Even though Kindle books are often shorter than traditionally published books, they are still a lot of work. Co-writing is one way to not only cut the work in half, but if done right, to make the process more profitable and enjoyable as well.
Here are six tips to keep in mind to make the process of co-writing your next Kindle book a smooth one:
One – Choose Your Partner with Care
Writing a book is a lot of work, and even if you never meet your coauthor in person, you’re going to spend a lot of time connecting, and will be “tied” to him or her for a long time, so it’s important to find someone you’re compatible with.
Your individual work styles don’t need to be exact, but it helps if they are similar, and don’t clash. For example, it just so happens that my coauthor and I both make all of our appointments on Wednesdays, so setting up appointments to chat is easy.
We also both avoid email and social media in the morning, so neither of us expect to hear from each other during those times.
While you may not be lucky enough to find someone who has the exact same schedule as you, if, for example, you’re a morning person who hates to talk on the phone, you may have a hard time with a coauthor who loves to make spontaneous phone calls late at night.
It’s also important to work with someone who has similar values and priorities in life, or is at least respectful of yours. For instance, it can work for a single person who loves to work on the weekend to coauthor a book with a family person who blocks out time for family and never answers the phone or responds to email on Saturdays, so long as there is mutual respect and understanding regarding the different lifestyles.
And naturally, unless the point of your book is to debate a particular topic, you’ll have a hard time co-writing a book if you and your coauthor have drastically different opinions on the topic of your book.
Two – Play to Individual Strengths
While a partnership is in a sense a 50/50 proposition, that doesn’t mean that each author will do exactly the same thing. Instead, each author may contribute equally, but in different ways.
For example, while my coauthor and I split the profits 50/50, I do the bulk of the actual writing. This may seem unfair, but let me tell you, from my perspective, it’s a great deal because my coauthor does the following:
- Researches to find a topic that is profitable. Once he finds an idea that he thinks will work, he runs it by me to make sure it’s one I want to write. If I have an idea for a book, he researches it to determine the chances of it being profitable. He’s one of the top Kindle authors and while it’s not guaranteed that he’ll pick a winner, he has a better chance of doing so than I do.
- Writes the initial outline for the book. The outline he wrote for our first book was over 7,000 words long, and it’s clear he spent a lot of time on it. Having such a detailed outlined made it easy for me to know what to cover.
- Pays his VA to do some research for the book.
- Deals with editors, agents, cover design, etc. and fronts the money for those services.
- Reviews my draft and tweaks it, adding in some of his own stories and thoughts, to make it as good as it can be.
- Researches and tests possible titles to determine the best title
The bottom line is that he’s happy that I do the bulk of the writing, and I’m happy that he does most of the other work so that I can focus on writing. Both of us work on the content of the book enough that it clearly has each of our fingerprints, but we each focus on what we’re good at.
Three – Determine Which KDP Account to Use
At the current time, Amazon, unfortunately, doesn’t have the best system in place for coauthors, and while the book can show up on each of the author’s author page on Amazon, the actual book has to be uploaded to only one of the author’s accounts.
This means that all of the stats for the book end up in one author’s account, and all of the royalty payments are paid out to one person.
You may feel uncomfortable by the thought of not having access to the sales dashboard for your book, but there are ways to work through that so that you can know what’s going on, and know that you’re being appropriately compensated.
For instance, my coauthor takes screenshots of the reports inside of his KDP account and emails them to me on a weekly basis. That way I know how the book is doing and how much he owes me.
The coauthor who controls the account can also export reports as Excel spreadsheets and provide them to the coauthor.
Four – Agree on a Timeline for the Book
Unmet expectations can be a source of strife between coauthors, and rather than making assumptions regarding how long each partner will take on various aspects, it’s best to communicate those expectations clearly.
If you are falling behind on anything, be sure to update your coauthor as soon as possible about the adjusted timeline. And naturally, unless your coauthor makes a habit of being late, extend grace where needed!
Five – Work Together on a Promotional Plan
It’s possible that one of the coauthors will have a bigger platform than the other, but that doesn’t necessarily absolve the other author from working to promote the book. In order to avoid no one doing any promoting, or one of the coauthors feeling taken advantage of since he or she did all the work to promote the book, be sure to agree ahead of time on the responsibility of each coauthor when it comes to marketing the book.
It’s also important to be on the same page when it comes to things like how much money, if any, will be spent on advertising, where that money will be spent, and who will be responsible for setting everything up.
Six – Spell Out the Details in a Contract
Even if you have a good relationship with your coauthor and trust him or her completely, it’s important to lay out all terms regarding the book in a contract that both authors sign.
Regardless of whether you ever have any legal use for the contract, the contract is a great tool to communicate what you agreed to. It helps to eliminate any instances of the coauthors having different ideas regarding what was agreed upon.
My coauthor and I have a contract that includes things such as who is responsible for which aspects of the project, the royalty percentages for each of us, how often my coauthor will provide me with a report of the earnings (since that data will be in his KDP dashboard), and when he will submit payment to me.
Working with a coauthor can help you to publish more books in less time. If you and your coauthor have different areas of strength, use that to your advantage!
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.