In April of this year, I got a call from my agent that went something like this:
She:“I’ve been hearing from several editors that they’re looking for a book like X. They were wondering if I had anything to submit that would fit the bill. I don’t, but I do have an author who could write a book like that.”
She:“Yeah. You. Can you get it done in twelve weeks?”
Which is about when a few annoying character traits of mine kicked in: (1) I find it impossible to say no; (2) I think I can do anything as long as I put my mind to it; and (3) I hate to let people down. The trouble is, I work full-time (and not at writing), plus I’ve got three kids who like to be occasionally fed.
As much as I put my mind to bending time and squeezing forty hours into twenty-four, I have not yet been able to pull that off. So here I was. I’d said yes to my agent, and now I was going to let her down. I wrote a synopsis, then sat down to cry when I realized how much work lay in front of me.
A few days later, a woman in my critique group mentioned how she thought it would be fun to co-write a book with me. The heavens parted.
So, we wrote that book, which was told from four points of view (2 major; 2 minor). We each took a major and minor character; thus, we each committed to writing 50% of the book. By the end, this equated to approximately 36,000 words each. Totally doable. We finished the project in not twelve weeks, but seven, and it is now edited and ready for submission.
As quickly as the process went for us, it wasn’t always easy and I learned some lessons along the way. If you’ve ever considered co-writing a book, these tips are for you.