March 12, 2018

Guest Post: On Co-writing

by Jamaila Brinkley and Rebecca Norinne


Writing a book with another author can be a daunting proposition, and there’s a lot of advice out there about it. Everyone has their own journey, and every co-writing scenario is different, but there are a few things that worked really well for us.

Be Friends
I can’t imagine co-writing with an author who I didn’t personally know and support. We’ve been friends a long time, and started our writing careers at the same time even though we wrote in different sub-genres of romance. We’re familiar with each others’ writing, but more importantly we’re familiar with each other. We know what’s going on in each other’s lives, so we’re patient with delays and excited about successes.

Plan — Just a Little
One of us is a "pantser," and the other is a "plotter." But when you’re blending two writing styles, you have to at least have a vague idea of where you’re going, even if it’s just a few chapters ahead plus an idea of what the happy ending looks like! We put together a shared Google document that had a timeline for our book in it, and then cheerfully strayed wildly from our original plan. Our document is full of markup and comments, but it served as a baseline for us, especially when we needed to go back and refresh ourselves to see what was supposed to happen next.

Figure Out Who’s Doing What
There are a lot of ways to co-write. Some people alternate full drafts; some alternate acts or even scenes. There are even epistolary novelists who just exchange letters! What worked for us was to agree to a dual POV story, and alternating POV chapters. Then each of us took one POV, so we wrote alternating chapters and simply passed them back and forth.
    Bonus: can you guess which of us wrote which POV in THE VINTNER’S VIXEN??

Agree On a Release Plan
When will your book come out? How much editing will it go through, and where are you getting your cover? All of the same decisions you make when you publish your own work have to be made by committee in co-writing, so you’d better make sure you’re on the same page. No pun intended. Who’s going to be in charge of publishing, if you’re self-pubbing? Whose Draft2Digital account is going to be the one the book is published through (and sales come back to)? What marketing will you do individually or together?

Have a Contract
This is the boring part, but it protects both of you. Have a contract that spells out what happens with money spent, money earned, and rights, particularly if something should happen to one member of the partnership. It doesn’t have to be complex, and it doesn’t even have to be in legalese, but it should be written down somewhere (and, preferably, signed!). Nobody thinks that your co-writer is suddenly going to turn into a villain and abscond with the profits of your book; a contract is in place to remind you both what you agreed on and to make sure that if something happens, or one of you decides not to keep going with the project, that the effort you both put in wasn’t in vain. And your heirs will appreciate the clarity on what happens to the rights to your work! (You have a will, right? That’s another post, but please. Make a will. And add in a clause about your literary rights while you’re doing it.)

Love Your Work
Listen. Co-writing is a big deal. You’re creating something with another person. Both of you are expending tremendous emotional and creative labor for this thing, so please make sure you actually want to be doing it! We LOVE River Hill, the fictional town we created. It’s the perfect combination of all of the shared interests that made us friends in the first place, so we’re excited to keep writing there!


If you’re thinking of co-writing, hopefully these tips have made you a little more ready to take the plunge! It’s been an amazing experience for us, and we’re so excited to keep going. If you’d like to see the fruit of our labor, check out THE VINTNER’S VIXEN! Available at all major retailers on March 14th.


About The Vintner's Vixen:


Welcome to River Hill, where the only thing more intoxicating than the wine is the man who makes it.

With movie roles for "curvy best friend" drying up fast, actress Angelica Travis is happy to be leaving Hollywood behind for a project she's truly passionate about: renovating an historic bed and breakfast in peaceful wine country. She's got plans and power tools ready, but an inconvenient attraction to her obnoxious new neighbor is NOT on the agenda.

Winemaker Noah Bradstone wants nothing more than to cultivate his grapes and win awards for his wine. But when construction on the B&B next door threatens his vines, Noah goes on a rampage—and comes up hard against the sexiest starlet he's ever seen. Exactly the sort of woman he's vowed never to get involved with again.

Angelica and Noah might be able to resolve their differences over a glass of some very fine wine, but when her opportunity at breakout stardom comes calling, all bets are off.

Preorder for $2.99:


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