Guidelines to Making a Writing Partnership Work

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that with the right co-author, writing books can be easy and productive. For those looking to join forces with other writers, here are a few things I suggest you do to make your partnership a good experience.

1. Pick your partner. Pick a partner you are familiar with and work well with. Many people gravitate toward their critique partners or long-time writing friends.

2. Have a contract. Even if you are best friends, have a contract made out for each project you will be undertaking. The contract protects all the authors involved and allows you to outline all your writing tasks before hand.

3. Assign each author a task. By outlining the responsibilities and assigning a task to each author, no one is stuck doing everything. Strengths can be divided among both authors and weakness in one author can be taken by the other.

4. Figure out who gets last say. This one is important. There will be times when you and your co-author don’t agree on how something should go. It is best to decided ahead of time who will have the last say in the argument.

An example contract

Anyone have experiences with writing partnerships they would like to share?

7 thoughts on “Guidelines to Making a Writing Partnership Work

  1. Lauralynn Elliott June 5, 2012 / 12:55 am

    I’ve often wondered how a partnership works. Do both authors actually do the writing? If so, don’t they have different voices and wouldn’t the reader be able to tell the difference? My husband has come up with this awesome outline for a book. He has all these good ideas, but he can’t write them. I can do that part. So that partnership can work. I guess I’m going to be kind of a ghost writer. I really don’t think WE need a contract, though. LOL

    • Stephannie Beman June 5, 2012 / 4:32 pm

      They can. I know some partnerships where one author will write the rough draft and the other will do the rewrites, they’ll both edit and/or proofread. Or some will do two POVs and each with take a POV and write in it.

      My hubby likes to come up with ideas for my books. Some work, others don’t. He usually gets a part in the acknowledgements of my books. If he did more than I would ask him if he wanted to have his name on the book as a co-author.

  2. Norma Beishir June 5, 2012 / 1:54 pm

    I’ve got two collaborators (on different projects), and I’m happy to say I’ve never had problems in either collaboration. I don’t have contracts with either of them, either, and don’t feel the need for one, though I can understand why in most cases it is advisable.

    • Stephannie Beman June 5, 2012 / 4:36 pm

      I’ve done one collaboration on one project and though neither of us felt the need for a contract, we still drew one up and signed it. The author I was working with lost interest in the project near the start. She signed over all rights she had to the book over to me so that I could finish it. You never know what the future brings.

  3. williamkendall1 June 5, 2012 / 2:09 pm

    Terrific post, Stephannie!

    My partner and I work very well together on what we’ve done, and we haven’t felt the need for a contract. Our writing styles mesh well together, and we share in the writing equally, taking the point of view of specific characters.

  4. Norma Beishir June 5, 2012 / 2:34 pm

    Stephannie–William is one of my partners. He’s a prince to work with!

    Same Time, Tomorrow is a love story. He writes the male POV, while I take the female lead. (It might have been fun to reverse roles….)

  5. Stephannie Beman June 5, 2012 / 4:39 pm

    @William and @ Norma, It’s cool that you two work so well together. I know when I worked on that book with an author friend, she took the female POV and I did the male POV. We worked well together and never had any problems though our writing method is very different. Good luck on your projects! 😀

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