Friday, June 18, 2021

The Benefits of Co-Authoring


by Crystal Bowman

No matter what publishing path you choose, it’s a long and bumpy road. And whether you’re an introvert who writes from a quiet corner in your home or an extrovert who writes at a noisy coffee shop, writing can be lonely. One of the rewards of the writing journey is to hold that hot-off-the press copy in your hands while you stare at your name on the front cover. But maybe there is space for one more name. The idea of co-authoring a book may not appeal to everyone, but it has some benefits worth considering. 

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of co-authoring.

Two heads are better than one. I’ve written more than a dozen books with my daughter, Teri McKinley. She tends to be more right brained, and I lean toward the left, so together we have a whole brain. My writing is steady and consistent as I pay attention to detail. She is more whimsical and creative and adds a playful element to our stories. I often refer to her as the frosting on my cake. 

You can divide and conquer. My first co-authoring experience was writing My Read and Rhyme Bible Storybook with Cindy Kenny. It was the biggest project I tackled in my early days of writing. Being able to share the load and only write half of the stories made it less overwhelming. 

You can edit each other’s work. Bouncing ideas off a co-author gives instant feedback. If something doesn’t sit right with my co-author, then I’m motivated to revise until we have a stronger text. I have found that writing with another author pushes me to do better and improves my writing.

Your marketing opportunities are doubled. Publishers love authors with a large social media following. When you write with another author, you expand your network, double your platform, and reach a broader audience. Promotional opportunities increase as each author taps into their sphere of influencers.

It’s fun! I am a people person and so I love working with others who share my passion for a particular project. The back-and-forth communication via emails, phone call, and zoom sessions make the writing process less lonely and more enjoyable. I also like to share funny ideas I have that would never be accepted but give me a momentary smile. When Teri and I were writing Our Daily Bread for Kids—365 Meaningful Moments with God, I wrote a devotion based on the story of the golden calf that Aaron made in the wilderness while Moses was meeting with God. I titled the devotion “Holy Cow” just to see how Teri would react. Needless to say, we both had a good laugh before I retitled the devotion.

It may lead to more contracts. If you and your co-author work well together and your book is successful, a publisher might want you to do more books with them. When Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins launched the first few Left Behind books, I doubt they expected the series to achieve a New York Times bestselling ranking and result in 16 books, 4 motion pictures, and some graphic novels. Though this accomplishment is very rare, it can happen if that’s God’s plan and purpose for your writing. 

Is co-authoring right for you?

Of course, writers need to keep in mind a few things when co-authoring. You need to be flexible, open, and willing to work with another writer. You need to consider their ideas and value their input. You will split royalties, advances, or any other payment from the publisher. You may have to drop or revise some words, sentences, or ideas that you liked. But you may also make a new best friend in the process and have a special bond that only co-authors will understand. 

If you decide to dive into a co-authoring writing project, work hard, enjoy the process, and laugh out loud at your “Holy Cow” moments. 

TWEETABLE

Crystal Bowman is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 100 books for children and four nonfiction books for women. She also writes lyrics for children’s piano music and is a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine. She loves going to schools to teach kids about poetry. She also speaks at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups and teaches workshops at writers’ conferences. When she is not writing or speaking, she enjoys going for walks, working out at the gym, and eating ice cream. She and her husband live in Michigan and have seven huggable grandkids. 

2 comments:

  1. Crystal,

    Thank you for this terrific article about co-authoring. I've written more than a dozen co-authored books and each one has had unique challenges but also wonderful benefits.

    Terry
    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Terry. I love the co-authoring experience--and you are right, it is challenging but wonderful at the same time.

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