For all the highs and lows, the writing world can be a very lonely place. In the past, we have discussed the importance of betas and critique partners, if only so you present a potential publisher with the cleanest manuscript possible. Yet even considering the invaluable services good crit partner can provide, there remains a higher place of need other authors or readers fill. I don’t know where I would be now were it not for the few but precious friendships I’ve developed since entering the publishing world.
It’s easy being there for someone when times are good. Yet for all the trials an author must go through beyond preparing a manuscript for submission, having an ear to bend during the lower points does wonders. When you receive a bad review—and authors, this is inevitable—talking with friends can help, but no one understands how much a bad review stings as much as someone who has been there already. The same can be said for any number of things: edits, rejection, blog posts, Twitter rants, the full shebang. Having other authors you know and trust to at least listen, even if they don’t agree with you, helps out more than you can imagine.
Fans will be there for the good times. Friends will be there for all the times. Fans forget, friends do not. And that difference makes ALL the difference.