It was August 22, 2012, when D.D. sent me an email congratulating me on having my indie author story featured on Amazon’s homepage. At the end of the email she added a P.S. and mentioned partnering on a holiday short story and combining our readership. I thought it was a great idea, but I mentioned a list of books I had to get done before Christmas 2012. I actually had (and still have) deadlines to meet after signing a couple of publishing contracts for the first time in twenty years.
Next thing you know, D.D. and I were brainstorming and by August 28th, D.D. had a google document ready to go! She had character’s names and a cover artist, too! My message back to D.D. was lined with PANIC. Suddenly I felt in way over my head. Although D.D. might not have realized it, I was just sort of talking…emailing…as if this might be an interesting idea SOMEDAY if I ever had time…LOL…What had I done? I couldn’t possibly keep up with the energizer bunny!
I had never used Google docs, but D.D. said, “No problem, my friend, it’s just like using Word!” But for the life of me I couldn’t get the ribbon/tool bar to translate to English. I was ignoring the Japanese and using the symbols instead to figure it all out. If I hit “translate” the document would disappear. I didn’t have time to question anyone…I was in panic mode. I had no idea how I was going to get a short story done in time.
After I turned in Book #3 of the Lizzy Gardner series, I spent a few days writing the first three chapters of our Billionaire book. My amazing sister/editor reads all of my stuff multiple times. She only does my books. How lucky am I? However, she was panicking, too, because I don’t write books fast, certainly not this fast, and she knew it. I told D.D. it was only going to be 50 pages at the most. “No problem,” she said in that cheerful email voice of hers. “Whatever works for you, my friend!”
How could I let D.D. down? She’s so nice and positive! I felt I had to find a way to do this.
Next problem… D.D. had written in first person. I don’t read or write first person. “No problem, my friend! I’ll change it!”
And she did.
By September 2nd, eleven days after she mentioned partnering on a book, D.D. was ready to start the hype online!! D.D. was five steps ahead of me the entire way. I can’t repeat what was going through my mind at this point. J
While all of this was going on, I made two trips to L.A. and received a FOURTEEN page developmental edit on the book I had turned in to Thomas & Mercer. By October 1, I was ready to tell D.D. I couldn’t do it…it was time to throw in the towel. But D.D. was nothing but positive, sending me encouraging emails and cheering me on. Somehow I wrote an eighty page short story and read it over at least a dozen times in two and a half weeks! I had done it! No dinners, no dusting or laundry, no talking to kids. We were both finished with our stories by October 20th and then the book was sent to the Edit Dude. His edits were much more extensive than I was expecting, but his comments made me laugh and his edits were great. I made the edits on my eighty pages and D.D. did the rest.
Samantha Starr did the cover as part of an Internship Program at Indiana University. She gets college credit for the cover! How cool is that?! Thank you, Samantha.
Now that our collaboration is done, I feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment at having finished my first short story, my first collaboration, my first billionaire book, and my first Christmas story all in one project.
Other than brainstorming the project and working on the prologue and epilogue together, we really did everything else on our own. I paid for half of the formatting, editing and cover costs, depositing the $ into D.D.’s Paypal account. I don’t think it could have possibly gone any smoother. We’re both flexible. D.D. did all of the downloading to Amazon, B&N, Kobo and Smashwords. She will decide on pricing and the royalties will be paid directly to D.D. Her DH will send me monthly statements and D.D. will deposit the $ into my Paypal account each month. I still plan to work up a contract between the two of us–something basic, stating what happens in the event something happens to either one of us. I just need time.
Now that the book has been released, would I do it again?
Although D.D. took care of everything, and I mean everything, and I try never to say never, I don’t know the answer to this. I prefer writing longer books and I’m not sure if collaborating “is my thing.” Although we worked great together and D.D. made everything super easy, I have discovered that I am a true indie author at heart. I like my independence. BUT, if you’re like me and you like to experiment, and if D.D. ever asks you to partner up on a project, my advice is to say YES! You won’t regret it.
How about you? Have you ever written a story with another author? How did it go?
The Best of Epublishing Collaboration Wishes — Theresa Ragan