Fiction is no different. While the traditional form of a novel is a single writer’s vision written down for the rest of us to enjoy, it’s becoming more commonplace to find novels co-written by two, three, or even three-and-a-half writers. The reasons for this are because it’s fun, easy, and makes money. That’s right, despite having to share the wealth, writing a collaboration can be lucrative. And that’s what writing is all about, huh? The money.
Recently I wrote a sequel to a book. The interesting thing is that the book was a sequel to another dude’s book, not my own. I loved Origins by JA Konrath and I wanted the story to continue. As Joe was taking his sweet time, I decided to ask if I could write the next entry myself. He said yes.
I wrote the entire novel, using Joe’s characters and adding my own. I linked his world to mine, sharing our individual created universes. When I was done, Joe took several months making his own changes until the book was almost exactly 50% his and 50% mine. We both agreed that the book was a hoot and that werewolves and bananas rule.
As the bigger, richer author, Joe paid for the artwork and editing, although I would’ve been happy to split it. Then we released the book to both of our audiences. They loved it. Our mutual fans loved seeing our individual characters interact. Joe’s fans loved getting a sequel to Origins. My fans loved seeing my characters in a new universe. My fans were introduced to Joe, while his many many fans were introduced to me. When the dust settled, one thing became clear. We had both managed to provide one another with new readers. We had shared our fan bases.
And that is probably the key benefit to collaborating: you share fan bases. The second benefit is that you release a book that appeals to two sets of fans instead of one, which usually means lots of sales. In my case, I had a third benefit: I was able to piggyback on the shoulders of a publishing giant, JA Konrath. I raised my profile and cemented myself as a name in many reader’s minds (horror readers mostly). If you are a big name author, collaborating with an up and comer is a great way to pay it forward. I’ll be doing just that very soon.