Considering a Collaboration

Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, J.T. Ellison and Catherine Coulter, JA Konrath and each of his writer friends—everywhere you look, authors are teaming up.

The trend seems more prevalent than ever, and I suspect it’s because authors are operating more independently now and because they have to work so hard to reach new readers. Collaborating with another writer brings a whole new readership to each partner, at least for that story or series, and hopefully with spillover to other works.

I never thought I could work that closely with someone. I don’t even have a writing group because it feels too collaborative. Of course, I count on my beta readers (and editor) for feedback, but that’s after I’ve nailed down the main story.

But I was approached recently by a friend about doing a collaboration, and I surprised myself by being receptive to the idea. Now that I have an FBI agent with her own series, a collaboration that brings Agent Dallas together with another established protag seems like a productive idea.

The other author has a kickass male FBI character and large readership of men, so the project could bring male readers into my Jackson series or, more likely, the series I’ve started with Agent Dallas.

We’re already brainstorming a plot, and I’d love to tell you who the other author is. But I worry that it might not pan out. We each have our own series we’re committed to, and we each have family responsibilities that may take precedence over a secondary writing project. But I want to do this and I hope we can make it work.

Ever since I decided to self-publish my newest story (with Agent Dallas), I’ve been getting my head back into indie mode and the marketing creativity it requires. It’s work, but it’s also fun and challenging, and this collaboration seems like a good way to expand my comfort zone and my readership.

What do you think? Have you collaborated with another author? Do you read books that are collaborations? Am I crazy?

3 Comments
  1. I’ve recently hammered out an agreement to write a book called The Lies Dragons Tell with another indie fantasy author, KC May. Drawing up the agreement was an important part of the process, because it helped define what we both expect, how things will work, who owns what, as well as a general timeframe.

    We’re in the early stages, but it’s been a very positive experience so far. Brainstorming with someone else has been fantastic. We’re using OneNote to share ideas, outline, and keep all our notes, and it’s the perfect tool. We can even work on notes at the same time and see each other typing on the page simultaneously!

    I’ll be able to report more once we start the drafting process (we’re still world-building), but I’m very hopeful about the outcome!

  2. Hi, Team books can be fun to read as long as the characters stay true and story hold together and the genre’s aren’t too far apart. Your biggest problem would be if it was an overwhelming success and you didn’t enjoy the process! I think you should give it a shot.

  3. Having been the co-author and/or ghostwriter on more that 50 non-fiction books (yes, honest!) I can say that there are certainly challenges, mostly because authors tend to (rightly) become attached to their creations and with two or more involved there’s bound to be conflicts. Collaborations are like marriages, or affairs, bringing the ego right into the open. On the other hand, they can truly be magical. The best collaborations are like jazz groups, playing off each other in ways that turn out to be bigger than the sum of the parts.

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