Monday, December 22, 2014

Co-authoring: Blessings and Pitfalls

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Brad and I have been sorting through the maze on different sites, trying to get us both recognized as The Simulacrum's authors. I tried to set up a giveaway on Goodreads, and failed because Goodreads doesn't know my name's on the cover. And it took a bit to be able to list the novel among my books on my Amazon page, although it's there now. It was even tricky for me to order books to sell at an up-coming conference. Slowly but surely, though, all the bugs are getting exterminated.
This is something we hadn't even considered when we wrote this together--all the tricks of the trade for presenting a co-authored book to the cyberpublic. If you're with a traditional publisher, this won't be a problem. If you're a couple of newbies at it, you're likely to have to wander the maze too. Right now, Brad is working the magic required to have the book set up for me on Goodreads. I am so glad I don't have to do it. I stink at figuring these things out.
We got other parts of the co-authoring business right. We did remember to do a contract, presenting terms and royalty distribution, so we both know what to expect. We discussed--and didn't necessarily agree on--marketing campaigns and promotions. We discussed (again, without entirely agreeing) our goals for the book. Our definition of success differs, but both are definite measures of success.
What was/is great about working with Brad is that he respects my abilities and listens to my suggestions, as I do his. If you're planning to write with someone, bringing mutual respect into the mix is vital. This is a long-term engagement. Even after you've released the final product, you're still going to be connected through sales and promotional opportunities. And if you decide to expand your product line (large print, audio, etc.), you're going to have to stay in contact. So you're going to have to get along.
We barely knew each other when we started. I saw Brad's ad for a critique partner on the ACFW website and loved the ideas he had. He likes to take on Christian issues and present them in hard-hitting fiction. His writing abilities are . . . interesting, but he's great at outlining what he wants. Y'all know me: Outlining is optional. But for this particular book, it was mandatory, and I knew that. It's fine that I write my novels by the seat of my pants, but something as intricate as a thriller needs to be outlined. My weaknesses are his strengths, and vice-versa, so we make a good team.
Several years after meeting in cyberspace, we're still friends, but I wonder how often people who start as friends end their friendship by taking on such an enterprise. Decker and Lee, Bunn and Oke, and so many others apparently have successful working relationships. I think the key is to do what Katie Weiland often says--slip your ego in your pocket. Successful partnership writing doesn't allow for divas. I like the way it turned out between Brad and me. I'm the strong writer, he's the strong idea-man. We have a symbiotic relationship that doesn't put either as "over" the other.
I'd be interested to know how other teams do it, but I'd be willing to bet the secret to their success is mutual respect.

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4 comments:

  1. I have never coauthored anything but I think it would be an interesting experience.

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    1. It's fun. Especially if you find someone you're compatible with!

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  2. My husband is my idea-man for our urban fantasy series. Basically, I'm writing his world. He's a good writer in his own right, but he doesn't have the time. So I get to write and rewrite and edit, and he critiques my ideas, helps with characters, and gets to enjoy the finished product. :-D

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    1. How fun! I wish my husband was interested in writing some of the stories he comes up with. His interest is *below* minimal. Sigh.

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