The Benefits of Author Collaboration

2015-10-14 Two Coffees in Glass MugsThere’s a lot of work to be done when you’re an author. Even more if you’re an indie author. This is one area where two – or more! – heads are way better than one.

And I’m not just talking about writing a book together. (Something I haven’t done since I was in my early teens and wrote a novella with my brother.)

Most of my experiences in collaboration are with Carrie here at Indie Plot Twist. Writing the blog together is just one way we help each other out.

Two Bloggers Are Better Than One

2015-10-14 Two pens on notebook paperIn addition to Indie Plot Twist, Carrie and I also run our own personal blogs. I can tell you right now, it’s been a lot easier getting traction on this one. Why? One reason is that we can post twice as much content – which means twice as much reason for readers to drop by. We post once a week at our personal blogs; but between Carrie and me, we post twice a week at Indie Plot Twist. (And sometimes three, if we have a guest blogger. Another way to collaborate!)

There are also two people to get the behind-the-scenes work done. I run the Twitter account associated with Indie Plot Twist. Carrie is primarily in charge of the MailChimp email list. (And reminding me when we have a newsletter to kick out.)

Two Idea Generators Are Better Than One

Carrie generates enough new ideas to keep a billion-dollar industry busy for a century. We usually only have time to implement the ideas that most strongly appeal to us. I get an ecstatic email now and again with the latest idea. Usually Carrie is the explosion while I’m the slow burn that keeps the best ideas forefront. Though we do switch roles sometimes. Either way, we both keep each other accountable.

Two Skill Sets Are Better Than One

2015-10-14 Two Women Friends in Coffee Shop CafeIndie publishing is all about doing everything yourself. But let’s face it – there are some things you’re naturally better at than others.

Carrie and I recently agreed that I would be the designated copywriter. She’s been practicing, but when it comes to blowing our own horn, we’ve decided to leave it up to me.

But I’m not a genius at everything. As I mentioned before, Carrie’s the technically-minded one. When it comes to How Technology Works, she usually has the answer – or can find it. She can also implement new plugins and apps to make our blog even better.

In many ways, Carrie’s strengths are my weaknesses, and vice versa – which is what makes us such a great team.

Two Resources Are Better Than One

2015-10-14 Two leaves in chain link fenceI recently had to make a teensy, tiny change to the back cover of my book, Journaling to Become a Better WriterThe book was saved as a PhotoShop document – and I didn’t have PhotoShop. Moreover, the program was going to cost me $80 – which just wasn’t justified for the little flaw I had to fix.

But I recalled Carrie had PhotoShop! I told her what I needed changed, and she happily fixed the file for me. She saved me a lot of money!

In every way, shape, and form, Carrie and I help each other out. We usually have half a dozen emails zipping back and forth between us every day. We briefly kept track of services exchanged, then threw that idea to the wind and decided we were so mutually beneficial to each other, we’d just freely help each other whenever we had the chance. It’s worked great.

Other Ways Two Are Better Than One

The foregoing was just a list of ways in which Carrie and I have helped each other out. But here are ways I’ve heard other authors talk about the benefits of collaboration:

  • Co-authoring. Many authors benefit not only from having another mind to bounce ideas off of, but from someone else sharing the work load, making production times faster.
  • News sharing. Is there a new trend in the market? A new resource? A new development in indie publishing? With two minds watching the news and educating themselves on great indie publishing techniques, strides can be made faster.
  • Experimenting. One author may decide to experiment with something – a marketing idea, a social media tool, etc. He or she can then report back with the results.

How to Find a Collaborator

2015-10-14 Two CoffeesSo, collaboration sounds all fine and dandy, but how do you find someone to partner with?

Carrie and I met at an online writer’s group. One of the reasons I joined was specifically to look for writing buddies – not collaborators, really, but just someone to be good friends with, talk shop, and read each other’s stuff. Our relationship has definitely developed into much more than that, and I never foresaw everything we’ve accomplished together.

The short answer to how to find a writing buddy is to hang out where writers hang out.

  • Facebook groups
  • Twitter groups (try hashtags and live chats like #amwriting and #10MinNovelists)
  • Memberships in writers’ groups
  • Local critique groups

The most important thing is to let a relationship develop naturally. Take the time to really get to know the writers you’re hanging out with. After a while, you’ll find you naturally gravitate toward certain people. You have a lot in common, you like each other’s writing, you read a lot of the same books, you have similar goals, etc.

In short, you’ll become friends.

That’s really what a collaboration is. It’s a friendship. And friends like to help friends. In the end, everybody comes out a winner.

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