too. 
No reason we can’t also help each other in that same way, by scooping up copies of each others’ works, or gifting them to friends and loved ones.  I know that’s what I’m trying to do: Walk the Talk.  Herd the word.  Shove the love. 
That last one was a little awkward. 
Let’s move past it.
I could be dead wrong, but as I see it we are all each others’ quarterbacks; there’s no reason we can’t set one another up for a successful reception.  We can push for one another to achieve great things without compromising the possibility for ourselves to do the same.  So by the same token, we are all each others’ cheerleaders, too.  Granted, some of us look much better in a skirt than others.  I’ll let you decide which of us that refers to. 
Hint:  it’s probably not the dudes. 
But who knows?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some pre-smackdown reTweeting to do. 
It might even be for you. :)     


  1. So very true and while I have nothing to promote as such I can't deny I've not felt good about helping promote the works of others (both books, ebooks and music). It's all a heart felt wanting to help even a little bit kind of thing.

    In return I have an interaction with talented writers and musical artists I'd never have had if not for being on Twitter. All serving to make the experience of reading books and listening to music even better than I thought possible.

    And not just in the spirit of your message I'm going to tweet a link to this.

    1. Thanks to indie arts-supportive folks like you, folks like me get to have our dreams come true. And there's such a tremendous pool of talented people out there who get all kinds of exposure that they wouldn't otherwise when someone passes their work on to others. Sincerest appreciation to you, Mr. Baggins, for helping spread the word!