Theresa Ragan on Collaborating with D. D. Scott

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.

Available on:

Amazon

B&N Nook

Kobo

Smashwords

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



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Comments

  1. Julie Day says:

    I haven’t used Google docs yet, nor have I been in a partnership but sounds like it could be interesting.

  2. Sibel Hodge says:

    Super congrats on the collaboration! DD is very organized so I’m not surprised she was one step ahead. I’m handing over my Wonder Woman knickers to her!

    I haven’t collaborated with another author, but never say never! I think it could be a fun challenge. I’ve heard Google Docs is a good way to do it, too :)

  3. No collaborations here either, although I’ve often wondered how it would work. Meshing different writing styles, working through divergent scheduling, dealing with different locations on the planet (*shudders)….sounds exciting! :)

  4. JamieSalisbury (@JamieRSalisbury) says:

    Although I haven’t collaborated with another author I am talking with one about a project in the not so distant future. Never say never!
    And I’ll have to check out Google docs too. Love new things!

  5. D.D. Scott says:

    Thanks sooo very much for this superfab sweet post, Theresa!!! I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed writing with you, and our partnership continues to be loads of LOL fun!!!

    We are truly two writers who can feed off of each other in a delightful and dare I say easy way. I’ve never done a project that just simply seemed to write itself. I don’t know how to explain it otherwise. I’d write a bit of my own Billionaire Bachelor’s story, check out your new pages and boom hop right back into mine. adding and tweaking things to work with what you had and vice versa.

    I remember our emails along the lines of “hey, what city are our characters in” and “how big is your snow storm in your part?” LOL!

    Our muses are dancin’ together for sure!!!

    Cheers, my friend, and thanks again for this wonderful adventure!!! :-)

    • Definitely FUN, D.D. And I forgot to mention the part when I got to the end of the book…the epilogue…I said, “Okay, D.D., I’m stuck. We need your wacky nana to come back about now.” I was gone for the day and by the time I returned home, D.D. had finished it up, wacky grandma and all!

      Cheers to you, D.D. Thanks for the laughs and the experience!

  6. Ruth Harris says:

    Theresa, what a neat post! Thanks. I regularly collaborate with my DH on our thrillers & even wrote a post about it here @WG2E. It’s called Scene Rescue: When Collaborators Disagree (And Live To Tell The Tale)

    For an inside view of how collaborators get through the tough times, here’s the link:

    http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com/scene-rescue-with-ruth-and-michael-harris-when-collaborators-disagree

  7. Lois Lavrisa says:

    Theresa- the closet I have been to collaboration are four anthologies this year. It was super easy- we just had a theme- one was the young adult genre with spring and a love theme, another Halloween, another Summer love, and the last was a Christmas romantic suspense. Those were the only “guidelines” and they worked very well.We all just took off wrote our own stories (with a word count limit in some cases, and of course a deadline) As far as writing “half” of a book, while another writer does the other-no, can’t say I’ve done that yet. Come to think about it- I am like you in a lot of ways- truly independent, it would take a little convincing and a lot of thought for me to do it. But like you-I never say never. Great post- thanks for sharing your story. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all:)

  8. Happy Thanksgiving, Lois! I agree, writing the bulk of the story “together” and weaving voices together would be much more difficult!

  9. SK Holmesley says:

    Wow, Theresa. Your post was as gripping as any action adventure. I was reading through thinking, will she make all her deadlines in time. Will the “villainess” DD Scott let her slack off or drive her relentlessly onwards to successful completion of their project. Great post and fun to read. Thanks!

  10. SK Holmesley says:

    Oh, and congratulations to both of you on the release of your book. It’s definitely on my reading list for this holiday season.

  11. Adan Lerma says:

    this post is a story in itself, congrats to both of you ;-) should be fun reading too (for us) too ;-)

  12. Jeanne says:

    Thanks to both of these cool authors! I loved your book, and sincerely hope that you will do more writing together. It was a GREAT holiday read!

  13. Thanks so much for the great shout-out.

    I loved your writing! I’d like to apologize if the edits seemed like too much. I can’t help myself. When I see really good writing, my suggestions have a tendency to lean toward the micro. The macro in such cases tends to be pretty much taken care of … but not always.