Team Work

Just over a year ago, I wrote a blog about the experience I was having with my friend and writing partner Jared as we coauthored a book together. Well, that process has come nearly full-circle now. We finished the book around the end of the year and worked on heavy duty revisions. Then a few months ago, we began the submission process and started collecting the requisite rejection letters. 

And then a funny thing happened – we got a publisher who was interested in reading the entire novel after seeing a few sample chapter. We sent the entire novel.  Now they are offering us a contract.  We are both ecstatic with the development, but suddenly we are faced with a whole new set of issues that our collaboration hasn’t afforded us before. We have had many discussions about the possible issues raised by this publisher and by this contract. What if we don’t like something in the contract? What if we don’t think the same way about certain rights clauses? What if . . . well, you get the idea.

So now we are exploring a new aspect to our partnership, and it is definitely a new adventure for us. We haven’t received the contract yet, so there isn’t really anything for us to disagree on – or agree on – just yet. What we’ve tried to do is identify any potential issues and sort them out ahead of time so that we won’t be faced with a more intense situation.  And herein lies the key to our success as a team: communication. I’m blessed to have a friend and writing partner who I can trust to be completely honest with me. He knows, too, that I will be completely straight up with him as well. We don’t tel each other what we think the other one wants to hear, we tell each other the truth as we see it. This is what has made us such good friends. This is why I’m shelling out hundreds of dollars to meet up with him to attend a writing workshop this summer. It’s worth it. We have a most excellent partnership. And this is what let us write a truly excellent book.

Among the issues we’ve already looked at are some of the rights clauses we know will be included. We’ve discussed them with each other, aired our concerns, and reached agreements on those things already. Barring any unforseen truly dreadful elements to the contract, we are both feeling very secure in accepting the offer so far. We have also already talked about ways we will promote the book together and separately. Because we live in different states, we feel we can get twice the coverage, and that’s a plus. Additionally, I worked in PR and advertising for 12 years, so I know a little bit about marketing and promotions, and I’m willing to do a lot of the little things that go along with this kind of campaign. Jared works for an independent bookseller, and he is going to pull in the resources he has to help us advance our cause, so that part of the process has also been addressed.

As I said, the details are still being worked out, and the contract has not arrived yet. There are still so many hurdles to get past and so many things which could go wrong and send the project back. But what I have absolute faith in is that neither one of us will be the reason we sink. We are excited about this opportunity, and we are also excited about the prospect of writing another book together sometime later this year (if he gets his butt in gear on the solo project he started!!).  

This partnership is not something that would work with just anyone. And there are times, to be honest, that Jared and I struggle to make it work – especially now that we live 1,500 miles away from each other! But it does work, and if we get our way about things, it will continue to work for many years to come. We enjoy it, and we hope the byproducts that come out of it will be enjoyed my many, many readers. If you’re one of them, by all means, let us know what you think.

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7 thoughts on “Team Work

  1. Excellent blog. And now, I will post my own… minus the final paragraph of wishful thinking…

  2. Kim Justesen says:

    So am I to take it that you don’t want to write anymore books together, or just you don’t think they’ll be read by lots of people? Please, do clarify, smart alec! Just kidding! I love your take on this. Can’t wait to celebrate in person!

    • Ha ha. No, I meant that I will post my own blog, minus my own final paragraph… in which I went ahead and got carried away by wishful thinking. It’s a long story… the point is, I do hope to write many more books together!

  3. Linda L. Bennett says:

    It is an excellent blog. I know that everything will work out for the both of you. Continued success!! 🙂

  4. Joe Rhoad says:

    I think I can relate somewhat. Working with someone else on a book certainly has its frustrations, but the end result is a better book than I could write alone. My current instructor/editor brought up issues I never would have thought of. It helps to have an extra pair of eyes to see these things. I hope to get a submission package to my first publisher by August.

  5. Joe Rhoad says:

    …Although, if I get a contract on this book, I’ll be negotiating it without benefit of my “partner.”

  6. Kim Justesen says:

    Joe – you’ll have support, and you’ll have lots of us on the sides cheering you on!

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