By Jennifer S. Wilkov, host of the “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show on WomensRadio
As authors and writers, we’re always learning about resources and industry tools that we can use to improve our book project performance and the enjoyment of our writing and marketing experiences. Today let’s talk about the choice you have to write your book alone or with a collaborator.
You know that feeling… yes, that one: when a great idea for a good book strikes you. It can occur from a dream you had, something you say in jest such as “someone should write a book about that!” or when you can’t find the book you’re looking for.
People dream up great ideas for books all the time. The quandary is whether they’ll write them – or not. In fact, according to a Gallup Poll and quoted in the book, So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance by Gabriel Zaid and Natasha Wimmer, 81% of Americans want to write and publish a book.
Some writers struggle with ideas about what to write. Others find that coming up with the idea is easy and based on something they saw or from their own life experiences, personally or professionally. Writers, especially first time writers, encounter all kinds of questions once they’ve come up with a great book idea.
One question all writers must face and a choice they need to make is whether they will write that book alone or with someone else.
Some writers choose to ask someone else to write the book for them, meaning they will be the author but someone else will write the book. This can be done with a ghostwriter or with a writer who will receive a “with” mention on the cover of the book. The bulk of the book is written by the other writer while the author initiates the idea and oversees the project.
Other writers ask someone else to write a book with them – as a co-author. This is a significant decision and one that shouldn’t be made quickly. A co-author is someone who you are going to share not only the credit for the book with; this is someone whom you are creating a business partnership with. Be certain that this is someone you want to be in partnership with for a long time.
Tips for making sure you’ve found the right collaborator can be summarized in 2 steps:
1) Compare your core values.
- Make sure that you are both coming to the idea and project with the same perception of the topic.
- Discuss what’s important to each of you and determine if your thoughts and approach are in alignment.
- Identify and talk through what each of your goals are for the book and what each person expects to get out of it.
2) Discuss your commitment to the project.
- Determine who will do what, who will write what, how much time and money each person will put forth for the project and how each of you will market it.
- Agree whether you are going to self-publish or whether you are going to prepare the project for a literary agent and traditional publisher.
- Decide whether media campaigns are feasible for each of you to participate in and what your availability will be for these interviews.
- Identify what else you will create together beyond the book such as workshops, trainings, speech proposals and more.
If you feel there is no perfect person to partner with for your book, then make the choice to write the book on your own and get started. Too often, writers spin their wheels trying to find someone else to write with or they jump into a writing partnership without having a real business conversation about the project first.
Books are a business and bring many options for writers to get published with their work. Fiction is often easier to write as a solo writer. Find your writing groove and follow the flow of your imagination. Then prepare your work to get published and reap the rewards as a solo author. No coordination with anyone. No aligning your time and effort with someone else’s schedule. You just do it.
Nonfiction can be written by a single writer, by writing partners or through interviews completed by one writer who compiles these into a single book. Some nonfiction writers want to go it alone. Others find more momentum and have more fun when collaborating as a team with someone else. And still others find great joy in the process of interviewing others and then including their thoughts in a book along with the author’s commentary.
There are also anthologies where if your fiction concept develops into a short story or if your nonfiction piece becomes the length of an article, you may submit it to be included in a collection with others so you don’t need to fuss with the publishing aspect of getting your writing published. Once accepted into a collection or anthology, the rest of the publishing process is taken care of by the coordinator so you can move on and write your next piece.
Whatever you decide to do when you have a great book idea, the true test is to write it. Pick up your calendar and carve out the time to dedicate to writing a great book. Craft it as a masterpiece you’ll be proud to put your name on and make it one that brings others great joy and appreciation.
For whether you entertain, educate or enlighten others, the secret to your success and hook starts with writing one great book.
Jennifer’s show can be heard every week on Tuesday mornings at 9am when it is broadcast on WomensRadio.com and syndicated on Google News and Live365.com. Each show is archived for replay listeners in different time zones and countries.
For more information on this Education Corner topic and others, please refer to www.YourBookIsYourHook.com/blog for more articles and resources to help you with your books.