I wrote a few months ago about making friends of librarians, and now I'd like to suggest another valuable friendship: other authors. One of the values of sites like this, conferences, and other networking opportunities is that you find people who not only understand you, but also can help you achieve your goals.
I've met authors over the last six years in many venues. In most cases you make polite conversation for a minute or two and then go one with your life. But sometimes there's a connection (as can happen anywhere in life) and you maintain contact on a different level, what might be called friendship. It's an odd version where you may only meet in real life once, maybe never, but both of you recognize common goals and mindsets.
These people know what you want, and you know what they want as well. We're in this to make connections, learn the business, sell books. But beyond that is recognition that we like each other and don't have to put on the "author pose" with these folks. We can admit that we're tired of smiling, gripe that we didn't sell a single book, compare notes on the effectiveness of Publisher A over Publisher B without word getting back to anyone that we're complaining.
Information changes hands. I've learned from author friends which agent likes a particular sort of project, how to get a book reprinted in paperback when the hardcover rights lapse, and even been introduced to their editors for a face-to-face meeting (Wish I'd had advance notice of that one!)
These things are done out of a desire to help, and one tries to respond by being equally helpful. When I finish a book by an author friend, I generally post a review on Amazon (if I truly enjoyed it, of course) to give them a boost. I'm likely to post on several chat groups as well, so the title is repeated in the minds of potential readers. When I speak, I mention their names to audiences, suggesting that if they enjoy humorous mysteries they should try Deb Baker's Yooper series or if they like historical mysteries, Beverle Graves Myers' work.
These things are not done solely for mercenary purposes: author friends are like real-life friends. We want to help, and we do what we can in good conscience to support each other. Whether you're just starting or whether you've been around a while, that web of author friends will help you crawl toward your goal, and you need to keep working on it every single day.