Collaborative Writing by Jules Dixon
Writing can be a solitary effort.
So when the opportunity to collaborate with another author or many authors comes around, many authors will jump at the opportunity. But before saying an enthusiastic “Yes!” there are many things to think about.
First, what will you be writing and what are the requirements for the project. For instance, are all stories to be in first or third POV? Or is it up to each writer? If it’s anthology, what is the story length both min and max? How many authors will be included?
Second, who will be deciding, retaining control of, and paying for major decisions, like the cover, editing, marketing, ISBN’s, platforms and release schedules, and more. So much more. Make sure all of this is down in writing for all to see and to be held accountable. When it comes to cover, will you get a say? What if you don’t like the cover?
Third, what are the timelines for deliverables? First draft, second draft, edits, accepting edits, final drafts, beta reads, cover reveals, promotions, etc…they’re all important and it’s best to have it all in writing so you and everyone else can’t say they “didn’t know.”
Fourth, how is the money (i.e. ebook royalties/paperback sales) going to be paid out or is the money going toward something? For instance, my critiquing group is doing an anthology and we’re going to use the royalties for group activities, like maybe a retreat or going to a vineyard for a day and drinking wine and writing…the possibilities will be based on how the anthology does, so it’s in everyone’s interest to help it be a success.
Lastly, expectations must be managed and one person must have the say when there is no time to ask everyone, or the decision is small or doesn’t affect the bottom line, or there is a tie in voting when it does. By this I mean there needs to be a project manager and someone to say “it has to be this way” when it does and can’t be any other way and for the times when someone won’t get their way and a “that isn’t possible” has to be said.
For ours, that person is me. And it’s not easy. But it’s important that there is one person who holds the group together and finds a middle ground. I try to let the group be as democratic as possible. Occasionally, decisions just need to be made, and when I do it, I try to be respectful and give what I believe the majority would want.
So, in the end, when you ask someone to co-write or to join a collection of stories, have your ducks in a row. Have a contract written up to explain and detail the big parts of above. It will help everyone move smoothly through the project and lend to success for everyone.
Have a great week! ❤ Jules
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