I’ve never understood how two authors with different muses, voices, and ideas, could, combined, form one cohesive work. Sure, Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim Lahaye co-produced the legendary Left Behind Series, but … those men are clearly brilliant, which I am not.
I struggle to keep my own plot threads straight. Why in the world would I ever willingly tangle them with those crafted by another author?
Those were my thoughts prior to Dancing in the Rain. To be fair, all of the plot threads began in my co-author’s mind. In fact, by the time I stepped into the project, she’d fleshed everything out. I simply added a bit of Slattery flavor to the mix, tweaking things here, adding things there.
Not that the process was easy or seamless. We passed the manuscript back and forth for numerous revisions, some of which were quite comical. Like when she and I revised the same line numerous times, each time tweaking it into our particular voice. We ended up, largely, picking characters. Because Eileen has a musical background (and is a bit more refined than I am), her voice came out strongest in Loni’s POV.
Because I grew up in Hillbilly haven, you might say, my voice can be seen most in Michael’s POV.
But throughout the process, and the scads of books Eileen and I had worked together (in an ongoing critique-partner relationship) on prior, she and I found we held a lot more similarities than differences.
First, we’re both conservative. We both believe God’s children were created and redeemed to live “on mission”. That this is when we discover our truest selves and find fulfillment. And having lived our own romance stories with amazing, godly men, we both love romance. After all, heart-to-heart living was God’s design! We also have a deep, passionate love for Jesus and seeing others come to know Him and learn to live in Him.
If not for those similarities, this project would’ve failed, and perhaps even damaged our friendship in the process.
There are countless ways authors can successfully work together, but if you’re considering co-authoring a story or novella, here are my suggestions.
- Make sure you’re on the same page theologically. (Even in secular books, one’s worldview comes out.)
- Set clear expectations up front. Who will write what? Who has the final say when it comes to edits, revisions, or disagreements?
- Discuss final outcome. Will you submit the work to traditional publishers or release it independently?
- How will you divide workload and profits?
- Once released, who will manage the marketing? Will this be evenly divided or will one of you take this on?
- Bathe your partner and your project in prayer.
Open, communication on the front end will help you avoid numerous problems on the backend and will make for a much more pleasant writing experience.
Your turn! Have you ever co-authored a book? If so, any suggestions or things to watch out for that you can share? If you haven’t, is this something you have or are considering? Why are you considering this? What are your hesitations?
Share your thoughts and suggestions with us in the comments below.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer and international speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and other writers across the nation. She’s the author of six contemporary novels maintains a devotional blog found at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com. She has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, (http://whollyloved.com) she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
About Dancing in the Rain:
On the verge of college graduation, Loni Parker seeks employment as a music teacher, but no one will hire her since she’s blind. Or so she thinks. To take her mind off her troubles, her roommate invites her to spring retreat at Camp Hope in the gorgeous North Carolina mountains.
Unbeknownst to Loni, Michael Ackerman, the director, is an ex-con responsible for the accident that caused her blindness. When Loni warms up to camp and wants to return as a summer counselor, Michael opposes the idea, which only makes Loni want to prove herself all the more. Her need for independence and dream of teaching win out, taking her far away from her beloved Camp Hope . . . and a certain director.
Camp director Michael Ackerman recognizes Loni instantly and wants to avoid her at all costs. Her presence also dredges up a long-buried anger toward his alcoholic father that he’d just as soon keep hidden. When circumstances spin out of control, Michael is forced to face a past that may destroy his present.
Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CSH8F97