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A loyal reader recently posted a question on my most recent blog post about co-writing a book. In his case, he’s written blog posts and the potential co-writer who approached him, a professional writer, would be turning them into book form. In addition to my reader’s question about a fair way to divide profits, there are many questions to answer with a co-writer or collaborator–to help insure that the collaboration stays positive and beneficial to both parties and to get the results you are both looking for.
I know this from experience as I co-wrote my first book with two brilliant women, Peaco Todd and Jane Middelton-Moz. We had our challenges but we also had thought through most of the important questions and challenges that could come up in co-writing a book.
- Who is responsible for writing each chapter, section, etc. (be specific)
- Who is responsible for research?
- Who is responsible for providing ideas and content behind the book?
- How do we insure an even tone we both agree on?
- If we disagree on content or wording, how do we reach consensus? (what process do we use?)
- How will we market the book? (Have a very specific, detailed plan.)
- Who will implement each aspect of marketing?
- How much time will we each put into the project? Will this be equal or what will be the ratio?
- What kind of pace does each of us want to work at and how will that work?
- Does one person bring more expertise, credentials, connections or other benefits to the project? Is there a way to measure that?
- What are the anticipated expenses, including editing, proofreading, design, publishing (if self publishing) and marketing?
- Who will pay for those expenses or how will you divide them?
- What would be a fair distribution of royalties? (What do each of you want? What feels fair based on all the answers above?)
- What other ventures are likely to come from the book?
- Who owns the intellectual property?
- If you want to use the content in other ventures (teleseminars, webinars, speaking, courses), how will you develop these other ventures and how will those ventures be structured? (collaborative/not collaborative?)
- Will you need to compensate each other if one of you wants to use the book content for other ventures.
Are you thinking of collaborating on a book, you may want to read “Should I have a co-author?” which details the pros and cons of collaborating on a book.
Did I leave anything out? Share any additional suggestions below as a comment. Or feel free to share additional questions you have about co-writing a book or collaborating with a writer.