Publishing with others is a great way to make connections in the writing community. These connections may turn into friendships and the books often manage to hit bestseller lists thanks to combined marketing efforts.
And while it can be exciting to start a new project with friends, if you’re thinking about a collaboration, be sure to have the basics down:
Know your goals! The word “successful” in the title of this post can mean a lot of different things. If you’re trying to hit a list, be upfront about it. Nothing worse than expecting to “get your letters” when everyone else was just thinking of selling a few copies to their friends.
There’s also a difference between co-writing a book, a joint series, and a box set. It should be pretty clear which kind you’re doing, and each will have a different goal. Give each one a try to see which one you like best!
Stay organized. This is usually done in the form of a private Facebook group or other collaborative working tool like Google docs. Yes it’s annoying to have yet another thing to track, but it’s so much easier when looking for all the details you spent hours working out!
There may be a set marketing plan everyone agrees to, with deadlines for things like newsletter swaps and preorders. One easy way to stay on top is to track those deadlines in your own agenda as well, so that you don’t have to keep referring to a second document all the time.
Be honest. If you always go on a family vacation in August, don’t sign up for an anthology with deadlines in August! If your schedule changes, tell everyone ASAP so they can adjust accordingly.
The great thing about being an indie author is that most deadlines are self-imposed so shifting things isn’t too hard. And be sure to offer the same flexibility and understanding to someone else that you’d want to receive about making last-minute changes.
Be vocal. If you really hate that cover or plot idea, don’t clam up just so that you don’t upset people. It’ll be hard to stay motivated if you’re working on something you don’t totally love.
However, there is a caveat to this: if you’ve given leader-type powers to someone, do respect that. Democracy doesn’t mean everyone gets what they want, just that everyone gets to have their voices heard.
Have fun! We love love love working with other writers. It’s so great to exchange ideas and read drafts and talk design. So enjoy the ride! And if you find yourself not liking it as much as you’d hoped – no big deal! You don’t have to do another (but we bet you will!).
Want to hear how a real-life writer mom is using author collaboration in her career? Check out Episode 37 of the podcast.