A Quick Guide to Collaboration
There is a common myth that’s associated with fiction writers – that myth is that they don’t play well with others. After all, fiction writers are creators of their own worlds. They are all essentially gods over those worlds. Most of us are perfectly content sitting in front of our keyboards while diving headlong into our own world.
An often overlooked, yet powerful tool is author collaboration. In most cases, authors don’t really see other authors as competition. Writing and publishing is hard enough without us fighting each other over readers. Readers will generally be a fan of multiple authors anyway.
Since we’re not really in competition with each other, then why don’t we collaborate more often? The truth is that many writers just never consider it. With that in mind, let’s look at some simple methods that authors can use to collaborate.
Personally, I love being a part of groups but I understand that some of you might be a little bit uncomfortable with the idea. If I’m being honest here, you must thwart that discomfort right now if you plan on being an author. We have an obligation to be social.
Find some local authors in your area and start a group. I recommend that you start with a Facebook Group, let it grow, and then set up some in-person group meetings. In-person meetings are extremely powerful. Being surrounded by other writers is inspiring, plus it gives you a way to access the quality of your book since you can exchange reviews.
Maybe schedule something like a Facebook Group Skype conference once a week and an in-person meeting every month.
Find Common Ground
Having a group of other worldly creators really helps. The larger your network, the better because it gives you more opportunities. Just remember that your main goal with collaboration is to provide value to others. Take action without expecting anything in return. I’m not saying you won’t get anything but you should never put a price on helping someone else. Let the return favors come naturally.
Find a common ground with other authors. For example, maybe you have an email list that you can share their book with? If so, then don’t hesitate to offer your help.
Let your Darlings Go
Having several creative minds collaborating gives you an audience of really smart people to pitch your ideas to. Sometimes, your ideas might get shot down. Other times, it might get approval. The most idea scenario is when an idea gets shot down and the group starts saying things like, “You might try this instead of that…”
The problem that a lot of us have in the beginning of our writing careers is that we are not willing to let our darling stories go, even when we should. I completely understand because I used to be the same way. With that said, having a group helping you work out the details is extremely powerful.
If the group tells you that your pitch sucks, then they have done you a favor. They gave you an opportunity for feedback before publication so you can go in and fix the problems. There’s no need to be protective of your concept.
Trust Your Fellow Writers
Finally, build an environment where fellow writers can be completely open and trustworthy. Trust creates a fertile ground for planting the seeds of storytelling.