Editing

Do All Writers Need to Hire an Editor? Here’s Why I Say No!

A trend I’ve noticed recently among writing blogs and websites is a growing consensus that to succeed as a writer, you MUST engage an editor for your work.

This is an assertion that I feel needs to be challenged. Yes, a good editor is a wonderful thing to have, but there are two major stumbling blocks.

First, finding a good freelance editor isn’t as easy as you might think. Bear in mind that anyone can call themselves an editor. As well as the genuinely good ones, there are plenty of deluded amateurs and some out-and-out fraudsters. Sorting out the good from the bad and the ugly is by no means a simple task.

And even if you are lucky and find a good editor, their services aren’t cheap. For a full-length book you can expect to pay several thousand pounds/dollars. If you are self publishing – on Kindle, for example – you need to think carefully whether any boost in sales that may result will cover this.

Self-publishing authors sometimes believe that a freelance editor will be able to help them with the deeper, structural aspects of their book as well. This is akin to the role performed by developmental editors in traditional publishing houses. Whether a freelance editor can realistically offer this service is in my view very doubtful, however.

Developmental editing tends to be a slow, iterative process. The editor typically reads and reflects carefully on the manuscript, then raises queries and offers suggestions to the author. The author duly reflects on this and gives his/her reactions, and so on. This can work very well with a salaried editor who is employed by a publishing house, but it is not really compatible with freelance editing, where you are charged by the page or the hour. If you hire a freelance editor, what you are basically getting is a copy editor. They may (or may not) make the odd structural suggestion as they go, but it is a long way from the in-depth feedback you will get from a developmental editor in a publishing house.

My advice is therefore to ignore anyone who tells you that you MUST hire an editor. Instead, I recommend a two-pronged approach. First, be sure you are fully up to speed with the basics of grammar and punctuation (my course Essential English for Authors might be helpful here – just saying!). Aim to be your own best editor (and proofreader) rather than relying on someone else.

And second, make full use of free and low-cost resources such as beta readers (other authors are often happy to reciprocate in this role) and online forums such as myWritersCircle. Off-line resources such as writers’ groups can be a big help as well. By this means you can get a lot of valuable feedback about your work without spending a fortune.

If you hear of a good editor and can afford their services, by all means use them too. But be realistic about how much benefit you are likely to get from their input, and weigh this carefully against the costs involved.

Remember, also, that with e-book (or POD) publishing, if someone tells you about a mistake, it is a very simple matter to correct and republish. Getting everything 100 percent correct before publishing, while still desirable, is therefore no longer so essential.

Of course, if you’re aiming to get published by a traditional publishing house, some of the above comments may not apply. But still, bear in mind that in-house editors provide their services free of charge if the publisher sees potential in your work. Your objective as an author should therefore be to ensure that your manuscript demonstrates such potential. No freelance editor will be able to ‘fix’ your manuscript if it is basically unpublishable. But that won’t stop them taking your money, of course.

So that’s my view, but what do you think? Should all aspiring writers be told to hire an editor for their work, or is this (as I think) unrealistic in many cases? Please post any comments you may have below.

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Puzzle Publishing Profits

Review: Puzzle Publishing Profits by Amy Harrop

Puzzle Publishing Profits is the latest writing product to be launched by my prolific colleague Amy Harrop.

Amy is a successful self-published author, and publisher of many guides and software products for authors. She was kind enough to allow me a review copy, so here’s what I found…

Puzzle Publishing Profits is a guide to making money by publishing puzzle books of all types, probably using Amazon’s CreateSpace print publishing platform. It is being sold via the popular and well-established WarriorPlus platform. The main guide is a 60-page PDF.

As you would expect with any of Amy’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with graphics and screen captures where relevant.

In the manual, Amy explains how you can capitalize on the huge market for puzzle books. She starts by discussing the wide range of such books and reveals the various target audiences for them, from children to the elderly. She also discusses current trends in the puzzle books field. The manual covers crossword puzzles, Sudoku, logic puzzles, maze puzzles, word-search, graphic puzzles, math (or maths) puzzles, brainteasers, and many more.

The latter part of the manual then discusses how readers can write, publish and market these books themselves. Amy recommends publishing in print rather than Kindle e-book form, as in general people like to complete puzzles using a pen and paper, not on a tablet or e-reader. As mentioned above, she recommends using Amazon’s CreateSpace POD (print on demand) self-publishing platform.

Clearly covering how to do all this in detail would require a much longer book, so what Amy has done is link to useful resources throughout the manual. Some of these resources she has produced herself, while others are from external websites. An example of the former is a six-page spreadsheet listing sources of online puzzle-making software (free and paid for), puzzle-making resources, forums, Facebook Groups, Yahoo Groups, and Pinterest pages. The forum, groups and Pinterest pages strike me as being more relevant for puzzle aficionados than for puzzle-book makers,. but the software and resources websites are certainly worth knowing about.

There is some good advice on publishing your puzzle book using CreateSpace, again with links to other resources for finding out more. The manual closes with an 8-page discussion of how to promote your puzzle book. This focuses especially on writing a good description of your book for the Amazon store, and using social media to build your following and help spread the word. I thought there were some very good tips here.

When preparing puzzle books, Amy advises strongly against referring to actual product and brand names. While I understand her caution, personally I think it’s a bit excessive. While I would agree that producing a Frozen puzzle book is a bad idea and would likely attract the attention of the Disney company lawyers, simply mentioning the name of a movie or TV show in a broader-based book is unlikely to cause problems. If that were not the case, most trivia quiz books (such as the one pictured below that I wrote a while ago for my clients at Lagoon Games) would never see the light of day. The key thing is to be sensible and only refer to high-profile, trademarked productions in a broader context. In a themed puzzle book about movies, for example, you could (in my view) have a wordsearch puzzle featuring the names of well-known characters from children’s films.

TV trivia quiz book by Nick Daws

As well as the main manual, buyers of Puzzle Publishing Profits get two bonus items. I didn’t actually receive these with my pre-launch review copy, but here are the descriptions from the sales page:

Amy Puzzle Book Bonusese

It sounds as though these will add value to the main manual, especially the CreateSpace publishing guide.

In summary, Puzzle Publishing Profits is an eye-opening guide to a field that appears crammed with potential right now, and it has definitely inspired me to think about trying it myself. It is currently on a launch special offer for $17 (about £14), after which – as is Amy’s usual practice – the price will be rising to $27. If you want to broaden your publishing portfolio with something that is fun and not too time-consuming, it is definitely worth a look.

If you have any comments or questions about Puzzle Publishing Profits, as always, please do post them below.

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Steemit: A New Social Blogging Website It Pays to Join!

I wanted to give you a heads-up today about a new social blogging website named Steemit. It only launched quite recently, and they are currently paying new users a fee (valued at around $7) just for signing up.

I am still getting my head around Steemit and how best to make use of it, but essentially it is based around the Steem cryptocurrency. You can earn Steem on the site by blogging and (just as important) commenting on other people’s blogs and voting up the best new posts. The currency you earn can be converted to Bitcoin or hard currencies such as pounds and dollars. Some people have already earned thousands of dollars via the site.

I have only just joined Steemit and am still finding my way around. One resource I have found very helpful, however, is a guide called Steem Cash, by online entrepreneur Michael X. This is currently available at an introductory price of $9. Without it, bearing in mind the complex rules about how you earn on the site, I would undoubtedly have been floundering.

Michael claims to have made $5324.74 his first week of posting content, just by “dabbling” to see if he wanted to get involved. I have no way of knowing if that is true or not, but from the screen captures (such as the one below) it certainly seems feasible.

 

Screenshot_60

 

As for me, I have literally only joined today, so I can confirm that I found $7 worth of “Steem Power” in my account just for signing up. I still don’t really know what the long-term potential of Steemit is, but it certainly appears to be something any entrepreneurial writer needs to check out. There is nothing to pay (unless you want to, in order to boost your influence on the site), so you aren’t really risking anything except your time.

I will post again about Steemit once I have a bit more experience with the platform. Until then, as mentioned above, I do recommend the inexpensive Steem Cash guide for getting up to speed with it quickly.

As always, if you have any comments or questions about Steemit or Steem Cash, please feel free to post them below.

iconOrder Steem Cash Here!

UPDATE: I just uploaded my introductory post at https://steemit.com/introduceyourself/@nikkd/hello-steemit-looking-forward-to-an-exciting-journey. If you have joined Steemit yourself, any upvotes will be much appreciated. Because of the way the site works, you could make yourself some money as well by doing so!

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Beat Writer’s Block with Binaural Beats

If you ever suffer from the dreaded writer’s block, this product from my publishers WCCL (also known as the Self Development Network) might be of interest to you.

The Writer’s Block CD doesn’t offer advice or ideas on rediscovering creativity, nor is it (simply) a relaxation inducer. Rather, it uses a technology called binaural beats to help ‘entrain’ the mind into a creative state. To explain this, I need to start with a bit of theory.

If you’ve studied psychology (which I have, a long time ago) you’ll know scientists can measure the electrical activity in our brains using a device called an electroencephalogram (EEG).

It has been known for a long time that different mental states are associated with different patterns of electrical activity. For example, someone who is fully awake and alert will probably exhibit relatively high frequency electrical activity patterns (13-40Hz), known as beta waves. Someone in deep sleep will display low frequency activity (below 3.5Hz), known as delta waves.

The frequency most associated with creative thought is alpha (7-13Hz). Alpha waves are typically produced by people in a relaxed, but receptive, frame of mind. It seems to follow that, if you can encourage your brain to go into a high-alpha state, it should give your creativity a boost.

Unfortunately, though, you can’t achieve this simply by playing sounds at 7-13Hz. The trouble is that this is simply below most people’s hearing threshold. However, the Writer’s Block CD attempts to get around this by using ‘binaural beat’ technology. Stick with me, because I’m almost through with the theory now.

It has been discovered that if you play tones of slightly different frequencies to each ear, they combine within the brain to create a low frequency resonance. For example, if you play a tone of 320Hz in one ear and 330Hz in the other, it will create a resonance at a frequency of 10Hz – the difference between them. By using this method, the brain can be entrained into a high alpha-wave state.

So how does it work in practice? Well, the CD comes in a jewel case, and you simply load it into your music center or PC and play it.

It’s best if you listen through a pair of headphones rather than loudspeakers. As I mentioned above, the CD works by producing slightly different frequencies in each ear, and if you listen through speakers inevitably the sounds from the left and the right side will get mixed up.

I’d also advise turning up the bass quite high: some of the sounds on the CD are quite low-pitched, and it seems to me you get better results if you boost them.

And finally, close your eyes while you are listening to the CD. From the occasion when, as a psychology major, I was wired up to an EEG machine, I know that the simple act of closing your eyes can greatly boost your alpha-wave output!

There are two tracks on the CD: a brief intro (which you can skip if you like) and the binaural beat track, which is 35 minutes long. It starts with a low-pitched throb – a bit like having a ten-tonne truck standing on the road outside – and gradually other, higher-pitched tones are introduced over the top of this. I wouldn’t recommend playing this CD at a dinner party, but it is not unpleasant to listen to.

The advice provided with the CD is to try to relax as you listen – don’t fight against it, in other words! Personally, I use it at the start of my writing day, though impatience sometimes gets the better of me before the CD has finished and I start work while the tones are still playing.

Does it work for me? Yes, I think so. To be honest I don’t often suffer from writer’s block, but sometimes it takes a while for me to ‘get into the groove’ at the start of a writing session. I find that listening to the CD relaxes me and helps me to focus on the job in hand.

Would it work for everyone? I’m not sure, though there is plenty of evidence that binaural beats do have a real effect, and the phenomenon is increasingly used in treating (among other things) sleep disorders and chronic pain. For more information about the science involved see, for example, http://web-us.com/thescience.htm.

If you’d like to give the Writer’s Block CD a try yourself, following any of the links in this article will take you straight to the relevant web page. As with all WCCL courses and products, 24-hour customer support is available, and there is a 100% money-back guarantee.

Order the Writers Block CD here!

Photo: CC BY-SA by FindYourSearch

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Commentluv

Entrepreneur Writer – Now With Added Commentluv!

Just wanted to give you a heads up that Entrepreneur Writer is now using the Commentluv plug-in for reader comments.

This means that if you are a blogger yourself and you place a comment on my blog, you will be able to get a link back to a post on your own blog below it.

If you haven’t used Commentluv before, here’s how it works. When posting a comment on my blog, all you need to do is include the URL of your own blog in the Your Website box and ensure that the tick-box next to Commentluv is checked.

By default the most recent post from your blog should then be selected. Alternatively, by clicking on the down arrow, a list of your 10 most recent posts should be displayed, and you can click to select any of these instead. The screen capture below should help make this clearer

commentluvOne important point to note is that you will need to include the http:// prefix in your blog URL for the plugin to work.

I hope you will enjoy this new feature of Entrepreneur Writer and make good use of it. Any queries or comments, of course, please do post them below!

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Remain Tee-shirt

Lessons Learned from My First Teespring Publishing Project

In this post a few weeks ago I revealed that I had tried publishing a tee-shirt design on the popular Teespring platform.

The campaign is over, so I thought I would take this opportunity to reveal how it went and some of the lessons I learned from it.

Of course, the main aim of the campaign was to make some sort of profit. Unfortunately, the profit I made barely covered the money I spent advertising the shirt on Facebook. Still, at least I didn’t make an overall loss!

So one thing I learned straightaway is that making money on Teespring isn’t as easy as you might think. I thought I had a witty, topical idea and a snazzy design, but the great British online public (whom I targeted) thought otherwise.

Here are a few more lessons I learned along the way as well, in the hope they might help anyone else who is considering trying their hand at this…

1. In many ways Teespring is a great platform for designing tee-shirts, but some aspects of the way it works aren’t especially intuitive. For example, initially I assumed that with any design potential customers would be able to choose from the whole range of shirt colours. That is not actually the case. You have to specify what colours you want your shirt to be made available in, and there is a maximum to the number you can choose.

2. Just because your design generates interest and “likes”, it doesn’t automatically mean people will want to buy it. As you will see from the image above, my shirt had a political message, on a topic that in the UK is still generating a lot of controversy. One comment I received was that even people who sympathized with the message might feel uncomfortable going out wearing a shirt that others could find provocative.

3. You must expect and be prepared for some negative comments and even trolling. I got my fair share of this on Facebook from people on the other side of the Brexit argument. There were also some people who appeared outraged that I was attempting to make money in this way.

4. If you advertise your tee-shirt on Facebook, bear in mind that people will comment in ways you can’t control. Neither can you delete negative comments made in response to the ads. Of course I am not against freedom of speech, but it is somewhat frustrating when your carefully prepared Facebook ad on which you have spent good money is effectively defaced by abuse and obscenities.

5. if you hope to make money selling tee-shirts on Teespring, you need to have a way of targeting potential buyers as precisely as possible. Facebook can be your friend here, as you can select by interest, age-group, geographical location, and so forth. In my case I selected an audience of young people (age 20 to 30) in the UK. It quickly became apparent that this was far too broad, and my advertisement was being shown to a lot of people who disagreed with the message, to whom it came across as a red rag to a bull (see points 3 and 4, above).

So would I try tee-shirt marketing on Teespring again? The answer is yes, absolutely, but I would probably steer clear of political slogans! A lot of people who have succeeded in this field target a very precise niche market, e.g. dachshund owners. Come up with something that appeals to these people and you should have a much better chance of making a profit while avoiding a torrent of personal abuse.

I also realise that to succeed in this field you need to hone your skills in targeting people who are likely to buy your design. With my anti-Brexit shirt, I realise now that my targeting was hopelessly broad. While I could have narrowed it down a bit by targeting people interested in Europe (for example), precision targeting buyers for this shirt would still have been difficult – at any rate using Facebook advertising.

So that was my experience of setting up a tee-shirt marketing campaign on Teespring. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to post them below. I would also be interested to hear from anyone who has tried out this sideline moneymaking method for themselves.

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Poets – Join in the MWC Midsummer Poetry Fest!

Regular readers will know that I was one of the founders of the online forum myWritersCircle.com, and until quite recently used to manage it.

Although I am no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the forum, I am still a member and retain a close interest in what goes on there.

So today I wanted to give you a heads-up about a special event that has just been launched on the forum. The MWC Midsummer Poetry Fest is aimed specifically at poetry writers, and includes a wide range of contests and challenges.

The events include the Poet-athalon, which requires participants to post poems in a variety of different recognised forms, and The Martini Tent, which is for poems inspired by drink! There is also a contest to find the Midsummer Poet Laureate, based on nominations and an open vote.

The events will be mainly for fun and the kudos of winning, though I understand there may be some prizes as well. You will need to be a member of myWritersCircle.com to take part, but if you are not already, joining is free and only takes a few moments. There is no cost for taking part in any of the events.

Many thanks to the poets of MWC, and especially moderator Cornelius Poe, for taking the initiative to organize this event.

Good luck, and see you at The MWC Midsummer Poetry Fest!

Picture: CC BY-NC-ND by rknickme

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Pokemon Go

How Can Writers Make Money from Pokémon Go?

In case you hadn’t noticed, the world is in the throes of a Pokémon Go craze. People everywhere are holding their smartphones in front of their faces and scouring their neighbourhoods for Pokémon monsters!

Pokémon Go is a so-called “augmented reality” game. Players can download the app to their phones for free, and then look around their area (and even their home) for these cartoon creatures, which are superimposed on the image in their phone cameras.

CC BY by mugwumpian

Although I haven’t felt any particular urge to try the game myself, its sudden and massive popularity has intrigued me – and of course any trend like this presents golden opportunities for entrepreneurial writers.

Some possibilities would be to write and publish a Kindle e-book on some aspect of the game – here’s one example – or to create a blog or Facebook page devoted to it. This could then be monetized with affiliate links and so on.

But what if you’re like me and haven’t even played the game? No problem! Just do a search for “Pokémon Go PLR”. Already there is no shortage of private label right content you can buy for just a few dollars, then polish and edit to make it your own.

One example is Pokémon Go 101 PLR from Jenn Elizabeth. This is a well produced report that covers everything people need to know about playing Pokémon Go. As it is PLR, you can use it in any way you wish, including breaking it down into blog posts, or editing it and publishing it as a Kindle e-book.

If you want a lot more ideas for profiting from Pokémon Go, my colleague, authority marketing innovator Barb Ling, has just released a quick one-page cheatsheet on how to make the most from this trend. It’s currently on dimesale, but at the time of writing still available for under four dollars. As well as ideas for content you could produce, it also includes multiple ways to make money from your content.

Barb also offers a number of optional upgrades, including:

  • 17 additional techniques for profiting from Pokémon Go.
  • her trademark Pokémon Go Product Solution Templates
  • 75 customized Pokeball viral social media images (blank, FB Live templates and Periscope templates)
  • resources to become a top Pokémon Go authority
  • and you’ll also be offered $200 and $250 off her popular bootcamps

For more information on Barb’s Pokémon Go cheatsheet, please click here.

BaPokemonGoLogorb has been making a living online for many years, and is a prolific producer of money-making content and reports. I always keep a close eye on what she says, and I think she is bang on the money with this. If you’re an entrepreneurial writer, this is definitely something you should be checking out.

Good luck if you take action to profit from the Pokémon Go craze. If you have any questions or comments, do feel free to leave them below. And if you go ahead and produce a PG-related product, you are very welcome to leave a link to it in the comments on this post as well!

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Property Crowdfunding: An Investment Opportunity for Everyone

Regular readers will know that my main writing clients these days are More Money Review. I review business opportunities and also write articles for their website and newsletter.

One thing I have written a lot about recently is the extra income possibilities offered by crowdfunding. This is something I have developed a particular interest in, so I thought today I would say a bit about one particular aspect, property crowdfunding.

Clearly, I appreciate that not all readers of my blog will be interested in investment opportunities just now, but you never know when a competition prize or big advance from a mainstream publishing house may arrive (see this recent guest post from author Iain Maitland for some inspiration). And, more prosaically, you may inherit some money and be looking for more interesting and lucrative investment opportunities than simply putting it in a savings account for the derisory levels of interest currently on offer.

Why Property Crowdfunding?

Investing in bricks and mortar has long been a favourite strategy of the wealthy. Property owners get a double benefit: rent from tenants for as long as they own the property, and – in most cases – a healthy profit if they choose to sell.

Of course, property doesn’t come cheap. And even if you can stretch to buying a modest house or flat for investment purposes, you are taking the risk of putting all your eggs in one basket. As a result, many people of more modest means have concluded that property investment is not for them.

Crowdfunding is changing all that, however. A growing number of platforms now exist that allow ordinary folk the chance to buy a share in an investment property for as little as £50. Investors then receive a proportion of the rental income generated, and also get a share of the profit when and if the property is sold.

I now have investments via three different property crowdfunding platforms – a block of flats in Torquay in which I own a small share is pictured above! – but in this post I want to focus on one platform in particular, the UK-based Property Partner. This was only launched in January 2015, and has swiftly become the UK’s largest property crowdfunding website. They have over 6,235 investors, who between them have invested over £24 million in properties across the UK. Non-UK investors are welcome to join Property Partner too, so long as the legal system in their country permits it. Unfortunately, US residents are not able to invest this way at the moment.

One big attraction of Property Partner is that they have an active secondary market. That means investors can offer part or all of their portfolio for sale at any time.

Obviously, to sell your shares in a property you will need a buyer, but Property Partner say that so long as they are priced reasonably (i.e. at or below the current official price) shares normally sell within 72 hours. By contrast, other property crowdfunding platforms such as The House Crowd and CrowdLords do not run secondary markets, though they say they will always help would-be sellers find a buyer if required.

Another attraction of Property Partner is that dividends are paid monthly, unlike other platforms which typically pay annually. Money from dividends builds up in your account, and you can either withdraw it or reinvest it in other properties. When you add that you can get started on Property Partner for as little as £50, it is not all that surprising to me that they have enjoyed such success.

Clearly, I’m not saying that everyone should invest in Property Partner – that depends on your personal circumstances and investment goals, and you should always take professional advice if you have any doubts before investing. But if you are looking for a property crowdfunding platform to invest with, in my view they should definitely be at or near the top of your list.

Finally, as a further incentive, if you join Property Partner via any of the links in this article and invest at least £1,000, you will receive an extra £50 (and so will I!). This is a special promotion and may of course be withdrawn at any time. I am not aware of any plans to end this offer currently, but if that happens I will of course amend this post accordingly.

Good luck, and if you have any comments or questions about property crowdfunding and/or Property Partner, please do post them below.

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working together

Should Writers Work With a Collaborator?

Periodically I get asked my opinion about writers working collaboratively.

It’s a topic that interests me, so I thought I’d set out some of my views here.

In principle, I like the idea of working with a collaborator. Writing can be a lonely business, so the prospect of working with someone else is attractive for the human contact aspect alone.

Plus you have someone else to bounce ideas off (many of the most successful comedy writers work in duos and I’m sure this is part of the reason). And, not least, having a collaborator means that they will do some of the work instead of you!

Of course, there are drawbacks to working with collaborators too. If you don’t get on with your partner or constantly disagree with them, the savings in time and effort may evaporate. Instead of being entirely free to pursue your own artistic vision, you may sometimes have to compromise. And any payments resulting from your labours will have to be shared with your partner instead of all going into your own pocket.

I have worked with writing partners on various occasions over the years (and am still open to the idea if the right project comes up!). The person I’ve worked with most often is my old friend, the poet and performer Simon Pitt.

One of our first collaborations was a sketch show called The Naked Apricot (a satire of the then-famous book by Dr Desmond Morris, “The Naked Ape”). This was performed by a local amateur theatre company, and in financial terms anyway was their most successful show ever (admittedly, it probably helped that we didn’t get paid a fee for it!).

More recently I collaborated with Simon on a couple of non-fiction books: Fifty Great Ideas for Creative Writing Teaching and How to Invite Any Writer, Artist or Performer Into Your School (currently out of print).

The way Simon and I work is to take a project, divide it into chapters or sections, and then allocate each of these to one of us or the other. When we have completed our assigned chapters, we pass them over to the other one to read, edit and add his own input. In addition, I tend to handle the IT-related aspects, as I’m sure Simon would agree that this is not his strongest suit.

One thing we don’t do (or at least hardly ever) is sit down together and go through our draft manuscripts line by line, word by word. Apart from being horribly time consuming, I could imagine this putting our friendship under strain. In my experience anyway, it’s easier to accept (and give) criticism in the form of a quick note rather than face to face.

My number one advice to anyone thinking of working with a collaborator is to agree how you will work together first. If your collaborator expects you to sit down and write together while you prefer to work alone and just meet for planning, marketing and so on, it’s doubtful whether the partnership will succeed.

Likewise, it’s important to discuss the proposed topic of your book, screenplay or whatever in detail, to ensure you don’t have totally different perspectives on it. That’s not to say you have to agree in advance on every point, but unless you have certain basic assumptions in common, the writing process is likely to become a test of endurance. This applies especially in fiction-writing projects.

One other important consideration is how much each person can contribute to the project. This is partly a matter of time, and partly one of skills and expertise.

Clearly, if one person has more time available for the project than the other, this could be a problem if the ultimate rewards are to be divided 50:50. You could, of course, agree a different division of the returns, but this really needs to be discussed beforehand and agreed by both partners. Attempting to negotiate a change mid-project if you think your partner isn’t pulling their weight is not an attractive prospect for either party.

As regards skills/expertise, I’ve sometimes turned down offers of collaboration when I couldn’t see what particular contribution I would be able to make to the project – how I could “add value” to it, in other words.

I think it’s important to know how your skills and expertise are going to mesh with your writing partner, and what input each of you expects from the other. Ideally there will be a synergy when you have complementary skills and expertise. But if one partner doesn’t have any distinctive contribution they can make, the project is unlikely to survive through to completion.

Finally, if you do decide to go ahead, it’s worth looking into the growing range of online resources that can facilitate working collaboratively.

One tool I have used quite a bit is Google Drive. This free platform lets you publish documents on the web where they can be viewed and, if you allow it, edited by other selected individuals (i.e. your writing partner/s).

This means it is feasible to work collaboratively with people in other countries and even other continents. I used Google Drive when planning and writing The Wealthy Writer, the downloadable course on making money writing for online markets I co-wrote with Ruth Barringham, who lives in Australia. The Wealthy Writer is a little outdated now, by the way, which is why I don’t actively promote it any more.

So what are your thoughts on collaboration? Do you actively seek out writing partners, or does the idea fill you with horror? I’d love to hear your views and experiences! Please post your thoughts below as usual.

Note: This post is an updated version of one first published a few years ago on my old blog at www.mywritingblog.com. 

Nick Daws Course

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