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Is There A Co-Author In Your Future?

Co authoring your book Yvonne DiVita

by Yvonne DiVita

I received a great newsletter this morning. It was from Ellen Finkelstein who is out to change the world. She writes focused, succinct, relevant newsletter and I open every one she sends. In this particular newsletter, she is offering her new 6-session live course (more about that in the Smart Woman Conversation she and I will be having soon!): "Multiply Your Business with Partnering." 

Of course, it got me to thinking - what about writers? What about those of us writing a book? What about co-authors?

Over on the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, I found a truly great blog post about co-authoring by Chloe Slovinsky. She recommends writing a book, as do I, and she explains why having a co-author could help you get that book done when you just have too much on your plate to do it yourself. She says, 

A co-author is someone who makes valuable contributions to a book along with one or more additional writers or contributors. This is often a much more achievable option for the working professional due to the amount of time it takes to write a book entirely on one’s own.

I agree with her. The amount of time it takes to write a book is often one of the most daunting issues a new or established author faces. It's among the top 5 reasons I hear people say they can't write a book. "Not right now," they'll say. "I don't have time," they'll say. "A book is too involved," they'll say. "I'm too busy," they purport.

Of course, it's all hogwash. If not now, when? Today is the best day to start that book. And, if you have the story ready, if you know the book's audience is one you could reach and teach, why not now? 

Best thing to consider then, is having a co-author. Someone to help carry the burden. (don't get me going on how writing a book is NOT a burden!)

If you're cringing a bit, if your hackles are up because if you ever do write a book it's going to be "your" book, not anybody else's book, calm down. Get a drink of water.

Co-authors are a good thing. The key is to find the right co-author. And to establishing responsibility.

Here are some questions to ask your co-author before you start writing the book together:

  1. Who does what? In other words, which chapters will you write and which ones will the co-author write? Will you co-author chapters together?
  2. Talk over the book's purpose, plot, and punctuation. I threw the punctuation in there because some people  are arguing over the Oxford comma. There is no argument here. Use it.
  3. Timing. When do you each expect to have the book completed?
  4. Publishing. How do each of you want the book to be published? Is it an eBook. Is it a print book? Is it self-published or will you go with traditional publishing. 
  5. Collaborating. In addition to writing the book, you will need regular meetings with your co-author. This offers other venues to work together.
  6. Marketing the book. Yes, you need to discuss marketing the book upfront. Get my Your Book Writing Project - An Outline where there is a whole section on marketing.  Just email me. You know my email address. It's my name: yvonne (at) yvonnedivita.com
  7. How will you deal with your profits? I hesitated to put this in. Honestly, best sellers are few and far between. If you're writing a book to become rich and famous just stop. You may earn more from the opportunities your book offers, than from the book itself. If you work at it. Don't be lazy.
  8. Is there an out clause? Yep. You must provide a way for your co-author to politely slip away, if she needs to or wants to. This happened when I was acting as an agent for two smart gentlemen, back in that old 20th century nobody remembers. The co-author, after many months of not contributing anything, had to bow out. We made it easy for him because he was a good friend of the author's. Having a way to leave the partnership saves a lot of grief and anger. 

Time to co-author a book

I must make sure you understand that co-authoring is not ghost writing - we'll talk ghost writing another time. Co-authors are rewarded equally. Each of their names go on the cover of the book. Most TV or radio or podcast interviews are done with both.

The Feminine Revolution by Amy Stanton and Catherine Connors is a co-authored book. I could approach one of them to be on Smart Women Conversations, but it's best to approach both. The choice of both being on the show, or only one, is then up to them. 

Another co-authored book that recently came across my desk is Pet Blogging for Love & Money by Carol Bryant and Maggie Marton. These two ladies found a cause they were both passionate about and wrote a book about it. They will both be on Smart Women Conversations together, this year. 

When two great personalities meet and click, and both are contemplating a book, it might be time to discuss co-authoring. 

This does not take the place of a good book coach, but it might just get you moving. I am passionate about that - getting more women to write books and help and inspire other women to greater success.

Is there a co-author in your future? Come engage in our Facebook group all about things like co-authoring, or writing a book, or reading a book. 

Join our Smart News  weekly newsletter and learn more about great books, writing, and reading (yes, you may be doing your reading all wrong - I will correct you).


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