Yesterday, I was emailing a friend of mine and I referred to her jokingly as my "pen pal." But in all seriousness, she's so much more than that. We met through an online writer's forum and, even though we've never met in real life and she lives clear across the country, we've formed a bond that many of my real-life friends would never be able to understand because of the shared experience of trying to find a literary agent.
Not that my friends and family aren't supportive--they're amazing! But no one understands us crazy writers like another writer. And having a network of supportive writers has saved my sanity more than once in this process. Because, seriously, who's going to grasp the madness that comes with writing, querying, revising, etc. than someone who loves/hates all of it just as much as you do?
I like to tell my authors when we start thinking about publicity for their upcoming book that I'm a writer, too. I explain that I understand the sensitivity that they're going to feel about how much effort it seems like I'm putting into their book. I tell them that I'm going to be delicate if I have to send on a bad review, but I won't withhold anything from them. I give them as much information about a radio or TV show as I can so they don't end up getting interviewed by a wacko. I listen to their fears and concerns and hand-hold when they feel like they'll never get a review or when they're nervous about getting up to speak in front of a crowd. I'm part publicist, part therapist a lot of the time.
But I love that part of my job. Working with writers is, at any given moment, fulfilling, emotional, humbling, and motivating. And a whole lot of fun.