Today I'm happy to announce that I'm hosting authors, Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson, for the blog tour of their new release, Go Teen Writers: How To Turn Your First Draft Into A Published Book! Stay tuned at the end for a free giveaway!
Without further ado, here is Mrs. Morrill's guest post on cowriting:
by Stephanie Morrill
Before writing Go Teen Writers: How To Turn Your First Draft Into A Published Book neither of us had ever co-written a book. We were fortunate in that our skillsets complement each other, and the process wasn’t just painless, but rewarding. We were able to produce a book we love and believe in, and we’re closer friends because of our time on the book. Here’s what we did well that made co-writing so fun:
We made sure we were at the same place
We had a heart-check about the book. Because we work on the blog together, we already knew we had the same heart for teen writers, and we wanted the same principles we use in the blog to go into the book as well. So for a while, we just traded occasional emails about ideas for the book until we landed on a vision we could both get behind.
This step is vital because everything will build on it, so if you’re thinking about co-writing, we encourage you both to allow a little time pass while you brainstorm so you can be sure you’re going to work well together.
We sought the opinions of others about our partnership
We talked to our agents about the wisdom of the project. We had a couple of small presses who were interested in the book, so we also talked to them about if we should go small press or publish independently.
Even if you don’t have an agent, it’s a good idea to talk to others and see what they think about your partnership. Do they have concerns? They might see problems you can’t.
We tried to make it even
After receiving the blessing from our agents, we got on the phone for a couple hours and hashed out a table of contents. Then we went through and decided who would write what. We worked hard to make sure the content was split fairly between us.
We also talked about how the editing and publishing process would go. Jill has more knowledgeable about independent publishing, so she volunteered to do the formatting and bookstore stuff. Because of that, I took over as much of the editing process as I could, though of course we both had to be involved in everything.
There a few ways to co-write a book. You can each be involved in every word that goes on the page or you can trade off who is writing. For us, it made sense to decide who would write what and then weave it all together at the end.
It’s very important that you and your co-writer talk honestly about what skills you bring to the table and that you communicate concerns up front. Be sure your working styles and expectations line up well.
We regularly communicated about where we were in the process
After we had figured out the table of contents, the next step was to write the thing.
Cue contracts and deadlines for both of us.
Jill found herself with two looming deadlines, so she had to set the Go Teen Writers book aside while she met those. Because she was clear with me about what was going on, and let me know that she would have to write her sections after she turned in her fiction manuscripts, we were able to coordinate it all so it worked with minimal frustration.
We respected our deadlines and motivated each other
If one of us said, “I’ll have this to you by Friday,” we made sure it happened. And when we were feeling tired or overwhelmed, we were able to strengthen each other. This trust and encouragement is what made us thrive during the co-writing process.
It doesn’t end when you’ve written the book
This is a really important thing to keep in mind. You’re not just writing the book together—you’re publishing and promoting it together. For us that meant agreeing on a season of promotion, planning what we were going to do and what we were going to spend, and then executing our plan.
It also means you’ll be splitting money, which as we all know can make people weird. Make sure you talk through how the money will work and that you’re both comfortable with the plan.
Have you ever co-written a book? What worked for you and what didn’t? If you haven’t, is it something you’re interested in, or are you strictly a solo writer?a Rafflecopter giveaway