How To Collaborate With A Co-Author

By on June 14, 2017
How To Collaborate With A Co-Author - Writer's

Making the decision to write your book with a co-author is an interesting one. Many of us aspire to write a novel, yet only a fraction of us manage to complete it. That’s because writing a novel is actually pretty tough. It’s time-consuming, it requires lots of brain power, creative thought, research and careful crafting to make it good.

That’s why a surprising number of writers consider sharing the load by working with a co-writer.

Of course, this is not a decision that many take lightly, and there are both advantages and disadvantages to doing so!

Let’s take a look at some of them so if you do decide to collaborate with another writer, you can do it in the best possible way!

Making the decision

First, it is important that you carefully consider whether you are making the right decision. For many, writing a book is a personal journey, and the notion of sharing their ideas and passions with someone else is horrifying. If you already have a very clear idea of how you want your book to be written and you aren’t willing to compromise then collaborating might not be the right way to go. You are never going to agree on everything, a joke you find hilarious they might find offensive, a point that you passionately believe in they might passionately argue against - if you aren’t willing to listen and adapt and you aren’t prepared to make sacrifices then co-writing probably isn’t for you.

If however, you believe yourself to be an open-minded, communicative and compromising person then there are many advantages to co-writing your book.

Essentially you only have to write half as many words, which theoretically means you only have to spend half the amount of time getting your book finished.

A co-writer can help you make decisions you are struggling with, can find solutions to problems where you cannot and can be a fresh set of eyes that can inject life and creativity into your work that perhaps you would have been unable to think of on your own.

There are however some things to look out for.

Choosing your co-author

Choosing who to work with on such an important project is a decision not to be taken lightly. You need to find someone who you trust and respect, who you know has the capacity and commitment to make the project work, and whose vision, knowledge and passion are roughly in line with yours. If you don’t have these things you will find it very difficult to work with the other person and your book could end up taking forever or not being completed at all.

Keeping your voice consistent

Despite being written by two people. readers won’t want to notice that it has been. There shouldn’t be two distinct voices or styles of writing, the voice and tone and pace should be consistent throughout. Keeping your voice consistent is all about communicating with one another and not being too precious or protective. If you can discuss the style of the book and meet in the middle then you should be able to make this work

Handling disagreements

Disagreements are somewhat inevitable when writing a book with a co-author. However, how you handle them makes all the difference when it comes to the success of your book. Make sure you have clearly set out how you both envisage the book working, how you intend to divide the workload, how many times you will meet up or contact one another. You also need to ensure your expectations are in line with one another's, that you don’t have any obligations that will get in the way of writing and promoting the book (or if you do that you are both okay with them). The clearer you are at the beginning the less likely disagreements will occur. If you do find yourself in a dispute try to remain calm and open minded and always try to find a solution that feels like a compromise on both your parts so one party doesn't feel put out.

While co-authoring isn’t for everyone it can be a very rewarding and satisfying way to write a book - remember writing can often feel quite lonely and isolating and this way you’ll always have someone to share the highs and lows with too!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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