Have you ever thought about writing a book with your spouse or friend?
If so, you’ll soon discover that creating cohesive content can be a challenge.
A while back, we shared 5 Traps to Avoid When Co-Authoring. Now, we’d like to equip you with four more tips from Write Brilliant Academy graduate Cherie Lowe to help you thrive.
Tip 1: Share your documents from the start
I wrote my first book on my own. However, since Brian is my best cheerleader and critic, he read iteration after iteration of the developing manuscript. The process resulted in download after download on both of our laptops as we emailed version after version of corrected content back and forth. Before we knew it, it became difficult to discern which was the most updated version of the Word file we were using.
When we began drafting the proposal for our newest book, we knew we didn’t want to fall into the continuous loop of emails and downloads again. We decided to write both the proposal and the first draft of the manuscript in Google Docs instead. The shared online platform allowed us to both make edits and suggestions in real time, no matter where we were. We loved the process of being able to set up an Outline on the left sidebar, too. Then when we were ready to loop our agent in on the proposal, we added her to the shared document and she provided the feedback and corrections we needed, too.
Tip 2: Beef up your communication skills
Writing words with another human places you in an extremely vulnerable situation. At any moment, that individual can call into question the quality of your work. As you both strive toward creating a high caliber finished product, it’s easy to internalize criticism meant for the good of your co-labor.
While you probably long for a comprehensive answer pointing out how your co-author was way off base in the attack on your work, I have few words of pity to offer. Joint writing endeavors require you to grow thick skin. More than likely, you will disagree on a number of points. Those disagreements may lead to disappointments. However, moving through those disagreements and disappointments creates a stronger post, proposal, or manuscript. Will it be challenging to put your emotions aside? Yes. Is it worth it? One hundred times yes.
Tip 3: Talk about money
I know, I know. You never write for the money, but for the love your audience. However, you can’t eat your audience’s love or use it to pay for your kid’s college tuition. If you and your co-author don’t begin with a well defined financial breakdown for your work, you’ll have a financial, relational, and maybe nervous breakdown before all’s said and done.
Most co-authorship agreements entail a 50/50 split of both money and work. If you know up front one of you will be writing the bulk of the work, you’ll want to take that into consideration when it comes finances. Resentment creeps into our relationships quicker than we realize – especially when cross-pollinated with money. A healthy understanding prior to the writing experience allows both parties clear expectations for the road ahead.
Tip 4: Develop a plan for marketing
Congratulations! Your work is complete. You’ve managed to co-author with grace and aplomb. Just when you thought you left the most challenging struggles disappearing behind you in the horizon, a new phase of co-authorship appears in front of you. Sharing a Google Doc is much easier than sharing a microphone. No two platforms are the same. When it comes to marketing, your work requires a division of labor and concise plan.
Have an open and honest discussion about who will do what when it comes to marketing. Obviously both parties need to give 100% when it comes to sharing the message of your combined literary efforts. However, one of you might be more talented when it comes to verbalizing your message on podcasts, live TV, radio, or social media video.
One of you might have a much larger platform than the other, too. Consider reading if neither of you has marketing experience. Be realistic about your personalities, gifts, and followings. You both want your writing to flourish. Leverage all of the above for mutual success. Avoid allowing your ego to get in the way.
On July 31st, we submitted 55k words of our first draft of the manuscript for Your Money, Your Marriage: The Secrets to Smart Finance, Spicy Romance, and their Intimate Connection (due out September 2018). We’re knee deep in our first round of edits and continuing to learn through our first co-authoring experience. We were honestly surprised at how much fun we had writing the book together and can’t wait to usher it along its path of publication. You can successfully co-author too when you employ effective, smart Write Brilliant Academy strategies.
Learn more about Cherie Lowe at queenoffree.net. Grab a copy of her book, Slaying the Debt Dragon, here.
"Jonathan and Margaret are two of the best writing coaches in America, and I've learned much from them over the years. Their Write Brilliant program will help you grow deep roots and a wide reach. Do not wait to sign-up!"
– Gabe Lyons
Bestselling author of Good Faith and founder of Q
"I highly recommend Jonathan and Margaret's program for writers of any level!"
– Jennie Allen,
bestselling author of Nothing to Prove and founder of IF:Gathering
"The firehose of information I absorbed through Write Brilliant transformed the way I write. Jonathan and Margaret bring a combined breadth of knowledge and a straight-shooting style that helped me clarify my target audience, expand my platform, and get practical about what it takes to dedicate myself to my craft. I learned more in this one course than in all past conferences, books, blogs, and videos I’ve engaged. Write Brilliant is a one-stop-shop for taking your writing to the next level."
– September Vaudrey,
author of Colors of Goodbye
"In all my years of leading organizations, I've encountered dozens of how-to programs, but none of them has been more effective then this one. I should know. The Write Brilliant strategy gave me the boost of confidence I needed to create two books on leadership. Whether you want to author a book or just create a blog, make sure you don't miss this fantastic course."
– Brad Lomenick,
author of H3 Leadership and former director of Catalyst
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