So you want to collaborate on book?

Typesetter

Have you considered co-writing or jointly writing anything? It can be a great way to increase your reach by tapping the platforms and efforts of all writers involved.

Some of the biggest roadblocks to that are knowing how to split commissions and report sales, and the trust involved in such an effort. To top that off, it also creates increased tax and reporting obligations for whomever that is. There is an easy solution: a service called BundleRabbit.

First off, BundleRabbit.com is a website that grew out a different but similar sort of need: creating boxed sets/ebook packages—which is especially relevant for those who want to join big multi-author bundles to try and shoot out a huge book deal to find new readers, multiply marketing efforts, attempt bestseller runs, etc. Though that is not our purpose right now.

Some time back, I had thought of creating a book some time back that I could collaborate with some authors on. There were many great reasons in my mind to do that, including all of the above (but especially the expanded platform opportunities.) In addition to those, it would also reduce the overall workload of the writing, but perhaps the biggest reason was that the book was nonfiction and explored both matters of faith and speculative fiction elements. This is one of the primary reasons I began my writing career and so it perfectly meets my ideals as a matter of calling.

I devised a concept for the book: a collection of likeminded authors would talk about popular fiction series and interweave their themes and elements with scripture as a means to illustrate and explain those things from a Christian perspective. That would draw in readers and fans of those books/series. Further, we would also each do the same again for a second group of devotional readings based on our fiction series to lend credibility to those titles by association and also gain the opportunity to expose our works to new potential readers. Thus, the Faith in Fiction series was born.

The preceding paragraph is all, of course, conceptual. It could work across a variety of topics. Nonfiction is an obvious choice, but it would also work with anthology publishing and other collaborative collections or even co-written stories.

I had worked out what percentage I would charge for the management (I personally paid for things like cover art, etc.), editing, and each author percentage beforehand—with a total amounting to 100%. BR takes ten percent off the top for their services. Those services obliterate each of the roadblocks I had mentioned at the start of this article. They also handle the legal/contract portion by having each contributor sign up for an account and agree to the terms of the collaboration and their percentage of the profits.

The book itself is published to multiple services (so it is a “broad” release) including Amazon, Kobo, Apple, BN, and as a paperback (via KDP). Each author can also purchase author copies by contacting the service via email with a request. I did the math and they charge the actual print cost without any inflation (good on them—it appears it’s a service that really cares about authors rather than price gouging). They don’t charge a monthly fee and get paid when you do; I like that arrangement.

Once all of my contributors had agreed to the terms and registered, it took a few days for everything to go live, which is expected across the breadth of platforms. All in all it was not any more complicated than publishing a book directly through KDP (the steps looked different but were basically the same). You will want to have your files prepared, keywords picked, and formats converted to mobi, epub, and cover pdf graphic for print prior to starting the process or you may have to restart again.

Having used the service now and seen each step on the collaborative side of their services I can recommend it, and they have more services and options than I required (for instance, you can include a percentage of profits for an illustrator which is handy for children’s books and other sorts of collaborations.)

You will still need to do all of the other things you would do (marketing, newsletters, adverts, etc.) in order to make the project a success, but “many hands make light work,” as they say!

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