Cronyism, the practice of promoting some people and excluding others purely on the basis on personal relationships, is bad and to be avoided. The word brings to mind corrupt politicians who award high-ranking posts or lucrative contracts to their old pals when they have no business or training to do the work.
But things work differently in the realm of publishing. When someone publishes a story or poem or even a book by his or her friend, colleague, student, or lover, there’s a good chance that it isn’t an instance of rank favoritism. Many times, the reason the two people are acquainted with the person in the first place has quite a lot to do with their writing.
People become friends through all sorts of avenues, but I would put it to you that most writer-friendships develop because of some overlap in the two people’s aesthetic values and writing styles. What are the chances, really, of meeting another writer at the gym or at some bar? Most people are not, after all, writer-people. So the chances are slim, compared to meeting one at a reading, in an MFA program, or through another writer. If you both picked that reading or that grad school to attend, you probably have something in common already. If you choose to become friends, that’s probably a sign of something even deeper in common, writer-wise. READ MORE >