You’ve heard “Two heads are better than one,” “It takes two to tango” and countless similar sayings in praise of dynamic duos. When it comes to co-authoring a book, though, partnerships are not always made in heaven. Romance University co-founder KELSEY BROWNING offers eight tips to help you co-author successfully.
Earlier this month, Nancy Naigle and I released the first book—In For a Penny—in our co-written The Granny Series. Like most writers, I’ve heard the pros and cons (mostly cons) of co-authoring a book:
“Your voice will be diluted.”
“You’ll disagree over who has final creative say.”
“You won’t make as much money.”
As Lillian Summer Fairview from In For a Penny would say…phooey.
Nancy and I both have Type-A personalities. Neither of us goes along to get along. But we’ve made this co-writing experience not only work, but we’ve created a partnership that provides us both with joy. Today, I want to share with the RU crew 8 reasons our co-writing relationship is a winner.
1. We each have our own areas of expertise and talents. Nan is amazing with description and small town world-building. I’m a dialogue gal. She’s got more marketing and promo ideas than I can shake a stick at. I’m big on consistency, making sure our efforts have a certain look and feel.
2. We agreed on a process from the get-go. We write the books in Scrivener and the files stay in Dropbox. Before we began this project Nancy had never used Scrivener, but she agreed to try it. Turns out, she’s a fan even though she uses the PC version, while I use the all-the-bells-and-whistles Mac version.
3. We write at different times. Nan has a day job, so she tends to write at night. Since I have a son still at home, I’m usually done writing for the day by 3:30 pm. And oh, how I love opening the file in the morning to find a little elf has been in there overnight adding words!
4. We’re professional enough not to let our egos get in the way. We assume if the other person cuts words or moves things around, it’s for the good of the story and the reader. Do some of our babies get whacked? Sure, but we’ve both written enough books that our emotions aren’t involved in what stays and what goes.
5. We meet face-to-face for certain aspects of the process. We normally take a three-day weekend to plot the book. Then, we take another long weekend to put the initial draft framework on the page. One weekend, we wrote 37,000 (yep, that’s thousands) words by doing 20-minute sprints. Those words formed the rough, rough draft of what was to become a 72k-word book. It was a blast because we’d write and then spend five minutes sharing our favorite lines. How often do you get to do that when writing by yourself? (Okay, we all talk to ourselves, but it’s even more fun with a partner!)
6. We communicate almost daily. In addition to being writing partners, we’re also business partners on this series. That doesn’t mean we’re joined at the hip on everything—we each have our own projects. But we understand the importance of continued communication and an ongoing to-do list.
7. We have a shared culture. Although this might not be a requirement for most co-writing partnerships, it was for ours because The Granny Series is set in the South. Nancy’s a native Virginian, while I’m originally from Texas. There’s just enough difference in our southern heritages to make things interesting, but we both get the people, the humor, the cadence of the language.
8. We have mutual respect and trust. This one isn’t negotiable. We have to respect each other’s writing ability and ideas. We have to trust the other will always do what she’s promised to do. But we give each other a break when something small falls through the cracks or one of us needs to pick up the slack for the other. To me, co-writing is much like a marriage. We’re in it for the long-haul (The Granny Series will include at least five books), and so we’re willing to put in the work and effort required to make this partnership last!
Partnering with Nancy on The Granny Series has been one of the highlights of my writing career so far. I hope she’d say the same.:-)
Kelsey is giving away an ebook of PERSONAL ASSETS to one lucky commenter.
Have you written with a partner? If so, how did it work for you? If not, would you consider it in the future?
Wednesday’s guest is author and agent, LOIS WINSTON.
Kelsey Browning writes sass kickin’ love stories and Southern cozy suspense. Originally from a small Texas town, Kelsey has also lived in the Middle East and Los Angeles, proving she’s either adventurous or downright nuts. These days, she hangs out in northeast Georgia with Tech Guy, Smarty Boy, Bad Dog and Pharaoh, a Canine Companions for Independence puppy. She’s currently at work on the next book in her Texas Nights contemporary romance series and The Granny Series. For info on her upcoming single title releases, drop by www.KelseyBrowning.com.
Nancy Naigle writes love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense. Born and raised in Virginia Beach, Nancy now calls a small farm in southern Virginia home. She’s currently at work on the next book in her Adams Grove series and The Granny Series. Stay in touch with Nancy on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe to her newsletter on her website ~ www.NancyNaigle.com.
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