Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Is Co-Authoring the New Norm?

By now most everyone has read this NY Times article .  But I'm not here to talk about our Evil Overlords at Amazon. The quote at the end of the article by H.M. Ward is what concerns me.

“I've started working with four co-authors,” she said. “If you’re not constantly putting out new material, people forget you’re there.”

I am actually about to embark at least one- perhaps two collaborations with other authors. I see it as a way to up my production, ( hopefully! I've never collaborated before so I'll let you know how it goes) which is vital for digital and small press authors. Without the visibility that new releases bring (and don't forget to market!) small press and indie books sink fast into the abyss of the self-publishing glut. 

My own (possible) collaborations began before I read this article, but the quote at the end reinforced my thoughts and other advice I have heard (second hand) from successful self published authors. Get a new book out every four to six months. The key is content, content, content.

So is this the new norm? In the name of faster production will we all be collaborating? Will it necessarily lead to better books? Is the need, or the perceived need for the faster production of books in the name of maintaining a presence on the web going to be the fate of authors? Will we simply race to the finish line, cranking out as many books a year as possible. How good can out books be if this becomes the only viable way for authors to make a living int he new digital age? Or is it panic?

I have no answers. But I'm wondering if anyone has thoughts and opinions on this. I'd love to hear from people.


Charles Gramlich said...

I hope it's not the new norm. I don't think I'm suited for it.

Liane Spicer said...

I'm definitely not suited to this kind of collaboration, and I think the rush to put new content out is partly responsible for the glut of substandard fare clogging the stores. On the KDP boards I see people claiming that they put out six novels in as many months. My only response to that is HUH?

daytonward said...

I've been writing as half of a team for 15 years, and I've been doing this in addition to my solo writing. I don't really see it as upping productivity, though.

Unless we're talking about those "collaborations" where one person does all the work while the other person's name is first (and bigger) on the cover, it's not as though you're only concerned with half a book. In our case, we edit and even rewrite each other's material in order to achieve a "single voice." In some ways, it's even more work than just writing on my own. But, we both enjoy the collaborative process we've developed, so that makes the work worth it.

Che Gilson said...

Interesting! Thanks for the feedback! I'm really interested in this subject!

Jewel Amethyst said...

Putting out a glut of books is the hares way. Taking the time to write one or two good books is the tortoise's way. If you know the story well, the tortoise wins in the end.

The moral of the story: I think it is more beneficial to put out one really great story than a bunch of duds to keep your name out there. Think of the Dan Brown phenomenon. He puts them out slowly, but when they come out, they are explosive.

Chrys Fey said...

I've never co-authored and I don't think I could. Unless it was with my mom. Other than that...impossible for me.

Thanks for visiting my blog! :)

Che Gilson said...

I'm going to give collaborating a shot! I don't know if it will be faster than not, but my co-author and I have an idea/world we both really love. I think we are scheduled to begin in February.

Jane Turley said...

I doubt if I'll ever work in collaboration - I like the sound of my own voice too much:D

Some authors have really got sucked into this "knock out as many books as you can scenario" which is basically being fed by writers who come from a strong marketing background. It probably does work for generic fiction written to a formula, but I doubt there are very many writers following that path who produce really outstanding original fiction. Personally, I'm happy to wait for the next David Mitchell.