Some still operate that way (and we're grateful), but others have taken it to a whole new level.
I won't sit here and tell anyone they shouldn't promote their work or the work of their friends or authors they enjoy, but I will explain what typically happens on my end when authors do it incessantly.
[ what's that smell? ]
If you follow me on Twitter, I will likely follow you. If you do nothing but post links to your book or books, I will block you and vow to never read your work.
If I connect with you on LinkedIn and you immediately send me a message or an e-mail telling me to check out your book on Amazon, I will "disconnect" from you and vow to never read your book—especially when, as happened yesterday and thus prompted this post, I sample it and there is a mistake three words in. No, thank you!
If we're friends on Facebook and I've "liked" your author page—which is the page I expect to see writing updates generate from—and you go and post daily the same goddamn updates on your personal page, your author page, and every writing-related group you and I (sadly) belong to, even those that are not meant for such updates, I will block your updates, vow to never read your work, and find you to be a total wackadouche.
If you constantly post 5-star reviews on Amazon and then share those overblown, unhelpful reviews loaded with WHIZBANGPOW! adjectives and vague clichés like "it gripped me from the first word and didn't let go until the last"—which are obviously meant to A) kiss the (undoubtedly more popular) author's ass, B) hide the fact that you didn't actually read what you reviewed, and C) use his or her book as a piggyback to your own shitty book or books—I won't believe a word you're saying and more than likely will never read that author's book because your word can't be trusted.
(That's right, an absurd run-on sentence in a post where I criticize bad writing. Got a problem with that?)
The fact is, you're not helping anyone, especially yourself. Most of us promote our work in some regard, but some of you are OUT OF FUCKING CONTROL! I won't begrudge you your rights to be that way—that pushy, lying kind of self-promoter. You'll surely fool a lot of dummies out there. But I won't support you. And worse, I'll find it very hard to support those other authors that are unlucky enough to be promoted by you. They're the innocent bystanders in this whole thing. And some are probably damn fine writers, which is a shame.
In the grand scheme of things, the big picture, this post is just one insignificant opinion from a relatively insignificant dude...but rest assured, I'm not the only one with this opinion.
So do as you will, but remember this: You can't push or lie your way to the top. You can push and lie your way to a top, sure, but it's most definitely not the top.