Double the Impact How to Work With a Co-Author (and Why You Should)

Double the Impact: How to Work With a Co-Author (and Why You Should)

By The WBR Team

You’ve achieved remarkable success in your field. You have a wealth of knowledge and a burning desire to share your expertise with the world. So, you’re writing a book. But what if we told you there’s a way to amplify your message, reach a wider audience, and make the entire process more enjoyable? 

Enter: co-authoring. 

While sharing creative control might feel like you’re complicating an already complex process, the benefits of collaborating on your business book can far outweigh the challenges. 

Why co-author your book?

Let’s face it: writing a book demands dedication, focus, and a significant time investment (usually months to years).  Co-authoring can alleviate these pressures while offering a host of advantages. You can:

  • Divide and conquer: Splitting the workload can dramatically reduce the time it takes to write and publish your book.
  • Expand your reach:  A co-author brings their network and audience, instantly expanding the potential reach of your book. Imagine tapping into a whole new pool of ideal readers eager to absorb your combined wisdom.
  • Complement your strengths: Identify a co-author whose expertise complements yours. Perhaps they excel at storytelling while you shine in data analysis. This synergy creates a richer, more well-rounded book that resonates with a broader audience.
  • Combat writer’s block: We’ve all been there. Staring at a blank page can be a creativity killer.  A co-author provides a sounding board, fresh perspectives, and renewed motivation when the writing gets tough.
  • Enjoy the journey: Writing a book should be a rewarding experience. Sharing the journey with a like-minded individual can make the process more enjoyable, collaborative, and, ultimately, more fulfilling.

Finding the perfect co-author: where to begin

Choosing the right co-author is crucial for a successful collaboration. Look for someone who:

  • Shares your vision:  Ensure you’re aligned on the book’s core message, target audience, and overall goals.
  • Possesses complementary expertise: Seek out an individual whose knowledge base complements yours, adding depth and breadth to your book’s content.
  • Demonstrates strong communication skills: Open, honest, and frequent communication is critical for a harmonious and productive co-authoring experience.
  • Shares your work ethic: Choose someone as committed to the project as you are, ensuring a balanced workload and timely completion.

Setting the stage for success: actionable tips for co-authoring

You’ve found your ideal co-author, ironed out the details, and are ready to launch this book into the stratosphere. But how do you actually write a book with another person?

Flexibility and open communication are key. Here are a few tips to make the process run smoothly:

1. Brainstorming as a team

  • Find your groove: Everyone has their creative process. Some people thrive on structured outlines, while others prefer mind maps or free-flowing brainstorming sessions. Find what works for both of you and create a space where ideas can flourish.
  • Embrace curiosity: Be open to exploring your co-author’s ideas, even if they differ from your initial vision. You might discover unexpected gems that elevate your book to new heights.
  • Outline, outline, outline: Once you have a solid foundation of ideas, create a detailed outline. This roadmap will keep you both on track and ensure a cohesive flow throughout the book.

2. Writing as a team

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the actual writing process. Some standard methods include:

  • Chapter by chapter: Each author takes turns writing complete chapters, ensuring a consistent voice throughout the book.
  • Outlining and prose: One author focuses on crafting the outline and structure, while the other brings the story to life with their prose.
  • Writing and editing: One author takes the lead on writing, while the other provides feedback, edits, and polishes the manuscript.

3. Revising as a team

  • Constructive feedback is king: Create a safe space for honest and constructive feedback. Remember, the goal is to strengthen the manuscript, not bruise egos.
  • Focus on the big picture: When reviewing feedback, always refer to your initial objectives. Do the suggested changes serve the book, target audience, and overall goals?
  • Unified vision: Even if one author has the final say, ensure both voices are heard and respected throughout the revision process.

4. Achieving a unified writing style, voice, and tone

  • Find Your North Star: Before you start writing, agree on a shared writing style and tone. Reference other authors or books that embody your desired style as a guide.
  • Highlight what works: Identify and celebrate each other’s strengths as you write. If one author excels at case studies, encourage them to leverage those skills throughout the manuscript.
  • Experiment: Don’t be afraid to experiment and learn from each other. Encourage your co-author to infuse their unique voice and style into the writing, creating a richer and more dynamic final product.

5. Managing co-author conflicts

Conflicts are inevitable in any collaboration, especially when working on a massive project like a business book. Here’s how to navigate them effectively:

Creative disagreements:

  1. Listen with empathy and try to understand your co-author’s perspective.
  2. Don’t rush the conversation. Give yourselves time to process and articulate your viewpoints.
  3. Remember, it’s not a competition. The goal is to find the best solution for the book.

Personal conflicts:

  1. Address issues directly and respectfully before they escalate.
  2. Establish clear boundaries and expectations regarding deadlines, communication styles, and feedback delivery.
  3. Focus on finding solutions that work for both parties.

Tools and resources for writing teams

Leverage technology to streamline your collaboration:

  • Project management: Trello, Asana, or Notion for task management, deadlines, and progress tracking.
  • Communication: Zoom, Slack, or Google Meet for virtual meetings and quick check-ins.
  • Collaborative writing software: Consider using a program like Dabble or Google Docs that allows for real-time editing and feedback within the manuscript.

Co-authoring: your gateway to a powerful business book

As a business leader, you should embrace the opportunity to collaborate with a like-minded individual, amplify your message, and create a business book that leaves a lasting impact on your readers. 

Remember, two heads are often better than one, especially when crafting a compelling and impactful business book. 

If you (and your co-author) want professional support crafting a book in your unique voice without spending hours chained to a keyboard, book a free call today to discover how we can help.

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