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Four Must-Have Friends No Successful Writer Should Be Without
by Jennifer Brown Banks

“I get by with a little help from my friends.”

No doubt about it—writing is a solitary, do-it-yourself profession. Unlike other careers, you can’t get ahead through office politics, a good support staff, nepotism, affirmative action, or bedding the boss.

Success comes solely to those who work hard, have a talent for the written word, are business savvy, and have the determination to go the distance. Of course there are a few “bad writers” that slip through the cracks, but they are indeed in the minority. Talent aside, sometimes, as the famous expression goes, “it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.”

And that’s why it behooves you to choose your friends wisely! I admit, I have been truly blessed by the creative Gods to know folks that make my job just a little bit easier.

They would be the equivalent of the supporting cast members of an award-winning movie or sitcom. Here, for the first time, they appear in their respective roles, not necessarily in the order of importance.

THE FRIENDLY LIBRARIAN—My friend Deb holds the position of Head Librarian at a major library in my city. When I’m pressed for time, or don’t know which web site to use as a resource for my research, she’s the person I call. A recent S.O.S. to her regarding statistics needed for a book proposal, gave me the “411” on specific titles listed in Books in Print. Her extensive knowledge and willingness to be on my “team” helps me to be a winner in my creative pursuits.

THE LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHER—Picture the possibilities. You have an article that would be a sure sell with accompanying photos. You have a book signing that you’d like to capture shots of for your scrapbook or marketing materials. You need a headshot for your web page or book cover. And he needs to be “Johnny on the Spot”: that’s my friend Hurley.

THE BEEN THERE DONE THAT WRITER—My writer buddy, William, has been successfully published and is even a best selling author! We’ve actually never met in person, but became pen pals about 8 years ago, when he sent a letter of praise to my editor regarding my work. When it comes to publishing, he knows the ropes! I get insider’s tips that you can’t find in any book! It wasn’t deliberate on either of our parts, but I’ve found that establishing an affiliation with someone who is a little further down the literary path than you are just makes good business sense. And to my good fortune, he’s a real cool, down to earth guy as well!

THE CONSUMATE CHEERLEADER—I can count on my girl Clara when periodic rejections convince me that I’d be better off joining the circus! In addition to being a big fan, she’s also brutally honest. Every writer needs that. Over the years, we’ve had a few disagreements, but have always reconciled once the dust settles. Still, I know that no matter what, she believes in my talent and wishes the best for me.

So if your goal in 2006 is to become more widely published, consider expanding your social network, and discover the many benefits of the creative connection!

If you know someone who has been a key player in your success, why not send them this piece along with a word of thanks.

© Copyright 2006, Jennifer Brown Banks

Jennifer Brown Banks is the former senior editor of Mahogany Magazine. She holds a B.A. in Business Management and blogs at Penandprosper.blogspot.com

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