Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Power of Helping Others

In most industries, we refer to those who are doing the same kind of work that we are as our competitors. The aim is to get more attention on your own work and less attention on theirs. It appears to be the total opposite when it comes to creative arts, such as writing. It is our best interest to help our “competitors”.

A Success Story

My video had just finished uploading. I clicked the buttons to share it on several social media sites and leaned back in my chair. I had just released the latest episode of my youTube series - reviewing a book called Synchronic - 13 Tales of Time Travel. I'd lost a little momentum recently due to sickness but was now back on track.

When I checked the next morning I was surprised to see I gained over 40 views while I slept. This was about the same amount that my previous episode had gained in almost two months. I also had a record number of "likes". We're not talking big numbers here, but it was a significant difference.

Mutual Benefit and Community

Why did this particular video fare better than average? Was it particularly well-produced? Had I latched onto a topic that everyone was already talking about? No. So what was it? The book I was reviewing was an indie title, with 13 contributing authors. One of those authors, who I happened to be connected with on Twitter shared it for me. Then another of the authors shared it with all his fans on Facebook and Twitter, tagging all the other authors involved in the project.

I had helped them by giving a positive review for their book, but they had helped me by sharing my video with a bunch of book lovers who would otherwise never have seen it. We helped each other. This kind of mutually beneficial assistance is common in the indie fiction world. It works nicely. Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn calls it Social Karma. We Christians often don't like to use the 'K' word, but all she really means here is that when we help our fellow content creators, we find ourselves getting helped as well. There is a community that builds up. When we help each other, we all win.

I have found that the same helpful culture that exists in the indie fiction world also exists in the Australian Christian fiction industry. There is a wonderful community that is so welcoming of both the experienced author and the growing wannabe. I have been surprised by the help, support and encouragement I have received along my journey.

All of this reminds me of Proverbs 11:25 "A generous person will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."

What do you think?

Do you have any success stories to share? Have you ever experienced a situation where you felt like you were in competition with another author or artist?

Photo credit: prixel creative

Adam CollingsAdam Collings is a writer of speculative fiction and video blogger. He is actively working toward becoming a published author. He lives in Tasmania, Australia. Adam discusses books and movies on his youTube series Stories. You can find Adam on-line at collingszone.wordpress.com or his Google+ Profile

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for that Adam. That's really encouraging. I was an academic for many years and although there were certainly some very helpful colleagues, there were also some who were very competitive and more interested in getting ahead themselves. It's great to hear a positive story of how helping others can be mutually beneficial. Good on you for sharing your story.

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    1. Thanks Nola. Seeing cooperation overtake competition certainly gives you a good feeling.

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  2. I think the ability to connect with and support other writers is one of the strengths of the Christian writing community, both in Australia and around the world.

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    1. Yes, you're right Iola, it's certainly not unique to us here in Australasia.

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  3. Hi again Adam - I just checked out the video clip (was in a bit of a rush before). That's a really great way of reviewing books and I can see how a video clip would be more appealing to some people than a written review. Well done :) You've given me more food for thought.

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  4. Great post Adam. Love the way you were blessed - by blessing someone else. I think all Christians - no matter what we do are never competitors - but pilgrims on the same journey - boosting one another. That's one of the strengths of the Australian and NZ Christian writers community who bless one another. Thanks for giving us such a lovely picture of what it means to work together.

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    1. Thanks Anusha. You're right, we are all the Church, working together for a common purpose.

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  5. Adam - absolutely agree. When Joanna uses her expression "Social Karma" I guess I'd refer to it as sowing and reaping. However, often the reaping won't be realised as quickly as the example you sighted in this post.

    Great post, Adam. And I think you're onto something with your video reviews.

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    1. That's a really good point Ian. It's not always going to be like that and we certainly shouldn't expect it.

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  6. Loved your post Adam - and a great reminder that we all get further when we help each other. I like Ian's term 'reaping and sowing' though sometimes it might take time for seeds to germinate (lots going on underground before it shows) and it's not a strict formula (like a vending machine) but it's a great approach and I think we are better (and happier) for it.

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  7. I love your creative approach to doing reviews, Adam, and enjoyed watching your video. And that's so good it was shared by others as it was.

    I have experienced lots of times when other authors have supported and cooperated with me in various ways. For example, a few times I have invited other authors to display their books at my own book launches and some have been able to reciprocate. On occasions, I have sold other authors' books on my own book table at some event. Some have supported me via their blogs and I have done the same. At times, other authors have suggested me as a speaker for some event--and on it goes. I think the only time I have experienced competition against other authors is when I have entered a book of mine in one! I always feel uncomfortable about that, as I know all the work that has gone into each of those books, but even in this competitive setting, I have found other authors very supportive and encouraging.

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  8. Right here, I'd like to thank Nola and others who work on these sites just for writers to express themselves about problems, or just to share their journey. Also to those people who take the time to add comments!

    I think it's all been said before, Adam, but how very original! Videoing a review must take quite a lot of time but worth it for a new lot of followers. It's very generous of you in promoting another's work and one day it will surely boomerang right back to you. All the best with your writing.

    And as for the encouragement we receive, I think we all need it. Especially when we've been slogging away month after month and setting aside things we might rather be doing (at times.)

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  9. Hi Adam,
    Thanks for the lovely reminder that we are all allies and not competitors. I love stories about reciprocation such as you just shared. When we faithfully keep doing what we do, we don't know how far the ripples will spread. It's good to have little glimpses sometimes.

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  10. I really enjoyed reading this. I'm probably not the only one who sometimes feels this is a lonely up hill journey and it was great to be rrminded that we are all in this together and together we can make a difference..Not only In the world but in each others lives. A warming and practical blog. Thanks mate.

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