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Writing has turned out to be lonely profession. After a successful career of working with collaborative teams on technology projects, I have just completed the story development for my first fiction novel and it is time to start writing. I would prefer to collaborate and co-author with a like minded (and skilled) writer. I am not looking for a ghost writer. I can get this done on my own if needed. I feel that co-authoring would be great fun. Perhaps I am wrong?

How can I best explore this avenue? Should I even attempt to co-author? Are there other like minded individuals out there or am I showing my complete ignorance of the writing and publishing process? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    Welcome to Writers! Similar but not a duplicate: writers.stackexchange.com/q/12733/1993 – Monica Cellio Sep 4 '14 at 20:39
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    Note for answerers: please focus on resources/process; answers saying "I'll be your co-author" are not particularly helpful for the site. – Monica Cellio Sep 4 '14 at 20:42
  • Maybe the real question here is, not "how do I find a collaborator", but "do I need a collaborator"? – Neil Fein Sep 4 '14 at 22:24
  • When you have at least 20 rep, you can talk in our chat room. You might find some interested parties there. – Kit Z. Fox Sep 6 '14 at 12:51
  • If it is loneliness, perhaps a writing group fits the bill. Also, for what it is worth, jointly written fiction reads off to me. I can hear the two different authors and it is jarring. – DPT Sep 22 '17 at 22:05
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Where to find co-authors

Some years ago I was looking for an author (not co-author) to write a webcomic I wanted to draw. I'm in Germany, so I posted on some German forums and websites, but I also published my "ad" in the Comic Books and Graphic Novels subforum of the

I quickly deleted the ad in the Absolute Write Water Cooler again, because I had found a German author through a German forum, but in the day or two that it was online, I got a promising response by a young Canadian studying some kind of writing at some college or university (I forget the details). The samples he sent me were well-written, and his approach and mindset were professional, so I would have tried to work with him and only chose a German author because she lived close by and I preferred the idea of being able to meet in person.

This was maybe ten years ago, so I cannot vouch for the users of Absolute Write today, but from a few visits I still get the idea that it is one of the main places in the English speaking web where young, amateur, and semi-professional authors meet, so there is a rich reservoir of people who have not yet made it and wait for their opportunity.

I can only offer one link, but maybe it will help you find more if I describe what I did to find the German forums and websites where I posted my ad. What I did was very simple:

  • The first thing I did was look for forums for authors. I posted an ad in relevant subforums in all forums that had either a lot of members or focussed on my genre (fantasy and comics). That is I posted in the largest writing forums and in all comic and fantasy forums. There aren't so many of these in German, but in English you might want to be more selective.
  • I then searched for ads looking for authors. What I found where some of the forums I had already found, but also some literary magazines with ad sections and simple ad websites (like Craig's List). I then posted an ad on these sites.

I got a lot of feedback and found a very talented writer with whom I was extremely happy.


How to co-author

I would love to work with a co-author. But he would have to do the rewriting. I'm what some call a "discovery writer", and once the first draft is done I can barely bring myself to look at it again. I would be soooo happy, if someone else took my draft and turned it into a plublishable text. And I wouldn't even care how much he changed it, as long as I didn't have to deal with my word vomit again.

What this should tell you is that you need to look at how you write, and how you work in general, and what kind of person and process could complement this.

Maybe you like to dream up your story ideas alone. But maybe you like to have someone to play idea ping pong with you. Maybe you like to draft, like I do, and would love someone do the rewriting. Or maybe you love to rewrite and would love for someone to give you a draft to chew on. Maybe you like to "converse", and would love to write a novel from two viewpoints, with each writer writing one. Maybe you are a team worker and would want to send the manuscript back and forth every day so each author can continually work on everything.

Of course you will have to try what works best for you, but maybe you already have a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses, of your likes and dislikes, and can condense this into an idea of what kind of co-author you are dreaming about. You might want to put this in your ad, it will help attract the right applicants.


Should you co-author?

Why not? Great authors have written novels together. One recent team that comes to mind are John Green and David Levithan, both successful YA authors in their own right. I don't see how co-authoring could be bad for your career or brand in any way.

Also, I generally believe that you profit from living experimentally. Try different things, or doing things differently. At worst, it will be an experience to learn from. And maybe you will discover new aspects of yourself or life, that will make you more happy or successful. Try singing, try dancing, and try co-authoring.

Just, like in any marriage, take your time to find the right partner. You might need to date a few guys or girls, before you commit to one. If dating involves just talking or a one night stand (write a short story) is, of course, up to you :-)

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I don't have any experience with cowriting, so take my advice with a grain of salt. But I have two thoughts:

First: If you're relatively new to writing (it sounds like you have yet to write your first novel), then I think there's probably a period of self-discovery and learning ahead of you.

If your coauthor says "let's do X", but you don't have the experience and confidence to know if that's right, how would you handle that? It would be hard.

It feels like it would be valuable to learn all the parts yourself first.

The counter argument, of course, would be that two people could learn together. And I think that argument has merit, too.

Second: I've been in three different critique groups, and one of the things I've learned is that nearly all writers work at different speeds, accelerate in their learning at different rates, and have different goals. The result is the most critique groups either fall apart or have a regular exchange of members as some leave and new ones join.

If you find writing to be lonely, and coauthoring doesn't work out, another idea might be to start a regular critique group of writers at roughly the same stage to coach each other and give each other feedback. If your coauthor bails on you, you've got problems. If a critique group member bails, it's no big deal.

Also, some writers do "write-ins" at local coffee shops. One way that works is to plan 3 hours at the coffee shop. Start with 15 minutes of socializing, then everyone writes for 45 minutes. Then repeat each hour.

I've found local writers a few different ways:

  • taking local writing classes (moderate)
  • attending local science fiction conventions (cheap)
  • attending local writing conventions (expensive)
  • looking on meetup (free)
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Something you may want to consider is participating in different writer's forums or online groups where writers discuss story ideas and other topics. One that I tend to frequent is the Writer's Café at Kindle Boards.

If you find a group or community where you feel comfortable, you can choose to post a message soliciting feedback or interest from other writers while providing some basic information on your book idea. Be prepared to share at the very least the genre, your anticipated story length, timelines for completion, etc.

It will also be helpful if you have an idea of what you have in mind for the working relationship before you go into this. For example, will you be writing the portion of the story that details the protagonist's perspective while the other person writes from the antagonist's perspective? Are you planning to write the bulk of the book yourself and looking for someone to do the rewriting and revisions? Will you collaborate using online tools like Google Docs, or will you send a Word document back and forth, or will you each write your parts independently and then merge them later? Give it some thought and make sure you have a game plan on how you want to approach this project.

Basically, you need to break this down like you would a technology project. Identify your goals and objectives, develop a project timeline, and assign roles and responsibilities!

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Overcoming fear IS a very crucial ability in any global business. Co-Authors can be spoilers, so one should make a competent choice.

I started to look for co-authors on those works which benefit from different perspectives. Especially, when the personalities I successfully supply are starting to become predictable or one-dimensional.

I believe that it is smart to co-author / collaborate on secondary projects. So write your own main sci-fi book, just as you like it to be. But consider writing some short stories in the same world along with fellow authors to produce an anthology (short-story collection) which MAY give readers a much more atmospheric and much more versatile view of your world and protagonists.

My last goal was to find a female author of a younger generation who writes a variant to my 'Shadowrun - Family Affairs' from the perspective of the daughter whom my own protagonist had saved with his suicide-mission. So far I failed.

Among Germans it should be superfluous, as our laws supersede it anyway, the legal part must be proper, this may include payment. But as real authors separate themselves from the frauds and criminals anyway, mentioning such SHOULD not be necessary among anybody worth placing the own name besides a copyright symbol! He He the rune of our ilk! The magick-sigil of our profession? Sorry.

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I am a writer too (although not published... yet). I use a site called Wattpad (wattpad.co.uk).

It is a writing and reading community where you can communicate with other writers. I find it a very enjoyable website to be a part of. My account name on there is MISThomas.

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You can join this group https://www.facebook.com/groups/coauthorsforum/ at Facebook and send your request for a coauthor.

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