Friday, June 8, 2012

Is Co-Author a Safe Idea?

Is Co-Authoring a Safe Prospect?

My latest book, "Surrender Her Touch" was Released Dec. 7, 2011, and a friend ---who wants to write her own book ---was impressed that this is my ninth book published. She wanted to know "How" I did it. Was it hard? Were there Rules to follow? Did you have help? She wanted to ask another friend to write the book with her. Was it a smart decision?

I was very careful in answering that last question. Any author can tell you there are Pros and Cons to teaming up with another author to write a book. Luckily, for my friend, I could tell her my own experience. Before I wrote my first published book I teamed with a friend and between us we managed to write a 416 page fantasy novel. It took a little over a year. Even though we were hoping for publication for this book, we also looked at it in a different way. It was a way to "learn" the process of writing a novel. And although it's not something I would recommend doing for a "new" unpublished writer, I was very glad I went through this experience. Here are some  things learned, and should be taken in consideration for those who want to try Co-Authoring a book.

1. It's best to have your Co-Author in the same city you live in. Mary lived in Glendale and I lived in Prescott, Arizona. We mailed (the old fashioned way) our manuscript back and forth. Of course, now you have the Internet and Emails, which is great---BUT it's always best to be able to get together and talk out scenes, etc. So, number one rule to take in consideration is: easy access to each other, and being able to talk (face to face) about the WIP as it progresses.

2. BE AWARE that even though you may both like the genre you're writing, it's going to turn out that you both have countless different ideas and ways of writing. You each have a different "Author's Voice" and it's going to show in the writing. So, it's not just getting the book wrote, it's editing it to the point that it reads as ONE smooth author voice. This is where rule number one comes into play again, too.

3. Also be aware that you are both "new" writers and you're going to discover that you "structure" write differently. During the editing process you might find that your partner has an entirely different idea of grammar and sentence structure rules than you do. You're going to have to make sure that the entire ms. is written in a concise, consistent way. A good way to solve any differences is to both read a book from the publisher you've targeted. It has been edited by a professional and you can tell what "style" this particular publisher wants.

4. How do you divide the writing schedule? Make a rule that each one has so many pages or chapters to write when it's their turn to have the ms. Or chose which one does the POV and scenes for each character. Maybe one does the Heroine, the other does the Hero. Determine how long each writer has to keep their schedule. If these two rules aren't in place, you're going to find it will take forever to write the book ---if ever. You face many deadlines when you're a published author, so now is the time to start disciplining yourself with a strict schedule. Of course, life is always going to intrude at one time or another. It's a given. BUT. Writers write and you should always consider this joint venture as an accomplishment that MUST be completed. If you go into this, serious about writing with another writer, then give it your "All" and expect the other writer to do the same. Chances are this experience will "make you or break you" in exposing your personal discipline when it comes to writing.

5. Editing is going to be your hardest part. The manuscript has to read smooth and consistent. You will need to sit down with your partner and go over the entire ms., line by line. Read it aloud to each other. Make sure there isn't a spot anywhere that a reader can stop and say: "that doesn't sound/read the same". When you finally submit that book, the only way a publisher or reader will know partners wrote it is because you'll have two names on the cover.

6. OR not. Decide if you want both your names on the Cover, as a writing team. Or, chose a pseudo name that you'll both be happy to work under. You'll have to work with the publisher and your personal tax accountant to make Royalty payments legal and shared between you.

7. Once the book is accepted and published, you will now have to discuss promoting ideas with your partner. Promoting isn't cheap. You can join Yahoo Readers Groups and promote there. Do Blog posts, and Interviews. Have Contests. But when it comes down to expenses, you and your writing partner will have to come to agreement on how much, and what form.

Writing a book isn't easy, but it's definitely an adventure. If you choose to write with a partner, then it's not such a lonely process. But, be aware of the Pros and Cons, and know exactly what you're getting into before venturing into the agreement. I was very lucky to have a wonderful Co-writer with that book, and we worked out everything so easily. But I don't want you to think it happens that way every time. Be warned there will be problems. And re-think the idea. Would you learn just as much if you wrote your first book without help from a Co-writer? Yes. Writers write. We learn as we go, from mistakes and triumphs each. Yet, if you decide to Co-Write, then go ahead and jump into the adventure. Write that book and make it the best it can be.

Paranormal Romance/Dragons/Shapeshifters/Contemporary
Print and Ebook/ Dec. 7, 2011
Surrendering her touch could be fatal; will she chose her own life over the lives of her enemies? When a shocking truth uncovers secrets from her past, Summer is faced with life or death situations. Should she accept what has been revealed and give of her healing power to the very dragon shapeshifters who destroyed her family -- or should she run as fast and as far as she can? What about the too-sexy-for-his-own-good dragon shifter who has stolen her heart and soul--the very man who will not let her say 'No' to her deadly destiny?

If she surrenders, will she lose more than just her heart and soul? Will the shifter she loves stand by and let her sacrifice everything?

·  "Let the game begin…"
·  “Heal them, and then I’ll let you go home."
·  “Big talk for a dragon who has to use a woman as a shield.”



Jennifer Fulford, Novelist said...

I co-wrote a book with a friend in Google docs. Though we lived several states apart, the process was fairly easy. One user creates a doc and shares it with the other writer (who must have gmail). Google docs has a feature where a user can leave comments but not make changes in the MS. It took us about 3 months to write 40K. It was a neat experiment that could work for others.

Kari Thomas said...

Hi Jennifer,

Thats great! When Mary and I worked on our Co-Author Book, Mary didnt have Internet (this was years ago), so we mailed our stuff back and forth. Took longer, of course. But it really was a very FUN and learning experience!

hugs, Kari

Mary Corrales said...

Talking about me, are we. Lol.

Great post. Yes, that was many years ago, but great fun. It's the first full length novel I'd ever finished.

We shared the workload of writing, but since life does intrude that could set other writers up for resentments as one thinks they're doing more work than the other.

You really have to trust your writing partner.


Kari Thomas said...

LOL! I confess we were talking about you, Mary! But in a good way! YOU were/ARE a GREAT writing partner and I couldnt have asked for a better one ever! It was the most fun, even if we didnt publish it.

hugs, Kari