CO-AUTHORING: The Process

CO-AUTHORING: The Process
This past year I’ve been writing with a co-author on an inspirational series. The project happened so fast, it’s hard to believe we actually wrote and published a 3-book series in about eighteen months time. Over the next few blogs I will be dissecting our process for you; what worked, what didn’t, what obstacles we faced.
My motto is, within reason, say YES to everything that comes along. I’m not getting any younger! Life happens, people and opportunities cross your path, and so many times things do not work out. But sometimes all the pieces fall into place and there you are—in the right place at the right time.
JUST WRITE IT
Long story short, my co-author Denise and I actually pitched the idea at a writers conference to an editor while waiting in line to board a bus. We all met later in an empty dining area at the hotel to talk more in-depth, and then went home and got busy. I’m not gonna lie; it took FOREVER to write book one because writing fiction with another creative brain is not for the faint of heart.
We wrote and passed the chapters back and forth. I started writing in Scrivener, but as a professional editor Denise liked track changes in Word better. That first book went through way too many revisions, but it had to be solid and stellar. The whole project weighed on the premise and the writing in that first book. I worried that it might read like two people wrote it, but our Beta readers assured us they couldn’t tell who wrote what. Finally we hit a rhythm and finished book one. The editor who never lost patience on us loved it, and we had a deal for a three-book series.
KEEP AT IT
For books 2 and 3 we changed up the process again. I took the lead on book 2 and worked on a first draft. Denise took the lead on book 3 and wrote that first draft. We came together to work on edits, passing one chapter at a time back and forth using DropBox in between numerous texts, emails and phone calls.
Maybe it was how everything slowed down from the virus in 2020, maybe it was me spending less time on social media because of the election posts I didn’t want to see, but irregardless done and done! We actually wrote three books. The publisher uses a rapid release method and we were added to the publishing roster in the first available slots for January, February, and March pub dates. Our books are out there. At this point we are waiting and watching to see what readers think.
PROMO: Tell Them!
Our publisher handles the ads and the lion’s share of promotion. So what can we do? There’s plenty more. Now is the time to tell everyone about our books. We posted Amazon links in emails, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others. We offered personalized print books to our friends through an email campaign. I signed and mailed a lot of books, and the goal here is to build a fan base. My favorite, the new Pinterest boards under the series name and each book title. I’m thinking a postcard mailer at some point?
We are currently working on a short story written in the POV of a secondary character who becomes a main character in book two. Remember when Stephanie Myer rewrote her bestselling Twilight series from Edward’s POV? (Midnight Sun) I thought that was brilliant idea.
This short piece will be offered free as a promotional tool. We have changed our process again, with a more rapid turn around time in mind. We are going to pass it back and forth with each revision. As soon as I had the rough draft done, I posted it to DropBox. Denise edited and sent it back. I’m going back through now adding more emotion, deeper dive into internal dialog and more imagery. I’ll send it back to Denise and she’ll do the same. I think the key is more. It can always be better. There is always a better word, a better structure for the sentence, a better hook. It’s an unending process and at some point, you both have to be happy with the outcome. Better is good.
THE BEST THING ABOUT COLLABORATION
The best thing about having a co-author is the ability to bounce ideas off of someone who knows the characters as well as I do. It’s been a great experience and I encourage you to work with someone if you ever have the chance.

Thanks for following Wordsmith Six. Check back every Monday where I’ll be blogging more about my new series, the Wild Cow Ranch published by Wolfpack Publishing under the imprint CKN Christian Publishing. Here’s a more in-depth interview with Denise and I about our process and more about the series:“Get the Know The Wild Cow Ranch Co-Authors”
What are you working on in 2021? Keep writing the stories of your heart! Never give up.
natalie

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