Collaborative, creative development of one book and/or series is an exciting adventure that can benefit both authors and the readers who follow their work. If you are a Science Fiction/Fantasy reader/writer, you will remember The Halfblood Chronicles by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey and The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub. If you’re a detective/mystery buff, you may know that the Ellery Queen mysteries were written by cousins Daniel Nathan and Manford Lepofsky. On today’s recently released shelves, you’ll find the true story/journey of Patricia and Alana Raybon (mother & daughter) titled: Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace.

Whatever the genre, whatever topic, the old adage that “two heads are better than one” is also quite accurate when writing the best possible work of fiction or non-fiction. When you start working with a writing-partner, you’ll discover that one person’s idea spawns connecting thoughts in the other person and the book becomes better in the process. Much like film-making, where writer and director join forces, collaborating authors bring their own unique histories to the project. Here are three criteria for finding—and enjoying—that perfect partnership:

  • Vision: When you (the author) have formulated your core statement about your book—what it is, what it brings to the Reader—your co-author must share that vision. Both you and your teammate should see that picture and be passionate about developing it.
  • Adaptability: Some authors think they want a “helper” who will enhance their book by following the concepts “exactly” as the author has written it. If that is your position, you’re actually looking for an Editor who will correct grammar, punctuation, sentence structure; without creative input.
    • However, the author who wants to actually explore enhancing their manuscript will be as adaptable and flexible in listening to ideas offered by their co-author. Their life experiences will improve plot, character, and setting. This is especially true for authors in the Inspirational genre: fiction and non-fiction.
  • Passion: Both authors must be passionate about their topic and share that impassioned vision that literally drives them to complete the manuscript. Every book on every bookshelf was written to “tell something important.” If the level of commitment is weak, so will be the finished product.

making connections

These three criteria also hold true after you’ve written the words: THE END. Then the search begins for the right publisher. Notice I’ve used the word right. There are several quality self-publishers out there (and some not so great). The self-publishing staff will become your book-making-crew—the cameraman, format editor, printer, marketing director.

  • Search their bookstore for two or three books in your genre, then ask for referral/contact information for those authors.
  • LOOK at the books they’ve printed—at your local bookstore and on the Internet.
  • Compare their publishing packages. This is a competitive business, so don’t be swayed by the first dollar-difference you see between companies.
  • LISTEN to the Author Representatives. It won’t take you long to discern whether they have a true passion for their work (helping authors like you)—or not.

Bottom line:  As the author and co-author, you are creating an alliance of experts that starts with you and ends when you hold your finished book in your hands. “Two are better than one” and a team that brings all their talents and skills together to produce your book is best. ⚓︎

RoyaleneABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

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