As you may have heard, I’ve been accused of participating in a recent book collaboration with two other Indies Unlimited authors: Stephen Hise and JD Mader. I’m not prepared to confirm or deny that at this time. What I will say, though, is that one would think collaborating would be a natural thing for writers to do. In my case, when I was twelve-years-old, I received an award for cooperation in summer camp. It was a shiny green ribbon with gold letters on it. I still have it. Okay, perhaps I have issues. I’m a writer, so what did you expect?
Cooperative? Yeah, that’s me. But, I’m also highly opinionated. And impatient. And stubborn. But enough about me. Let’s talk about me some more. Because really, this collaboration thing was my idea. You’re welcome.
Collaborating can be fun. Or, it can be difficult. It can have its moments of joy, and it can cause gut-wrenching panic. In the end, as long are there are no bodies to dump, I’d say it was a success. In case you’re considering a collaboration of your own, I have a few tips for you based on my experience:
#1 – If you’re out for cocktails with two authors you met online and don’t know very well, don’t leave your drink unattended when you go to the restroom. There’s a chance you could end up drugged, and when you come to, your name could be on a book – along with theirs.
#3 – During the process, when financial concerns come up, play the altruist. Example: “Oh, it’s okay, I know someone who will proofread it,” or “I just finished formatting another book for Kindle, I can do it for free,” etc. That way your partners will build up a false sense of security in you, and then you can implement #4 below.
#4 – Now that the manuscript is finished – you have complete control of the document for proofreading and formatting. This is beneficial because if people think the book is horrible, you can deny any participation in the actual writing and take credit only for adjusting the fonts and margins.
#5 – Stay sober throughout the process. Yeah. That’s important when it comes to Rule #4 above.
#6 – If, by some chance, one of your collaborators does question the fact that your name has received top billing, just give them credit for the idea. “Oh, man, you don’t remember suggesting we should go in alphabetical order? I loved that idea!” works great. Every time.
#7 – Tip #6 above works better on men.
#8 – Promise your collaborators jelly donuts. I don’t know why, it just works.
#9 – Document sharing is a great tool. We used Dropbox and took turns adding to the document. One interesting quirk in Dropbox is that if two people are in the document making changes at the same time, when they save, it will create a “conflicting copy” with the other person’s name on it. If you don’t like what they wrote, you can “accidentally” delete that copy and no one will be the wiser.
#10 – Have fun. Enjoy the energy and the momentum, and feed off the other writers. Because if you contribute a lot at each turn, there will be less room for what they write.
So, those are my tips. If you’d like to see our collaboration, which I still neither confirm nor deny, check out BAD BOOK. Because it is bad. Well, what THEY wrote is bad. What I wrote is, well…frankly…utterly wonderful.
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K.S. Brooks is an award-winning author and photographer, and Co-Administrator of Indies Unlimited. For more information, please see the IU Bio page and her web site: http://www.ksbrooks.com/[subscribe2]