Working On A Co-Author Project

January is almost over (I cannot believe it), and I’ve spent most of this month, as I did December, in the fog of a nasty virus. However, the mists are clearing and I’m finally raring to go with a new writing year.

While I’ve been working on my current WIP (which is now pretty much ready to submit), I’ve also been working on another writing project, co-authoring a middle-grade book. It’s been an interesting process as, while I’ve written for other people before, I’ve not written with someone. And there are some differences.

When writing for a client, you’re trying to write in their voice, not yours. The tone is set by the type of company, the content, and the branding message they’re trying to get across. Your job is to find the words to hook their target market, and to do so in their voice. The same goes for ghostwriting, where you are telling someone else’s story, not your own.

When co-writing a project with someone, you can allow your writer voice to shine through. Creatively, my co-author and I are in tune, sometimes suggesting the same scene at the same time! However, we’ve also set clear delineations as to who is completing which part of the project, making for a smooth and pleasant process.

So, if you’re thinking of setting up your own co-author project, here are a few things you might want to consider before starting:

Who is doing what?

Vitally important. You may choose to split the book on character lines, with one author writing one character and you writing the other, separated into chapters. Or, you may split the narrative between you, sending excerpts back and forth, both of you working on and editing them so the book is a mingling of both your voices. Or you may, as I’m doing, nominate one person to do the bulk of the writing, with the other person contributing ideas, scenes and characters as the story unfolds. There are as many ways to allocate the work as there are stories to be told, but the important part is to be clear about who is doing what beforehand, so there are no disagreements or instances where you’re duplicating work.

Assigning credit

Linked to my point above, decide how the book will be credited in terms of authorship. Will it be one author taking centre stage, with the other author mentioned in the credits? Will you both get equal billing? Again, there are several options and it’s really up to you. However, once again, defining this before the project starts will head off any disagreements (and of course, if the work arrangement between you changes, there can be a discussion at that point).

Finances

Once again, something to be agreed upon before work starts. If you’re getting paid to write the book, how will the fees be divided between you both? How will royalties, advances and rights be divided up? 50/50 is probably the easiest and most equitable way to do this – however, this needs to be defined and possibly set in writing before the project begins.

Finishing touches

Writing the story is only part of the process. Once the book is completed, you need to get it out in the world. If you have a traditional publishing deal, then editing, cover design etc will be taken care of, as will some of the promotion. However, if you’re publishing independently, consider the costs involved in hiring an editor, cover designer etc and work out how these will be split between you both. The same goes for promotion – work out an advertising budget, divide up social media scheduling, photography for various platforms, how you’ll brand and support the release, and who will handle any associated events.

As you can see, there’s a bit more planning involved than when you simply sit down and start writing a book by yourself. However, setting up a detailed plan beforehand, and making sure any agreements are in writing, should mean you’ll avoid any surprises or disagreements down the track.

Combining your creative voice with someone else can be a rewarding experience, challenging you to work outside your writing comfort zone, learning and benefitting from your co-writer’s experience. As the saying goes, sometimes two heads are better than one and you might be surprised by what you achieve. Just have a plan in place, then get to it!


Enjoyed this post? Want to read more? Find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, Under Stone (Ambeth Chronicles #4), is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

#keepersbooklaunch – Keepers Is Here!

In case you haven’t heard, Sacha Black has just released Keepers, the first in her Eden East YA series. Sacha has been a blog friend for a while and I’ve been reading about the progress of this story for the past couple of years, so it’s really exciting to see it finally completed!

Eden’s life is balanced…until her soul is bound to her enemy. When her parents are murdered, the realm of Trutinor is threatened. Then a mysterious human arrives and changes everything. As Eden’s world spirals out of control, she doesn’t need a charismatic Siren from her past returning to complicate life. Now, saving Trutinor is the last thing on Eden’s mind.

Three boys.
Two murdered parents.
One deadly choice.

Whew! I have to say, I’ve read it already, and it’s a great story with plenty of twists and turns, all wrapped up in beautiful cover art. I was lucky enough to attend the launch this past weekend – check out these amazing cupcakes!

You can get your copy of Keepers here. Huge congratulations, Sacha – can’t wait to read book two!

 

Sacha Black – 13 Steps to Evil Workbook Launch!

My lovely author-and bloggy-friend Sacha recently released her excellent writing craft book, 13 Steps To Evil – How To Craft A Superbad Villain, which I would recommend as essential to any writer. Today, she’s released the accompanying workbook. Here, in her own words, she tells us what we’ll find inside:

How do you become the best writer you can?

Is a question I constantly ask myself in my quest to write full-time.

One of the most obvious answers I’ve discovered is by continuing to learn lessons and develop your craft.

But lessons only take you so far, right?

Why?

Because you have to put them into practice.

***

At the tail end of May, I released 13 Steps To Evil – How To Craft A Superbad Villain which was jam-packed with resources and tips to improve your villains and help you take them to the next level.

But what was missing from that book, was a way for you to put those lessons into practice. I promptly rectified that, which is why today sees me launch:

If you’d like to buy a copy of the workbook, you can find it here.

Or, if you never got round to buying the original 13 Steps, you can save yourself some money and buy the complete boxset here.

If you do purchase a copy and you have a few spare minutes, I’d really appreciate a short review on the site you bought it. Reviews are like currency for an author.

Want to know a little more about the 13 Steps To Evil Workbook?

Sacha Black’s book 13 Steps To Evil – How To Craft A Superbad Villain showed writers how to create their ultimate villain in an easy and humorous, step-by-step guide.

This workbook puts those lessons to use by building on each chapter in 13 Steps To Evil and guiding you through the development of your indisputable bad guy. It’s time to get to the core of your villain and supersize that evil.

Inside the workbook you’ll find hundreds of thought provoking questions, exercises and creativity boosting prompts. This resource will help you:

  • Choose the perfect villain traits
  • Create sinister character histories and motives
  • Avoid pesky clichés
  • Design conflict and tension that grips your reader
  • Build your market knowledge so you create a villain that sells

Craft your characters through easy to digest exercises that empower you to conquer your villain for life. Read the 13 Steps To Evil Workbook today and start creating kick-ass bad guys.

I also run a Facebook group where you can work through any villainous issues you might have with me and the others in the group. If you’d like to join the group, click here.

And in case you missed them, here are those links one more time:

Workbook
Complete boxset 

You can also find Sacha on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestGoodreads